The likes of Wilfried Zaha and Raheem Sterling are notorious around the Premier League for their silky dribbling skills and attacking prowess, and it’s no surprise that both have been involved in NINE VAR reviews this season as they lead the league in the amount of VAR reviews of which they have been the subject.
Wilfried Zaha leads the league in terms of involvement in the most successful VAR reviews with 6 positive outcomes (67% of calls in his and Palace’ favour). The Crystal Palace winger has had a relatively quiet season, scoring 4 goals and providing just 3 assists but has led this Palace side to a comfortable mid table finish. Surprisingly, as URef’s data reveals, Palace as a team have had the fourth most key refereeing/ VAR calls reviewed in their favour (21) and their overall Key Decision for/against differential (+10) is the best in the league - Equal with Manchester United.
Sterling has been a key player for City once again this season, scoring 20 Premier League goals for the Citizens. He has a VAR review success rate of 55.5% and given Sterling played fewer Premier League matches (33) than Zaha (38) this season, URef’s data confirms that Sterling has the highest Key Decision Involvement Frequency (27%) of any Premier League player - A startling stat considering the Premier League averaged just 0.85 Key Decisions per Match this season.
But who are the players close behind them, and how successful are they in winning over the officials?
Jack Grealish – the most fouled Premier League player this season, has been the subject of 7 VAR reviews and has been successful in 5 of these key decisions (71% in Villa’s favour). Grealish broke the Premier League record for the most fouls won in one season, but as a central midfielder, he is more likely to be fouled in the middle third of the pitch and so the Aston Villa ace is less likely to be involved in penalty/goal reviews.
Callum Wilson is another unsurprising name near the top of the list, boasting 8 involvements in Key Decisions. Wilson managed 8 goals and 3 assists in his 35 Premier League appearances this season but it wasn’t enough to keep his Bournemouth side in the top flight. Interestingly, URef’s Team Fortune stat reveals that Bournemouth had the second most Key Decisions go against them of all Premier League sides - A rough -7 key decision differential. For Callum Wilson related incidents, he had 4 decisions go in his (and Bournemouth’s) favour and 4 against the Cherries.
While these attacking players are not-surprisingly active among VAR reviews, there are always two sides to every story (and tackle!). The defensive pairing of John Egan and Ben Mee too have been involved in 6 VAR reviews each and have success rates of 75% and 17% respectively. Both players have shown their defensive tenacity this season, well appreciated by their clubs as Burnley and Sheffield - both in the top 5 for Clean Sheets this season.
But the greatest surprise this season has been Brighton & Hove Albion defender Lewis Dunk. Dunk has been involved in 6 VAR reviews and has been successful in all 6. He has provided Brighton with defensive stability throughout the season, playing 35 of 37 games this season, and has been integral in their fight for Premier League survival which they clinched with a 0-0 draw against Newcastle, with Dunk playing a full 90 minutes.
URef can exclusively reveal the top 10 Premier League players when it comes to involvement in Key Decisions including Penalties, Red Cards, severe Yellow Card offences, Second Yellow Cards and contentious non-decisions for these incidents. Enjoy: