Mikel Arteta has not accepted the VAR blunder that cost Arsenal two points against Brentford was simply "human error", even if he appreciated a "really genuine, sincere and open" apology.

Arsenal drew 1-1 with Brentford at Emirates Stadium on Saturday after Ivan Toney's equalising goal was allowed to stand.

The goal was teed up by Christian Norgaard, who had been offside in the build-up.

Lee Mason, the VAR official working on that game, had checked for a separate offence but did not spot the offside in what the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body responsible for referees in English football, described as a "significant" error.

Mason has not been allocated a fixture for the coming weekend as a result.

Although Arteta said it was important not to "crucify" the official, he suggested Mason had not merely made an error and instead did not know how to do his job.

Having described the "huge anger and disappointment" Arsenal felt upon reviewing the footage, Arteta added: "That was not a human error. That was a big, big, big [case of] not understanding your job.

"That's not acceptable, I'm sorry. That cost Arsenal two points, and that's not going to be restored, so we're going to have to find those two points somewhere else in the league."

Arsenal face Premier League title rivals Manchester City on Wednesday, but the pre-match news conference was dominated by discussion of the Toney goal.

Again suggesting Mason had not simply made a mistake, Arteta said: "That was something else. I wasn't having it; the club wasn't having it."

Still, Arteta welcomed the dialogue Arsenal had received around the incident, even if he was not "satisfied".

"I will be only satisfied if they give me the two points back, which is not going to be the case," he said.

"I appreciate and think they were really genuine, sincere and open apologies and explanations, which is really good, but it doesn't change the fact we have two less points than we should have in the table."

Indeed, City can now overtake Arsenal in the table with victory at Emirates Stadium, so Arteta knows how important it is to leave a frustrating episode behind them.

"That's it. We have to move on. It's certainly made our players, our staff and our fans even stronger and with more desire," he said. "We are ready."

Arteta added: "We cannot do anything about it. Don't use it as an excuse. Try to move on and face it."

The Premier League has not appointed VAR official Lee Mason for a game this weekend after he made a "significant error" in Arsenal's draw with Brentford.

Leaders Arsenal were held to a 1-1 draw in a London derby on Saturday, but Ivan Toney's equaliser should not have been allowed to stand.

Toney headed in from close range after Christian Norgaard nudged the ball across the face of goal, but the latter had been offside in the build-up.

The goal went to a VAR check for a separate incident instead, with Mason – in charge of the technology for the game – not spotting Norgaard strayed just offside.

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the body responsible for referees in English football, subsequently acknowledged Arsenal and Brighton and Hove Albion were both victims of "significant" errors on Saturday.

Mason was not named on the Premier League's list of match officials for the weekend.

The incident that impacted Brighton on the same day involved a would-be winning goal against Crystal Palace being disallowed incorrectly by VAR John Brooks.

Brooks was removed as the VAR for Monday's Merseyside derby and Wednesday's game between Arsenal and Manchester City, though he will be back as the fourth official for the Gunners' trip to Aston Villa on Saturday.

 

Real Madrid are eager to bolster their forward options, with a quality striker wanted to deputise for Karim Benzema.

Benzema, who is now 35-years-old, has battled injuries this season and played in 12 of their 20 LaLiga games.

Los Blancos have been regularly linked with Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, while there have been reports of a big-money bid for Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani in recent days.

Instead of signing another French forward though, there is a report that Madrid are eyeing up a Brazilian.


TOP STORY – ANCELOTTI WANTS FIRMINO

Real Madrid want to sign Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino on a free transfer at the end of this season, claims Gazzetta dello Sport.

Liverpool are bullish on re-signing Firmino but no extension has yet been agreed, with his contract due to expire in June.

According to the report, Atletico Madrid and Inter are also interested in the 31-year-old, who has been battling a calf injury in recent months.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona president Joan Laporta is determined to sign Julian Alvarez from Manchester City, reports Fichajes. The report claims "Laporta will do everything in his power" to land the Argentinean World Cup winner.

- Manchester City are monitoring Southampton full-back Tino Livramento, claims the Evening Standard. The English 20-year-old is viewed as a long-term successor to Joao Cancelo, who is currently on loan at Bayern Munich.

- Tuttomercatoweb reports that Bayer Leverkusen will compete with Juventus to sign Alex Grimaldo from Benfica. The Bianconeri want the left-back as a replacement for the departing Alex Sandro.

- Chelsea have joined the contenders to sign Brentford goalkeeper David Raya, writes Football.London. Raya's contract expires in 2024, with interest also from Tottenham and Manchester United too.

- West Ham United are circling for Brazil international striker Pedro, who plays for Flamengo, according to Fichajes.

- Former Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch is being considered for the vacant Southampton job following Nathan Jones' dismissal, claims The Athletic. Football Insider reports Southampton and Leeds both want Marcelo Gallardo, while the Mail adds that Saints are also interested in Torino boss Ivan Juric.

Arsenal and Brighton and Hove Albion were victims of "significant" human errors during Saturday's Premier League action, according to the body responsible for match officials in English football.

Ivan Toney equalised against the Gunners at Emirates Stadium to ultimately secure Brentford a 1-1 draw, but the goal should not have stood due to Christian Norgaard – who nudged the ball across goal for the assist – having previously been in an offside position.

VAR Lee Mason failed to spot it despite the goal going to a review to check if Ethan Pinnock had been offside.

Also on Saturday, Brighton were denied a winning goal when Pervis Estupinan had his strike ruled out for offside – the VAR seemingly deemed the wrong Crystal Palace defender to be the deepest player.

The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) admitted there were mistakes.

A statement read: "PGMOL can confirm its chief refereeing officer Howard Webb has contacted both Arsenal and Brighton and Hove Albion to acknowledge and explain the significant errors in the VAR process in their respective Premier League fixtures on Saturday.

"Both incidents, which were due to human error and related to the analysis of offside situations, are being thoroughly reviewed by PGMOL."

PGMOL did not comment on the controversy that occurred at London Stadium, however, where Chelsea were denied a late penalty when West Ham's Tomas Soucek handled the ball in the box.

Chelsea boss Graham Potter sarcastically praised Soucek for a "good save" after the game.

Brentford have condemned racist abuse aimed at striker Ivan Toney following their 1-1 draw at Arsenal on Saturday.

Toney scored the equaliser that sealed a point for Brentford against the Premier League leaders, though replays appeared to show that the goal should have been ruled out for Christian Norgaard straying offside in the build-up.

In a statement released by Brentford on Sunday, the club claimed that Toney was subjected to racist abuse on Instagram, and pleaded with all football fans to "celebrate diversity".

"Immediately after Brentford’s game against Arsenal, Ivan Toney received a barrage of abusive, racist direct messages via his Instagram account," the statement read.

"We are disgusted and saddened that Ivan has had to deal with this yet again.

"We will not tolerate it and we will do everything we can to pursue the individuals involved. 

"Ivan was subject to similar abuse in October last year, and the perpetrator is now facing the consequences in court. 

"How many times does this need to happen?

"We call on football fans everywhere to relish the competition and rivalry that exists between us, but to respect and embrace our differences and celebrate the diversity that exists throughout the Premier League.

"There is no room for racism."

This weekend's Premier League games saw a return of the taking of the knee prior to kick-off as part of the No Room for Racism campaign.

Last year, Toney said that members of his family had been racially abused in the stands at Goodison Park, during a 3-2 win for Brentford over Everton.

Arsenal dropped points in the title race on a busy Saturday in the Premier League, denied by an Ivan Toney equaliser as Brentford drew 1-1 at Emirates Stadium.

Mikel Arteta's had a better day of it than north London rivals Tottenham, though, as Spurs were thrashed 4-1 at Leicester City, despite taking an early lead.

Elsewhere, Chelsea were denied a win at West Ham after Emerson Palmieri equalised Joao Felix's first goal of his loan spell from Atletico Madrid.

Southampton's woes continued as they were beaten 2-1 at home against Wolves, despite taking the lead and having a man advantage for over an hour after Mario Lemina was sent off for the visitors.

Newcastle United's run of draws continued as they were held 1-1 at Bournemouth, while Crystal Palace and Brighton and Hove Albion also could not be separated, and Fulham beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 at Craven Cottage.

Here, Stats Perform looks at Saturday's biggest games, with the guidance of Opta data.

West Ham 1-1 Chelsea: Blues struggle to handle Hammers

Graham Potter's Chelsea were left frustrated after a late claim for handball was denied at London Stadium, and this draw was the first in nine Premier League encounters between West Ham and Chelsea since a 0-0 in September 2018.

The Blues have drawn three consecutive Premier League matches for the first time since February 2012, and remarkably, there were no shots on target in the second half from either side, being just the second Premier League match where that has occurred this season after Southampton v Nottingham Forest in January.

Emerson became the first former Chelsea player to score his first Premier League goal for a club against the Blues since Frank Lampard for Manchester City in September 2014.

On his return from suspension, Joao Felix became the 12th different player to score for Chelsea in the Premier League this season, with no side having had more in 2022-23 (excluding own goals), which perhaps is not a surprise when you consider the number of players they now have.

Arsenal 1-1 Brentford: Toney time dents Gunners' title push

It seemed like business as usual when Leandro Trossard gave the hosts the lead, but this ended up being the first time Arsenal had failed to win a Premier League home game in which they scored first since January 2022. They had won 10 in a row at Emirates Stadium when opening the scoring before this game.

Brentford showed great resilience and have now scored 15 goals from set-pieces in the Premier League this season, with no side netting more (including penalties).

That could also be something for Arsenal to work on, as each of the last three Premier League goals the league leaders have conceded have come from headers, despite not conceding any beforehand this season.

Only Harry Kane (nine) has found the net away from home more often in the Premier League this season than Brentford striker Toney (seven), whose equaliser broke Gunners hearts.

Leicester City 4-1 Tottenham: Lloris-less Spurs hammered by Foxes

A high-scoring game was hardly a shock at King Power Stadium. There have been 128 goals scored in 34 Premier League matches between Leicester and Tottenham, with the average of 3.8 per game the highest such ratio among fixtures to be played more than 20 times in the competition.

Spurs, who were without injured goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, have lost two of their last three away games in the Premier League (W1), conceding four goals in each defeat, having only lost two of their previous 14 such games beforehand (W7 D5). The other recent heavy loss was 4-2 at Manchester City.

Despite having a disappointing campaign so far, Leicester here became the first team in Premier League history to score three first-half goals in back-to-back matches when conceding first in each game, having also done so at Aston Villa last time out.

Leicester's James Maddison, who was linked with a move to Antonio Conte's Spurs this week, scored and had an assist. Maddison has been directly involved in 11 goals in his last 10 Premier League starts (seven goals, four assists), scoring in each of his last three league appearances against Spurs.

Southampton 1-2 Wolves: Jones under pressure as Saints lose to 10 men

Head coach Nathan Jones is not the first Jones to struggle at Southampton. Saints have lost five consecutive Premier League home games for the first time since April-August 1998, when they were under the leadership of Dave Jones.

Wolves fought from a goal and a man down to win against their favourite Premier League opposition, having won each of their last five meetings, the first time they have ever been victorious in five consecutive games against a specific opponent in the competition.

It is clear where a big problem lies for Saints, having only kept one clean sheet in their last 28 Premier League matches (1-0 v Bournemouth in October).

Jan Bednarek found his own net, again, and has now scored four own goals as a Southampton player in the Premier League; the joint-most of any player for the club in the competition, along with Jos Hooiveld.

Mikel Arteta revealed Arsenal had lodged a complaint over an Ivan Toney equaliser they felt should have been ruled out in a 1-1 Premier League draw with Brentford on Saturday.

Arsenal missed a chance to go eight points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table as they were held by the in-form Bees in a London derby at Emirates Stadium.

January signing Leandro Trossard came off the bench to opening the scoring with his first goal for the club in the second half, but Toney denied the leaders with a header after 74 minutes.

There was a long VAR check before Toney's goal was finally allowed to stand, with Ethan Pinnock appearing to be standing in offside position as a free-kick was delivered.

