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Opinion

VAR impact on FPL may not be straight-forward

The introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to the Premier League in 2019/20 may not necessarily lead to more penalties.

Some Fantasy managers are already talking about assembling a penalty-taker XI as their squads for next season.

However, we have examined the data from other leagues that have adopted the system in recent years and discovered that the difference between having and not having it is not black and white.

In fact, the impact of VAR is likely to be a much more nuanced one with several different aspects of it affecting different types of Fantasy assets.

What impact did VAR have on other competitions?


Season before VAR Season after VAR
Bundesliga 98 93
La Liga 113 128
Serie A 137 126
World Cup 13 (2014) 29 (2018)

As you can see from the table above, in each of the selected competitions, there was no stand-out trend set by the introduction of VAR.

La Liga was the only one of the domestic leagues to see an increase in penalties awarded after the introduction of VAR.

In the campaign before it, they saw 113 spot-kicks given, followed by a 13.3% rise the year after.

However, both the Bundesliga and Serie A actually saw drops in the number of penalties given by referees after VAR was introduced.

In Germany’s top flight, they saw a decrease from 98 spot-kicks awarded before VAR was used, and just 93 afterwards.

There was an even bigger downturn in Italy, as 137 penalties given the year before VAR dropped to just 126 the year after its arrival.

It must be remembered that VAR will not only ensure missed fouls in the box are punished with penalties, it should also reduce the number of spot-kicks that were given erroneously.

The impact it had on the World Cup is probably why so many assume VAR will drastically affect the Premier League.

Out of the four competitions we looked at, it was the one that saw the biggest change in penalties awarded.

At the 2014 World Cup, just 13 were given, while a huge 29, more than has ever been awarded in the competition’s history, were given in Russia in 2018.

It must be said that in one sense, comparing two tournaments that were set four years apart is not necessarily a sensible comparison.

Refereeing tends to evolve from year to year, in terms of how the game is officiated and more will have changed between 2014 and 2018 than in just the short space of time between the league campaigns we have already referenced.

That is why their data holds more weight in assessing the impact of VAR, and it does appear, at this stage, hard to quantify considering the disparity between its effects on different leagues.

Would more penalties mean more goals?

Paul Pogba’s record from the spot this season did not inspire confidence in his owners

If we do end up with an increase in the number of penalties in the Premier League there is certainly a good chance that Fantasy assets responsible for the spot-kicks would benefit.

Options such as Luka Milivojevic, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Joshua King could, therefore, be more appealing as a result.

However, not every penalty taker necessarily has a good record from the spot.

Paul Pogba and Gylfi Sigurdsson both missed three each in the 2018/19 season, the latter also showing a less than impressive record in such situations for his country.

He was one of the seven players who missed penalties at the 2018 World Cup.

Even Jamie Vardy missed a penalty this season, showing that even the most ruthless strikers are capable of failing to convert them.

As these misses carry points deductions for Fantasy managers, an increase in penalties would theoretically increase the chances of takers losing points as well as gaining them.

This should certainly be considered before simply filling a Fantasy squad full of players who take penalties.

What effect would VAR have on defensive assets?

Given his record of saving penalties, an option such as Jordan Pickford could excel with the introduction of VAR

There has been some concern that more penalties in the Premier League could be harmful to defensive assets.

To a certain extent, this could prove true, perhaps especially for Brighton.

They conceded more penalties than any other side in the division in 2018/19, the 10 they gave away two more than the totals posted by Cardiff and Huddersfield who were both relegated.

Liverpool can be less worried given that they conceded just one penalty in 2018/19, a trend that would need to continue to ensure strong value for the dearly-priced Andrew Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk.

However, revisiting the point made in the previous section, more penalties would not necessarily translate to more goals, if the takers fail to capitalise.

Crucially, an increase in penalties could actually prove a boon for goalkeeper assets.

If they are facing more spot-kicks each season, it could be argued that they will be getting more practise at saving them.

Therefore, one of the possible impacts of more penalties in FPL next season could be more penalty saves too.

That could be especially good news for Jordan Pickford, who was joint-top for penalty saves this season (three).

If Neil Etheridge were to earn an immediate return to the top-flight by leaving Cardiff City, he might also welcome the introduction of VAR as he also saved three penalties in 2018/19. Hugo Lloris also stopped two.

Meanwhile, there are a number of goalkeepers currently in the Premier League who have a decent history in the competition.

For example, Ben Foster is joint-fourth for all-time penalty saves in the Premier League with his seven, level with Burnley’s Joe Hart.

