The implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Italy has been controversial, but according to a look at the statistics, it has for the most part done its job to fix clear and obvious errors.
Italian sports paper Gazzetta Dello Sport compiled all the times VAR has been used through 346 matches, 330 in Serie A and 16 in the Coppa Italia. There were 1,736 checks (916 goals, 464 penalties and 356 red cards) with 105 corrections and just 17 errors where the referee and assistant made the wrong decision. Eight of those errors did affect the result, which is an issue that will surely be addressed by the Italian officiating organization.
But overall, Gazzetta found that in the VAR era, referee errors only amounted to 0.98 percent during a match, as opposed to 6.03 percent in the past. In addition, fouls are down 8.8 percent, red cards are down 6.4 percent, and yellow cards are down 14.7 percent. On the flip side, penalty kicks are called 4.3 more percent of the time.
The Premier League voted recently not to add VAR to its league matches next season, while top leagues in Germany, Italy and in Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League continue to use it.
Newcastle vs West Ham, live: Score, updates, stream link, video highlights
Newcastle United can become the third Premier League team this season to cross the 40-point marker when it meets West Ham on Saturday at St. James’ Park (watch live, 12:30pm ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).
The Magpies have been terrific at home in all competitions, including at midweek where they finished off Southampton to claim a spot in the League Cup Final.
How to watch Newcastle vs West Ham live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 12:30pm ET, Saturday TV Channel: NBC Online:Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
The Magpies won’t have their best all-around player in influential Brazilian midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, and center forward Alexander Isak will miss out following a head injury suffered against Saints. Sean Longstaff will need to shine again after scoring twice against Saints.
As for West Ham, they have three attackers out but can look to Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen to continue upturns in form.
Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Bruno Guimaraes (suspension), Alexander Isak (concussion), Javier Manquillo (undisclosed), Matt Targett (foot), Emil Krafth (knee)
Brentford hammered sorry Southampton 3-0 in west London as the long unbeaten run continues for Thomas Frank’s side and the Bees are dreaming of Europe.
As for Nathan Jones and Saints, he has lost seven of his eight Premier League games in charge and they are rooted to the bottom of the table as the away fans turned against their manager throughout another very disappointing display.
Brentford are very good at whipping in crosses and winning balls in the air. Like Dracula, Southampton do not like crosses. This did not seem to be a good matchup for Saints before this game and it went exactly that way. Thomas Frank’s side were ruthless when their chances arrived and Southampton’s jumbled defense gave them too much time to pick out crosses and then switched off to defend the players arriving to score. These were basic errors from Southampton and it’s the reason they are bottom of the league. These crosses and the chaos they cause before, during and after the ball is coming in is also why Brentford are pushing for European qualification. Southampton’s biggest weakness (crosses) is Brentford’s big strength and this turned into a very routine win for the hosts as the pressure continues to mount on Nathan Jones with six defeats in his seven Premier League games in charge. Saints aren’t cut off at the bottom, yet, but it is getting to a very precarious situation for Jones as new players have arrived but there has been no real improvement for Saints since Ralph Hasenhuttl was fired in November.
Stars of the show
Bryan Mbuemo: Scored one, set up another and picked so many holes in Saints’ defense. We talk a lot about Toney, but what a season the Cameroon international is having.
Ben Mee: Won everything in the air, scored a beauty of a header and held things together so well. One of the best signings of the season across the entire Premier League.
Brentford head to Arsenal on Saturday, Feb. 11, while Saints have a massive home game against Wolves on the same day.
How to watch Brentford vs Southampton live, stream link and start time
GOALLL! Game. Set. Match. Mathias Jensen heads home after another wonderful cross into the box, this time from Rico Henry. Southampton all over the place. Brentford 3-0 up and Jensen’s final touch was to score as he is subbed off.
At the other end Saints twice go close as Theo Walcott is twice denied and Che Adams is clattered into by David Raya.