Striker Toney nodded in from close range after the Gunners failed to deal with the set-piece, but Arsenal manager Arteta does not believe the Bees striker's 15th goal of the season should have been given.

The Spaniard said: "I've just looked at it back and it is offside. We will probably get an explanation later on in the week, but today we haven't got that. It’s too late – it's fine, it's a goal. It's irrelevant."

Asked if they had made their feelings clear to the Premier League, he replied: "Yes, we did at the end of the game with them, and we said our views."

Toney hit the crossbar in the first half and Brentford were good value fo a point that extended their winning run to 10 top-flight games.

Arsenal are six points clear of City, who face Aston Villa on Sunday before a mouthwatering battle between the top two next Wednesday, and Arteta praised his players despite not being at their best again following a defeat at Everton last weekend.

He added: "I think it as a really strong performance. I think it's a really tricky team to play against. It is frustrating, but this is the Premier League.

"I'm delighted with how the boys tried, how much they want it. The reaction when they drop two points, they're in a great place."

Ivan Toney's 15th goal of the season salvaged a 1-1 draw for Brentford to prevent Arsenal from going eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Leandro Trossard's first goal for the Gunners put them in front in the second half at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, but the prolific Toney levelled with a header after 74 minutes of the London derby.

Toney also struck the crossbar in the first half before he was an awarded the equaliser following a VAR check as the impressive Bees deservedly extended their unbeaten run to 10 top-flight games.

Arsenal are now six points clear of second-placed Manchester City, who they play on Wednesday, but that is three games without a win for the leaders in all competitions.

Rico Henry wasted a glorious early chance to put Brentford in front when he failed to hit the target from close range after Toney picked him out.

The dangerous Toney was proving to be a real handful and the striker rattled the crossbar with a right-footed strike after combining superbly with Bryan Mbeumo.

Arsenal were struggling to break a well organised Brentford side down and Gabriel Martinelli fired a volley over the crossbar from inside the box when an opportunity came the Brazil winger's way late in the first half.

David Raya denied Buyako Saka at his near post and Martin Odegaard shot straight at the Bees goalkeeper in a bright start to the second half.

Brentford continued to pose a threat and Toney side-footed just wide when he was presented with another good opportunity to open the scoring.

It was Trossard who got the breakthrough four minutes after replacing Martinelli, stealing in to turn in Saka's fizzed cross from inside the six-yard box to raise the roof.

Arsenal's joy was short-lived, though, as Toney nodded into an empty net after Christian Norgaard set him up, the Gunners paying the price for being unable to deal with a set-piece as the goal was allowed to stand following a check for offside.

 

Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Jesus are back in light training ahead of Arsenal's Premier League clash with Brentford.

Smith Rowe has missed most of the 2022-23 season with groin and thigh injuries, making just six appearances for the Gunners, all from the bench.

Speaking to the media before Saturday's game at Emirates Stadium, manager Mikel Arteta confirmed Smith Rowe is among a trio of injured players back in training, but he did say the midfielder will still not be available for the weekend.

"The ones that were [out for a] long time, like Emile, Reiss [Nelson] and Gabi [Jesus], they are closer," he said. "They started to do some work outside, but they are not ready to contribute yet."

The eventual return of Jesus will also be a boost for the league leaders, with the Brazilian having played a key role in firing Arsenal up the table earlier in the campaign, but Arteta does not want to rush him back.

"We need to respect some timelines and some processes, but he is doing really well," the manager said. "You have to see now when you put some load on that knee and put some movement and how he reacts."

Arteta also insisted his team's "only focus is on Brentford tomorrow" and refused to be drawn on the Premier League's decision to refer title rivals Manchester City to an independent commission for alleged breaches of financial regulations.

The Spaniard previously worked at City under Pep Guardiola and said he did not see anything untoward while at the club.

Meanwhile, Arteta spoke effusively about how much he values people who bring energy, referring to himself as an "energy giver".

"As a young manager, I love energy," he said. "I am an energy giver, I don't like energy suckers.

