Atletico Madrid were eliminated from Europe in midweek after a 2-1 loss at Porto and are looking to bolster their squad.

One player who could be sold is Joao Felix, who Atleti signed for €126million from Benfica on a seven-year deal in 2019.

The Portuguese forward has underwhelmed this season, with only two goals, and has been unsettled at times.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO WILLING TO LISTEN TO JOAO FELIX OFFERS

Cadena SER claims Atletico Madrid have put Joao Felix on the market and are open to offers for him.

Bayern Munich were rumoured to have made a €100m off-season move for Felix, while Manchester United reportedly had a €130m bid turned down in August.

Fichajes reported last month that the 22-year-old had handed in a transfer request, while Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona have been linked with him recently.

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are getting proactive in the pursuit of Palmeiras' 16-year-old talent Endrick, sending officials to Brazil to commence talks over a deal, claims Marca. Endrick cannot officially join Madrid until he is 18-years-old but Los Blancos are eager to get an agreement in place.

West Ham, Leicester City, Southampton and Brentford are all monitoring Lyon's Brazilian winger Tete, according to The Sun.

– Diario Sport reports Barcelona want to sign Athletic Bilbao centre-back Inigo Martinez as a replacement for the retiring Gerard Pique.

Leicester are weighing up their options for a Youri Tielemans replacement, keeping tabs on Lorient midfielder Enzo Le Fee, reports 90min.

– La Gazzetta dello Sport reports veteran French forward Olivier Giroud will be rewarded with a new Milan contract after the World Cup. The new deal will run until 2024.

Bernardo Silva can help Manchester City go top of the Premier League table with a win at Leicester City, while Aleksandar Mitrovic should also get the nod in your fantasy team this week.

Silva only came off the bench in City's goalless Champions League draw at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, so he should be fresh at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Mitrovic made it three top-flight goals in as many games in Fulham's win at Leeds United last weekend and can add to his tally for the season of nine when Everton visit Craven Cottage this weekend.

David Raya could earn you some points when Brentford face struggling Wolves, while Arsenal will need a win against Nottingham Forest to return to the summit if City are victorious and Ben White can help them keep a clean sheet.

Stats Perform use Opta data to pick out the men you should be looking at selecting this weekend.

 

David Raya (Brentford v Wolves)

Only Nick Pope and Ederson (both five) have kept more clean sheets in the Premier League this season than Raya.

No team has scored fewer than Wolves' five goals this season and they also have the lowest shot conversion rate (3.45 per cent) along with the lowest goals differential of -8.01, with Opta having their expected goals tally at 13.01.

After suffering a 4-0 hammering at home to Leicester last weekend, it could be a painful trip to London for Wolves and Raya may be in for a quiet afternoon.

Ben White (Arsenal v Nottingham Forest)

Defender White can play a big part in bringing Forest back down to earth following their shock win over Liverpool.

Playing as right-back for the Gunners this season, White has provided two assists in his past four appearances - including one in the draw at Southampton last Sunday.

Kenny Tete and Kostas Tsimikas (both three) are the only defenders to have provided more assists in the competition this season and Arsenal will fancy their chances of ensuring Forest fire a blank.

Bernardo Silva (Leicester City v Manchester City)

Silva has already registered five assists in the Premier League for the champions this season.

The Portugal international averages an assist every 160 minutes he has been on the field this season, which is the best rate he has achieved since arriving at the club.

Silva has also scored twice and can cause lowly Leicester all sorts of problems.

Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham v Everton)

Only Erling Haaland (54.4) and Anthony Martial (52.5) have a better minutes per goal ratio than Mitrovic in the Premier League this season.

The Serbia striker is on a roll and could score in four consecutive league games for the second time in the 2022-23 campaign.

Third on the list of highest Premier League scorers this season behind Haaland (17) and Harry Kane (10), Mitrovic can ensure the Toffees come unstuck following their win over Crystal Palace.

Bruno Fernandes' spectacular finish helped Manchester United make a statement of their top-four credentials with a 2-0 win over Tottenham in the Premier League on Wednesday.

The Portugal midfielder volleyed into the top-right corner to add to Fred's opener, lifting the Red Devils to a deserved victory over Antonio Conte's men, who they now trail by just four points.

Elsewhere, Newcastle United continued their fine start to the season and Chelsea were held by Brentford, as West Ham paid the penalty in a narrow loss to Liverpool at Anfield.

Here, Stats Perform picks out the best Opta facts from an intriguing Wednesday in the Premier League.

Manchester United 2-0 Tottenham: Fernandes continues Spurs' Red Devils hoodoo

Wednesday's headline clash saw United claim an important win over third-placed Spurs, Erik ten Hag's second win in as many home Premier League games against top-three opponents (also 3-1 v Arsenal in September).

