The 2019-2020 Premier League campaign got underway this past Friday in Liverpool as the Mercy-siders walloped newly promoted Norwich City at Anfield. It kickstarted a slate of opening weekend games as the PL returned with new teams, new players, new homes, and for the first time ever, VAR.
The big guns got off to a great start to the campaign with Man City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and Man United all opening up their seasons with wins. Chelsea was the lone “BIG 6” team that did not win as they fell to a 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford to the Red Devils. Meanwhile newly promoted teams did not fare so well asNorwich City, and Aston Villa all were defeated in their opening fixtures, and Sheffield United tied to the Cherries of Bournemouth 1-1. However it was VAR that stole the headlines of the weekend.
Making its debut in the Premier League this year, it was used a whopping 42 times, overturning five decisions. The language for the VAR in the Premier League is stated as such to only be used for goalscoring moments, and to correct “obvious” errors. In many cases it got the calls right, and also stole rhythm from the games which was already known to be the case. It was in the Man City vs West Ham game where VAR received it’s harshest criticisms, specifically on the Jesus goal where Sterling was ruled offsides, and Aguero’s penalty that was saved but brought back due to infringement.
The system still isn’t perfect, but for the most part it gets the calls correct. The scenario in the City game where Sterling was ruled offsides was a scenario that will cause problems for VAR as the margin was SO slim that many would argue even the technology couldn’t prove the call right or wrong one way or another.
This year’s Premier League campaign should be more thrilling than the last. Whilst City are still the clear favorites, it feels like more than one squad can challenge them and prevent them from winning three straight titles.
What was your thoughts on the opening weekend and VAR’s impact? Share your opinions with us in the comment section below. orts