"I like people who give energy in many different ways. Sometimes it's with body language, with tone of voice, hugging people, looking for solutions and not excuses. I love energy."

Arteta also spoke of his admiration for Folarin Balogun, who is enjoying a productive loan spell in Ligue 1 this season.

The 21-year-old striker has scored 15 goals in 23 games for Reims, and the boss of his parent club explained the decision to send him to France.

"[I am] so happy for him," he said. "He's a boy with a really clear idea of what he wants to do in his career. And he's really brave. We discussed before whether it was the right place to go, and I'm really pleased for him.

"Obviously when you look at the numbers and what he's doing, it's incredible, but he's got something special, that's why we gave him a long-term contract."

Arsenal's assault on the Premier League title suffered a hit at Goodison Park as Sean Dyche provided the new manager bounce for Everton.

The Toffees secured a first league win since October to condemn the Gunners to defeat, opening the door for Manchester City to cut the gap to the leaders to just two points if they beat Tottenham on Sunday.

Sean Dyche's side were not the only relegation-threatened team to pick up a major scalp, as Wolves stunned Liverpool at Molineux to extend a miserable run of form for Jurgen Klopp's Reds.

There was no similar result for Southampton, who were picked apart by in-form Brentford, while Manchester United maintained their fine home run with a hard-fought win against Crystal Palace.

Here, Stats Perform looks at the most interesting facts to emerge from Saturday's Premier League action.

Everton 1-0 Arsenal: Goodison gloom for Gunners

Goodison Park is a ground that used to hold many happy memories for Mikel Arteta, who started his Premier League career at the club, but three consecutive league defeats for Arsenal at the venue may have changed that.

Arteta has lost all of his three Premier League away matches to Everton, the first Gunners manager to endure such a run, while the Toffees boast three consecutive home league victories against Arsenal for the first time since March 1977 to August 1978.

It handed Arsenal just their second defeat in their last 21 Premier League matches (won 17, drawn 2), with the loss ending a streak of 14 unbeaten top-flight games for the league leaders.

Dyche, meanwhile, became just the second manager to beat a side starting the day top of the table in his first Premier League game in charge of a club, after Alan Curbishley defeated Manchester United in his first match with West Ham in December 2006.

Wolves 3-0 Liverpool: Dawson delight amid Klopp rot

Craig Dawson is not a name that would usually strike fear for opposition defenders in the Premier League but the Wolves defender has established a habit of haunting Liverpool, his latest goal representing his third against the Reds.

Each of those goals have come for a different side (West Brom, West Ham, Wolves) and he has scored more goals against Liverpool than he has versus any other side.

Klopp's side have now lost three consecutive away games in the Premier League for the first time since a run of four in April 2012 and have lost back-to-back Saturday 3pm kick-offs in the competition for the first time since March 2012.

A horror start was their downfall against Wolves, with Liverpool conceding more Premier League goals in the opening five minutes of matches than any side this season (five), while Joel Matip's own goal was his first in 135 Premier League appearances.

Brentford 3-0 Southampton: Bees buzzing at home

Unbeaten in their last nine Premier League games (won five, drawn four), only Newcastle United are currently on a longer run without defeat – extending their streak to 16 with a draw against West Ham in the late kick-off.

The Bees' trio of goals against Southampton took their tally to 23 goals in 11 Premier League home games this season, already surpassing the tally of 22 last term. In fact, only Manchester City (38) and Arsenal (25) have scored more at home this term.

On target with a header yet again, 10 of Ben Mee's 12 Premier League goals have come in that fashion and no side has conceded more headed goals in the top-flight this season than Southampton (10), two of them being on Saturday.

Pressure upon Saints boss Nathan Jones continues to rise, with Southampton losing eight of their last nine in the Premier League, winning just once, while they have just a single clean sheet in their last 27 matches in the competition.

Manchester United 2-1 Crystal Palace: Penalties on point for United

With 13 consecutive home wins in all competitions, Manchester United are in their stride and are enjoying their longest such run at Old Trafford since a 20-match streak between December 2010 and September 2011.

