How Real Madrid and Barcelona battle would look without VAR
Much has been made about the decisions of the Video Assistant Referee in LaLiga, with some suggesting Los Blancos often get the nod, so we look at the numbers.
Interventions by the Video Assistant Referee have been decisive in six games this season for Real Madrid and Barcelona, but those points would not have made a difference to the points separating the two sides at the top of the LaLiga table. That is to say, on a fairly simplistic level anyway, that with or without VAR Real Madrid would sit on 77 points and Barcelona on 73, a four point lead.
VAR makes no difference to Real Madrid lead
For Los Blancos, of the 5 interventions that have gone in their favour this season, two of them turned a draw into a victory, while in another two a drawing position turned into defeat. For Barcelona, three positive interventions only one turned one point into three, and of the seven that went in their opposition’s favour, only one was decisive for the loss of two points. A neat balance all round.
VAR influence in last two seasons
...but Barcelona get better of VAR
And the equilibrium of VAR giving and taking away points has not only been for this campaign. In the previous season the reviewed decisions cost Madrid four points but also handed them the same amount. In contrast, Barcelona’s points tally was not impacted by the process. The Catalans did, though, were one of the teams with the least VAR decisions against them: only two. That compares to six in their favour. The capital club saw the second most decisions against them (10). Only Rayo, with 12, had more. Meanwhile, Los Blancos had four decisions go in their favour during the 2018-19 seasons, with only Leganés (2) and Valladolid (3) having fewer.
Compiling all the key VAR decisions that, ceteris paribus, appeared to change the points claimed from a game, neither of the big two would have seen a difference.
Real Madrid and Barcelona VAR interventions 2019-20 (points impact)
Villarreal 2-2 Real Madrid (1-2 without VAR)
Gerard Moreno's goal was ruled out for offside but VAR they said it was legal.
Real Madrid 0-0 Betis (1-0)
Madrid saw VAR rule out goal for Hazard for being in an illegal position.
Real Madrid 2-1 Sevilla (2-2)
Luuk de Jong scored but is was ruled out due to a reviewed foul on Militao.
Barcelona 2-1 Getafe (2-2)
Nyom's goal annulled by a previous foul on Umtiti.
Barcelona 2-2 Atlético (2-1)
Ter Stegen saved a penalty by Diego Costa, but Mateu Lahoz, VAR referee, warned Hernández Hernández that the goalkeeper had fractionally moved off his line. Saúl slotted home the retake.
Athletic 0-1 Real Madrid (0-0)
Gil Manzano. VAR referee, highlighted a foul by Dani García on Marcelo inside the area. González González, after consulting the monitor, awarded a penalty and Sergio Ramos scored.
VAR interventions that conditioned the sign of the Madrid and Barcelona match in 2018-19
Real Madrid 1-0 Espanyol (0-0 without VAR)
Mateu Lahoz pointed out that Asensio was in an offside position when he scored in the first half against Espanyol. VAR corrected the decision.
Real Madrid 1-2 Levante (2-1)
VAR got involved twice in a match that without it would have ended 2-1 and not 1-2. First, it advised Cuadra Fernández that Varane's handball had not occurred outside the area, but inside and a penalty was given and scored. Asensio scored a goal which was then ruled out for offside by VAR.
Levante 1-2 Real Madrid (1-1)
The VAR stepped in to recommend checking a Bardhi hand within the area. Iglesias Villanueva went to the monitor and after seeing the play he indicated the maximum penalty that Benzema would transform.
Ray 1-0 Real Madrid (0-0)
Referee González Fuertes was warned of a possible penalty by Vallejo on Javi Guerra. He awarded it out and Embarba scored the only goal of the game.
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