That is as many home wins against sides in the top three as predecessors Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick managed between them in the competition.

Fernandes was the star of the show, creating nine chances – the most by a player in a Premier League match this season and most overall in the competition since Fernandes himself in September 2021 (10 v Aston Villa).

The hosts also kept Spurs' attackers quiet during a controlled display – Harry Kane has now failed to score in 13 of his 17 appearances against United in the Premier League, more than against any other opponent.

The victory is United's fourth in their last four Premier League meetings with Tottenham, the first time they have enjoyed such a run in the competition since April 2009-October 2010.

Liverpool 1-0 West Ham: Alisson and Nunez hand Reds hard-fought win

At Anfield, Liverpool built on Sunday's victory over Manchester City by clinching a 1-0 win over West Ham, extending their unbeaten run to 29 home league games (W22 D7).

Darwin Nunez headed home the only goal, which also represented Liverpool's 100th Premier League goal against West Ham – the fourth side they've reached a century against in the competition.

That goal was also the 800th West Ham have conceded in the Premier League – a tally only previously reached by Everton, Newcastle and Tottenham.

The Hammers were handed a chance to respond before the break, but Jarrod Bowen saw his penalty saved by Alisson. Since the start of the 2020-21 season, no team has missed more Premier League spot-kicks than West Ham's six.

Newcastle United 1-0 Everton: Solid Toon continue rise

Eddie Howe's Newcastle recorded a 1-0 win over Everton at St James' Park, posting their fifth clean sheet of the Premier League season – a tally only matched by Manchester City.

In truth, the Magpies' rearguard was never seriously tested: Everton's one shot in this match was their joint-worst tally in a Premier League game since data collection began in 2003-04 (also v Chelsea in November 2016).

Newcastle are sixth in the early-season standings after combining that solidity with an eye for the spectacular – only Leicester City (six) can better their tally of five Premier League goals from outside the penalty area this season. 

Match-winner Miguel Almiron, meanwhile, has netted five goals in 11 league appearances this term, matching his return from his previous 64 outings.

Brentford 0-0 Chelsea: Bees hold firm in West London Derby

Chelsea are yet to taste defeat under Graham Potter, but the Blues boss saw his team drop league points for the first time in his tenure at Brentford.

The Blues' familiar lack of creativity came to the fore as they hit the target with just five of their 14 shots (36 per cent), three of which came after the 85th minute.

Despite not starting the match, Mateo Kovacic was directly involved in seven of Chelsea's 14 shots, creating a game-high four chances as he outshone his team-mates.

However, the Croatian was unable to drive his side to a win, and Brentford have now kept consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League for just the second time – last doing so in their first two games in the competition in August 2021.

Kepa Arrizabalaga is relishing Graham Potter's faith in him after producing another excellent performance in Chelsea's 0-0 draw with Brentford on Wednesday.

Although Chelsea dropped points in the Premier League for the first time under Potter after struggling to create chances, they had Kepa to thank for preserving their unbeaten record under the former Brighton and Hove Albion boss.  

Kepa made five saves – three of them to deny Ivan Toney – as Chelsea kept their fifth successive clean sheet in all competitions.

The Spaniard – who was reportedly considered surplus to requirements under Potter's predecessor Thomas Tuchel – has been afforded a new lease on life in recent weeks, and is savouring his run in the team.

"I'm feeling very well, I'm feeling confident with and without the ball. I'm feeling like I'm helping the team when they need it, so [I'm] happy," Kepa told Amazon Prime.

"Of course, every player needs this confidence, this push, and I think for the goalkeeper it's even more important when you have continuity. 

"For a goalkeeper, when you're not playing, in training it's not the same. I have to keep going, I have to keep working. 

"We are not happy because I think they had chances, but we had chances, and the last fifteen minutes we were playing all the time in their box. Our feeling is like we dropped two points."

Kepa has now kept five clean sheets in eight appearances this season (in all competitions), while Chelsea have recorded eight shutouts in their last 11 away London derbies in the Premier League, winning nine (D1 L1).

However, Chelsea only managed to hit the target with five of their 14 attempts (36 per cent) against Thomas Frank's stubborn hosts, three of which came after the 85th minute.

Despite the Blues' lack of creativity, Potter refused to criticise his side's performance, telling Amazon Prime: "We are always disappointed when we don't win, but over the course of the game, a point is about fair. 

"We expected a really tough game. The spirit is good for us, we gave everything. It's not easy with the schedule we have, but the boys gave everything, I'm proud of them. 

"We wanted to do a little bit better in the first half, but you have to give credit to your opponent."

Chelsea looked to have been dealt another injury blow when Conor Gallagher was replaced after 15 minutes, but Potter revealed the England midfielder felt unwell and should make a swift return.