While Marcus Rashford scored in five consecutive Premier League home games for the first time, it was Bruno Fernandes' opener from the penalty spot that sent Erik Ten Hag's side on their way – and took the Portugal midfielder's tally of penalty goals in the Premier League to 14.

Only Wayne Rooney (20) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (18) have scored more from the spot for United than Fernandes, with his latest effort being the club's 173rd all-time spot-kick in the Premier League – the joint-highest total alongside Liverpool.

The red mist descended on Casemiro, however, with the Brazilian shown a straight red card for the first time in Europe's top-five leagues; the dismissal coming in his 366th such appearance.

That provided a late charge for Palace, who saw eight of their 10 shots come in the final 20 minutes after Casemiro's dismissal, but Patrick Vieira's side remain winless in the Premier League in 2023 (drawn 2, lost 3), scoring just once in the process.

Chelsea's busy January is showing no signs of slowing down, despite landing five players already.

The Blues, who are 10th in the Premier League, have brought in Mykhaylo Mudryk, Noni Madueke, Andrey Santos, David Datro Fofana and Benoit Badiashile during this window.

Chelsea are 10 points behind fourth-placed Manchester United and desperate for a top-four finish to bring Champions League football back to Stamford Bridge.

And another signing is now imminent.


TOP STORY –  CHELSEA AGREE DEAL FOR LYON'S GUSTO

Fabrizio Romano claims Chelsea have agreed to a deal with Lyon to sign right-back Malo Gusto.

The 19-year-old will fly to London and undergo medical tests on Saturday, with the player to join the Blues in June 2023.

Lyon will receive €30million plus add-ons and retain the player on loan for the remainder of the season.

OL head coach Laurent Blanc had said the club's board guaranteed that he would remain with the club this season, with the loan solving that roadblock. 

ROUND-UP

Arsenal will make an improved offer for Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Moises Caicedo , according to The Telegraph. The Seagulls turned down Arsenal's initial £60m bid for the Ecuadorian, who took to social media to plead with the club to let him go.

Atletico Madrid are back in for PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe , having been interested in him during the off-season, reports Le Parisien. Kimpembe, who is out of contract in mid-2024, may slip out of favour at PSG with the French champions pushing to sign Inter's Milan Skriniar.

Real Madrid have ruled out an off-season transfer for West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice , according to The Daily Mail. The report claims Rice has "given his word" to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta that he will join the Gunners next season.

– Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo has rejected a move to Premier League strugglers Bournemouth despite the club's board travelling to Italy, preferring Milan or Tottenham instead, claims Fabrizio Romano.

– FootMercato claims PSG are readying a bid for Lyon's 19-year-old winger Rayan Cherki. PSG have previously tabled two bids for him.

– Lyon are also set to lose 22-year-old Brazilian winger Tete who will join Leicester City until the end of the season, reports The Sun. West Ham, Brentford and Leeds United were also interested in Tete.

Brentford head coach Thomas Frank feels Chelsea have paid over the odds for Mykhaylo Mudryk and believes transfer fees being forked out are "insane."

The Blues landed the Ukraine international from Shakhtar Donetsk in a deal that could be worth £89million (€100m) as they continue to splash the cash following a takeover by a consortium-led by Todd Boehly.

Fellow winger Noni Madueke is also expected to arrived at Stamford Bridge from PSV, giving Graham Potter plenty of options to ponder.

Frank has questioned the fee the Bees' London paid for Mudryk and wonders how Potter can keep so many wingers happy.

"I think there is a lot of money around in the football world, especially in the Premier League," he told reporters ahead of the Premier League clash against Leeds United on Sunday.

"Looking from the outside, I think Mudryk is a very good player but 100million, that's a lot for a player who is showing great signs of potential but probably needs to do a bit more.

"Maybe that's just price-tags these days, which I think are insane.

"They've bought him and then there's rumours about the PSV guy as well. I think they have enough wingers but that is their issue."

As Premier League managers try and strengthen their squads you'll need to ensure you make the right moves ahead of another weekend of action.

Amid the comings and goings in the January transfer window, finding the right formula is crucial in order to challenge for honours or start climbing the table.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform has picked out four players who can earn you some precious points.