A quick free kick catches out Saints and Salisu clears off the line. So close to a third as Ivan Toney reacted first.
Much better from Southampton but they need a goal soon to try and launch a massive comeback.
A good start to the second half for Saints, as their two new deadline day signings are on for their debuts: Can Paul Onuachu and Kamaldeen Sulemana get them back in the game?
GOALLL! 2-0 to Brentford. Mbuemo slots home. The Bees are buzzing and catch Saints on the counter. Two goals in three minutes for the hosts. Saints look stunned.
GOALLL! Right before half time Brentford take the lead. Ben Mee bravely heads home a brilliant cross from Mbuemo. 1-0 to the Bees.
Not much going on in west London. Saints happy to sit back and Brentford struggling to create chances on the counter.
An even game so far with Saints having a few chances early on and Brentford have caused problems with crosses into the box.
Key storylines & star players
Last time out, Brentford settled for a frustrating 0-0 draw with Leeds, but before that they rattled off successive wins over West Ham, Liverpool and Bournemouth with just one goal conceded in three games. Ivan Toney is 3rd in the Premier League with 13 goals, trailing only Harry Kane (16) and Erling Haaland (an absurd 25). After initially struggling to replace the creativity of Christian Eriksen (4 assists in 11 appearances last season), Thomas Frank’s side is firing once again thanks to Mathias Jensen (4 in 20), Toney (3) and Josh Dasilva (2) picking up the slack.
After losing 3-1 to Newcastle over two legs in the League Cup semifinals, Southampton return their attention to the ongoing relegation battle. Having won just one of their last nine Premier League fixtures (1W-1D-7L), Saints made four first-team signings to strengthen the midfield and attack. They brought in some experience (30-year-old midfielder Mislav Orsic from Dinamo Zagreb and 28-year-old forward Paul Onuachu from Genk) along with some youth and potential (a pair of 20-year-olds, midfielder Carlos Alcaraz from Racing Club and winger Kamadeen Selumana from Rennes).
Brentford team news, injuries, lineup
OUT: Pontus Jansson (thigh), Frank Onyeka (hamstring), Shandon Baptiste (adductor)
The victory sends Manchester United (42 points) into 3rd place (for the time being, perhaps), now six points ahead of 5th-place Tottenham with both sides having played 21 games. The gap to 2nd-place Manchester City (20 games played) is now just three points, and to leaders Arsenal (also 20), eight. Since losing back-to-back games to start the season and Erik ten Hag’s tenure, the Red Devils have dropped points in just six of 19 games (13W-3D-3L).
Crystal Palace (24 points) remain 12th, six points above the relegation zone.
Man United took an early lead as Bruno Fernandes converted from the penalty spot after Will Hughes blocked Marcus Rashford’s cross with a hand at head height. Fernandes played chicken with Vicente Guaita, taking a slow run-up while watching the Palace goalkeeper until, finally, he leaned one way. Fernandes returned his eyes to the ball, and rolled it the other way.
Scoring chances were plentiful for the Red Devils (14 shots, with an xG total of 2.04), and eventually Marcus Rashford put one away in the 62nd minute, giving him 11 goals in 13 games (to go with four assists – all competitions) since returning from the 2022 World Cup. It appeared at that point that Palace would go quietly into the night and humbly accept defeat, until Casemiro was sent off in the 70th minute for putting both hands around Hughes’ neck.
Crystal Palace took just six minutes to take advantage of their numerical advantage, as Cheick Doucoure volleyed from the edge of the penalty area and Jeffrey Schlupp redirected the initial effort on target and past David de Gea to set up a tense final 15 minutes before nearly nine never-ending minutes of stoppage time.
Man United’s lost Christian Eriksen through April but acted quick and in impressive fashion with the loan addition of Marcel Sabitzer from Bayern Munich. Desperate for playing time and a more attacking role than what was asked of him by Bayern, the Austrian star may be just what the doctor ordered even before Eriksen went down. This is a hard-edged player with plenty of attcking firepower to boot.