Also, from seven Premier League campaigns, Bournemouth’s Artur Boruc has five penalty saves.

175 Comments Post a Comment
  1. FPL Virgin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 22 days ago

    Is David now an editor or wot? He's barely mentioned it.

    1. TorresMagic™
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 22 days ago

      Got another community article?

      1. FPL Virgin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 22 days ago

        Yep. It's the sequel to The Big Stat Awards article from last year.

        I'm thinking about applying for the job on here. Given time, I could well be your boss? 😉 😉

        1. TorresMagic™
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • Has Moderation Rights
          • 10 Years
          4 months, 22 days ago

          Need to finish a season ahead of me to have a chance.

          1. FPL Virgin
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            • 3 Years
            4 months, 22 days ago

            Next season I will taste the sweet euphoria of redemption.

            All the best FPL managers struggled this season. The General. Jake from the art of the dive. Tom from WGTA. Jay Eggers. If you didn't struggle this season, then you are not an FPL great.

            1. TorresMagic™
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              • Has Moderation Rights
              • 10 Years
              4 months, 22 days ago

              Plenty didn't.

    2. Deulofail
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 21 days ago

      *practice* required

  2. FPL Virgin
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 22 days ago

    The guy from planet FPL is convinced Robertson will be £8m next season.

    Is he just being a muppet or do we actually think this will happen?

    1. TorresMagic™
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 22 days ago

      People are allowed opinions.

    2. Gravless are for Kinnear
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 22 days ago

      I would price TAA at 8.5m

      1. FPL Virgin
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 3 Years
        4 months, 22 days ago

        He is the better full back. If he had played as many games as Robertson, he would have comfortably outscored him.

        Mark got so much stick for TAA 2 seasons ago. He was ridiculed for having a magic bean in his wildcard. Looks like Mark was right all along.

        1. Gravless are for Kinnear
          • 6 Years
          4 months, 22 days ago

          Who’s Mark?

    3. TorresMagic™
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • Has Moderation Rights
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 22 days ago

      Depends how hard FPL want to make the game.
      A Pool defender will be in most teams on here otherwise.

    4. Brosstan
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 22 days ago

      They should both be 8.0, TAA and Robbo. As the game progresses, it will become gradually more obvious that they cant price defenders cheaper than mids and forwards.

      Its a remnant of the past that defenderd are priced way cheaper than other positions

    5. hellowen188
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 6 Years
      4 months, 21 days ago

      The highest ever defender which i saw was Bains 7.5 M couple of years ago...

        1. The One True Marvin
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 2 Years
          4 months, 21 days ago

          I literally shuddered at the sight of some of those Liverpool players. And to think Damien Comolli still works in football. The mind boggles.

  3. Gravless are for Kinnear
    • 6 Years
    4 months, 22 days ago

    Who’s getting trigger happy up voting?

    1. FPL Virgin
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 3 Years
      4 months, 22 days ago

      Me. Always me.

    1. Brosstan
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 22 days ago

      Sickens me that the turd Jesse Lingard is in the United promotion picture. The shirts look good but why the fck is that pos in the pictures?

      1. PlumaPiedra
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 2 Years
        4 months, 22 days ago

        Because he plays for United would be my guess.

        1. Brosstan
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 5 Years
          4 months, 21 days ago

          He shouldnt be part of the future of the club. Horrible player with a bad attitude

  4. Chucky
    • 5 Years
    4 months, 22 days ago

    Official Fantasy game of ICC Cricket World Cup 19 is out now. Definitely recommended for those who played T20 and champions trophy fantasy games too... https://icc.dream11.com/classic/

    1. Chucky
      • 5 Years
      4 months, 22 days ago

      I have created a league for FFS players. Code to join FFS league is SL4DYNFE2SXCLM 😀

      1. Debauchy
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        • 6 Years
        4 months, 22 days ago

        Cheers Chucky , later

        1. 32chickens
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          • 9 Years
          4 months, 22 days ago

          This

    2. diesel001
      • 2 Years
      4 months, 22 days ago

      Who are the really cheap players who will play?

      1. Amey
        • 1 Year
        4 months, 22 days ago

        Steve smith & David warner

        1. Amey
          • 1 Year
          4 months, 22 days ago

          Mo. Amir too

  5. Deulofail
    • 3 Years
    4 months, 21 days ago

    Cheers David. I look forward to the full article

    1. Gnu Scott talent
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      • 10 Years
      4 months, 21 days ago

      😆