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How many points have Real Madrid and Barcelona ‘won’ or ‘lost’ due to VAR?

The LaLiga title race between Los Blancos and Barcelona would be much tighter if it weren’t for VAR.

The LaLiga title race between Los Blancos and Barcelona would be much tighter if it weren’t for VAR.
Raúl CaroEFE

Another day, another conversation about VAR. This time due to it NOT interfering. On Sunday, Valencia thought they should’ve had a penalty against Barcelona for a foul on Fran Pérez by Franck Kessié, while Real Madrid unsuccessfully appealed for a spot-kick in an incident involving William Carvalho and Karim Benzema. With neither decision deemed to be a ‘clear and obvious’ error, VAR didn’t get involved. If we review situations in which VAR has intervened, Real Madrid are the LaLiga club that have most suffered in terms of points, losing four from 10 decisions that have gone against them. Barça, on the other hand, have only had three VAR decisions against them and have gained two points, the second most of any team in the league.

Which clubs have suffered at the hands of VAR? Which have benefitted?

Sunday’s draw between Real Betis and Real Madrid was the 19th in LaLiga game in which VAR has made a result-changing intervention. Carlo Ancelotti’s side missed out on taking home a couple of extra points after Antonio Rüdiger was adjudged to have touched Karim Benzema’s free-kick with his hand. Los Blancos were also on the receiving end in their home clash against Girona in October, in which VAR ruled that Marco Asensio had handled the ball in the box, allowing Christian Stuani to salvage a point for the Catalans. Two plus two equals four, the highest number of points ‘lost’ by any team in LaLiga as a result of the technology.

Six other clubs would also have more points were if not for VAR: Rayo Vallecano (-3), Celta Vigo (-2), Valencia (-2), Getafe (-2), Cádiz (-1) and Real Mallorca (-1). Only two teams, Atlético Madrid and Girona, would keep the same number of points, while Betis (+4), Barcelona (+2), Athletic (+2), Valladolid (+2), Elche (+2), Real Sociedad (+2), Espanyol (+ 1) and Almería (+1) have all benefitted from VAR across the course of the season so far.

How would the LaLiga table look without VAR?

If VAR were not used in LaLiga, as used to be the case of course, the nine-point gap that Barcelona currently enjoy would be just three, with Real Madrid on 57 points and the Catalans on 60, as shown in the alternative league table drawn up by our friends at Sofascore. That would have made things even more interesting heading into the final league Clásico of the season in a couple of weeks.

However, it is the non-use of VAR that has hampered Los Merengues recently, with Barça very much coming out on top following the incidents involving Kessié and Benzema at the weekend. Had those gone the other way, the title race would be significantly tighter.

2022-23 LaLiga table
Full screen
2022-23 LaLiga table
2022-23 LaLiga table without VAR
Full screen
2022-23 LaLiga table without VAR

How many VAR decisions have gone against Real Madrid, Barcelona and others?

VAR has become a regular feature in Real Madrid matches. No team has had more interventions - both for and against - in their matches (18). On 10 occasions, VAR has changed a decision that has cost Ancelotti’s men, who are followed in that particular ranking by Mallorca (seven), Almería, Betis, Celta, Elche, Rayo, Valladolid and Valencia (all six). Barcelona, Cádiz and Girona have been on the receiving end the least, with three.

If we look at those incidents in detail, Barcelona have had a Pedri goal ruled out, a penalty given against them in El Clásico for a foul by Eric García on Rodrygo and red card for Espanyol’s Leandro Cabrera overturned. On the Madrid side, they’ve had four goals disallowed for offside (two for Benzema and one each for David Alaba and Rodrygo), two for fouls in the build-up to goals (Benzema and Rüdiger), three penalties given against them and one for them which was ultimately not given.

How many VAR decisions have helped Real Madrid, Barcelona and others?

As for who has had the highest number of decisions in their favour from VAR, Girona lead the way on nine. They are followed by Elche with eight and Almería, Getafe, Real Sociedad, Sevilla and Real Madrid with seven. So, while Los Blancos have suffered at the hands of VAR the most, they are also near the top when it comes to beneficiaries. None of those seven decisions, however, have led to them taking more points.

Espanyol, Osasuna and Barcelona have had just two decisions go in their favour, while poor Villarreal are still waiting for their first.


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