The subject of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has been addressed a number of times on this blog (see here, here and here). This is my latest observation of the system which I must admit I am not a fan of.
Eight rounds into the Premier League season and the use of VAR, as expected, has been widespread. For the first 5 to 6 weeks I noticed that assistant referees were effectively becoming redundant when it came to calling offside decisions. What appeared to happen was either 1) the assistant referee would not put up the flag in cases which could be offside or 2) wait for a prolonged period before putting up the flag, having probably been alerted by VAR to do so.
The upshot of this was that in scenarios where the assistant referee would not put up the flag and play continued, resulting in a goal, VAR would then be used to determine offside. If there was no offside the goal stood. If offside was an issue the goal was chalked off. Therefore, VAR would only take away. A good example of this recently, was Serge Aurier's disallowed goal for Tottenham at Leicester.
Now consider what appears to be happening over the past week or so. The behaviour of the assistant referee has changed and they are now calling offside in the manner they have always done. I suspect this change in behaviour has been motivated by those with decision making authority..
Two recent examples of this are pictured below. The left shows Pierre Emerick Aubameyang goal against Manchester United on Monday night which was initially ruled offside. The left is Jordan Ayew's goal against West Ham last weekend. This was also initially ruled offside.
What has changed is the behaviour of assistant referees. If they had behaved as they had done earlier in the season (not flagged), Aubameyang and Ayew would both have scored and celebrated. The VAR check would have confirmed the goal. VAR could not give what was already given.
Changing behaviour of the assistant referees may be an attempt to show that VAR can actually give goals. Don't be fooled. VAR hasn't changed, the assistant referees have.