 

David Raya (Leeds United v Brentford)

Raya has kept two clean sheets in Brentford's past three top-flight games, the latest coming in a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth.

The Spain international has kept out the opposition entirely on six occasions this season in the Premier League and his tally of 81 saves is more than any other goalkeeper.

Leeds put five goals past a poor Cardiff City side in the FA Cup on Wednesday, but they have been wasteful in the top flight. A combination of a solid defence and Raya could frustrate them at Elland Road.

Dan Burn (Crystal Palace v Newcastle United)

If you have not got Burn in your defence, then it is a case of better late than never.

Newcastle have kept five consecutive Premier League clean sheets and Burn has been at the heart of their back four in all of those games.

Only team-mate Kieran Tripper (11) has more clean sheets to his name in the league this season than Burn's tally of nine.

A threat from set-pieces, the towering centre-back has also created five chanes and is due a Premier League goal after finding the back of the net against Leicester City in the EFL Cup.

Romeo Beckham has a big reputation to live up to but cannot be compared to famous footballing father David, says Brentford head coach Thomas Frank.

The 20-year-old joined Premier League side Brentford on loan this week and made his debut for the reserve side in Tuesday's London Senior Cup tie with Erith and Belvedere.

Romeo's dad was in the Park View Road stands to watch his son, who made 20 appearances for Inter Miami II in MLS Next Pro last season.

Talk of another Beckham taking the Premier League by storm has garnered plenty of attention, but Frank wants Romeo to be judged on his own ability rather than anyone else's.

"Romeo is a very good player, of course he has a name that is pretty worldwide, and big," Frank said at a pre-match press conference on Friday.

"For Romeo, he is himself. He of course has a big name. You can't compare [father and son]."

Frank drew comparisons between Michael Laudrup and his son Andreas, who the Brentford boss previously managed.

"Maybe Laudrup is also a decent player [like David Beckham]," Frank said. "I coached his son and it is important to take him as a player – not as a Laudrup, but as himself.

"Romeo is here for a reason, because we think he is a good player, and we are pleased he could make the loan deal."

Brentford B coach Neil MacFarlane praised Romeo for his display in the midweek cup tie, and Frank has challenged the youngster to do enough to earn a permanent contract.

"We're pleased to see him doing well and pleased with his performance in the last game. When you have players, either permanent or on loan, it's for a reason," Frank said.

"It's either for getting the team to perform, or to extend the loan deal and make it a permanent deal, so we just hope that he keeps progressing and makes it interesting for us."

Brentford's senior side are ninth in the Premier League and host Bournemouth on Saturday.

David Beckham's playing career may be over, but one Premier League club will list a Beckham among their ranks this season after the former England captain's son Romeo joined Brentford.

The young Beckham made 20 appearances for Inter Miami II – the reserve side of his father's Major League Soccer franchise – in the MLS Next Pro league last season.

The 20-year-old previously spent time in Arsenal's academy before being released in 2015, and he joined Inter Miami II in 2021 when the team were known as Fort Lauderdale CF.

In a statement released on Friday, Brentford revealed the winger would join their B team until the end of the season.

"Brentford are delighted to announce the signing of Romeo Beckham from Inter Miami CF on loan until the end of the 2022-23 season," the club said.

"The 20-year-old will join Neil MacFarlane's B team for the rest of the campaign to continue his development as he makes the temporary switch from the MLS club. The move is subject to international clearance."

Revealing Beckham had been training with the club since the end of the MLS Next Pro season, MacFarlane said: "He came to us from Inter Miami with the aim of working with us during their close season.

"Romeo has applied himself unbelievably well, he's really bought into the culture and the group which he has become a big part of. I love his standards and the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch."

The new recruit said he was relishing his opportunity, telling Brentford's website: "I'm very proud and very happy to be here.

"I came here at the start to keep fit during the off season. The chance then came to come on loan here and I've never been so excited."

Last July, Inter Miami coach Phil Neville defended his decision to bring on Beckham – as well as his own son Harvey – in a friendly against Barcelona, saying they both "earned the right" to feature in a game which ended in a 6-0 defeat for the MLS side.

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