Palace, of course, is still all about their creative players, as Wilfried Zaha, Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze, and Odsonne Edouard can deliver the goods with just a half-chance, but look out for Deadline Day adds Albert Sambi Lokonga, on loan from Patrick Vieira’s former team Arsenal, and Naouirou Ahamada, who they hope will add a needed ball progressor in the heart of the pitch.
Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Christian Eriksen (ankle), Donny van de Beek (knee), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE) | QUESTIONABLE: Jadon Sancho (undisclosed), Anthony Martial (undisclosed), Diogo Dalot (thigh), Luke Shaw (illness), Scott McTominay (undisclosed)
Liverpool can’t worry about its European positioning when it’s currently getting outfinished by relegation-threatened Wolves in a 3-0 affair at the Molineux on Saturday,
It’s the third meeting since early January between the sides following a 2-2 draw in the FA Cup and a 1-0 Liverpool win in the replay, and Wolves will feel they deserved the full three points in several ways.
A Joel Matip own goal after six minutes was worsened by Craig Dawson’s goal on debut for Wolves in the 12th minute, and Liverpool could not break down Julen Lopetegui’s defense despite Mohamed Salah’s best efforts.
Adama Traore tortured Liverpool’s lifeless defense to set up Ruben Neves’s 71st-minute goal, and the Molineux crowd was Ole-ing every last touch of a stoppage-time possession in utterly unpredictable fashion.
The expected goals total was kinder to Liverpool, but that and the club’s current situation count for little more than a handshake; The Reds now sit 10 points outside the top four, the 10 next to their name wild given their status under Jurgen Klopp (even considered their terrible injury list).
Wolves entered the day in the bottom three and exits it in 15th with 20 points. That’s two points clear of the bottom three but the upward trajectory is real.
Jurgen Klopp reaction: ‘I have no words for it’ (231 words later)
“Conceding early goals is not unfamiliar to us but the way we conceded them today was not acceptable. When you see the whole game, throughout the game in moments we played an outstanding game without scoring and a good away game without scoring, the third goal I don’t count because it was the first time they passed the halfway line in the second half. The other two goals, going into a game with all the things we said during the week and before the game then this is the start is horrible.
“You do yourself no favors in these moments, giving easy balls away. We were passive in the two goals, everything we wanted to do was be compact and active but we were compact and passive. I can’t explain it, I think why would you do that? But they did it anyway.
“The leadership [defensively] is missing but this is not my first explanation, I really think in the specific situation we could have and should have done better. We have to do better in these moments by not coming to this situation in the game so not chasing the game. We didn’t finish things off properly, we missed the last pass, the intensity we played at times was good but we have put ourselves in a really average position for the two goals.
“We better change it. That’s true, 100%. I have no words for it really, I’m sorry.”
How to watch Wolves vs Liverpool live, stream link and start time
Craig Dawson goal video: Debutant makes it 2-0 to Wolves with rare goal
Ruben Neves goal video: Adama Traore turns on style as Liverpool goes to sleep
Key storylines & star players
Winning games is about scoring goals and only two Wolves players have more than one. Daniel Podence has collected five, while Ruben Neves has four. Even more surprising, Wolves are still waiting on a goal from Raul Jimenez, Diego Costa, or injured Pedro Neto. Perhaps Matheus Cunha or Pablo Sarabia will chip in soon.
Liverpool has one win from its last three Premier League outings, but there’s a heaping helping of bad luck to their struggles. The Reds have 24 goals from open play and 20 allowed in that same situation. Their expected goals in those spots is 34.6 – 24. Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez have been especially unlucky despite combining for 12 goals and six assists on the season.
Wolves team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Pedro Neto (ankle), Sasa Kalajdzic (torn ACL), Boubacar Traore (undisclosed), Chiquinho (knee)