"I haven't spoken to the doctors, but he just felt ill," Potter said of Gallagher. "He thought he was going to be sick, so hopefully it's just a 24-hour thing and he will be okay."

Chelsea dropped points in the Premier League for the first time under Graham Potter after producing a flat performance in a 0-0 draw at Brentford.

Kepa Arrizabalaga continued his excellent form to keep the hosts at bay in West London, but a much-changed Chelsea side failed to carve out clear-cut chances during Wednesday's frustrating draw.

While Potter remains unbeaten in seven games with Chelsea in all competitions, the result saw him lose his perfect Premier League record with the Blues, who missed their chance to close in on the top three.

Chelsea remain seven points adrift of leaders Arsenal after failing to break down Thomas Frank's Bees, whose defensive organisation came to the fore in an impressive display.

Kepa made a strong save from Ivan Toney's header as Chelsea withstood a flurry of early Brentford corners, before Conor Gallagher limped off after just 15 minutes in a blow for the Blues.

The Spanish goalkeeper bettered that stop with a terrific reflex save after 33 minutes, clawing another Toney header away from goal after the striker latched onto a second ball in Chelsea's penalty area.

David Raya made his only save of the opening half from Cesar Azpilicueta's low drive two minutes later, before Bryan Mbeumo nodded straight at Kepa after the restart.

Chelsea improved following the introductions of Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic, but their offensive woes were summed up by Kai Havertz shooting straight at Raya after finding space in the area. 

Kepa stood firm once again to stop Toney's low effort with eight minutes remaining, as both defences refused to be beaten in an even affair.

Chelsea boss Graham Potter has rubbished reports that Denis Zakaria's loan spell could be cut short in January.

Zakaria was signed by previous head coach Thomas Tuchel from Juventus on a season-long loan deal just before the transfer window closed at the start of September.

The midfielder is yet to make his debut for the London club and has only been a substitute on one occasion in the Premier League.

It has been reported that the Switzerland international could be on his way back to Juve when the next transfer window opens, but that is news to Potter.

He said: "There's no decision been made at all on that. Denis has been in the group, he's been training well.

"He's ready to help the team, obviously there's competition for places in that area, but there's no talk of anything.

"He's an important member of the team, he's been patient and he's trying to help the team from the side at the moment and waiting for his chance."

Chelsea will make the short trip for a derby at Brentford on Wednesday in search of a sixth consecutive victory and looking for a fifth clean sheet in a row.

It has been a great start to head coach Potter's tenure, with his side fourth in the Premier League and on course to qualify for the Champions League round of 16.

Mason Mount's double secured a 2-0 win at Aston Villa on Sunday and Potter says he is bemused over why there appears to be mixed opinions on the England midfielder's credentials.

He said: "It's a joy [to work with Mount], he's a fantastic person. He loves to play football, loves the club here. It's surprising I get some questions like there's some sort of mixed opinion on Mason, I find that strange.

"Especially from the outside and then when you start to work with him, you just think he's got everything you need to be a top, top player. He's got a great attitude, understands spaces, connects, can execute, assists, scores goals. He's a top player."

Potter revealed Chelsea have no new injuries to contend with ahead of their clash with the Bees, allaying concerns Thiago Silva could be sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Brentford have condemned "despicable" racist abuse of Ivan Toney and called for support from the police and Instagram after their star striker revealed a private message he was sent on Friday.

Toney scored twice in Brentford's 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, taking the England World Cup hopeful's tally to an impressive eight goals for the season.

But Toney posted on Twitter on Saturday to report an abusive message he had received on Instagram in the closing stages of the game.

The former Newcastle United forward uploaded images of both the message and the account from which it was sent.

"I wasn't even going to post this, but I woke up angry," Toney said.

A statement followed from Brentford, which read: "We condemn this discriminatory behaviour in the strongest possible terms. An attack on one of our players is an attack on all of us.

"Ivan will receive the full backing from the club and from the Brentford fans who we have already seen condemning the abuse.

"We expect strong support from the police, legal authorities and from Instagram's parent company, Meta, to ensure that the individual involved faces the full force of the law for this despicable hate crime."

Ivan Toney is a "perfect fit" for England, so says Thomas Frank, as the Brentford striker backed up his claim for a World Cup call.

Toney has been in superb form for Brentford this season and moved onto eight league goals for the season with a double in Friday's 2-0 defeat of Brighton and Hove Albion.

Having marked his 100th Premier League appearance for Brentford with a deft backheel to put them ahead in the first half, Toney coolly converted a spot-kick after the break to seal the points.

Toney has scored all 20 of his penalties for Brentford (excluding shoot-outs), including eight in the Premier League, putting him behind only Dimitar Berbatov (9/9) and Yaya Toure (11/11) when it comes to players with a 100 per cent record from the spot in the competition.

The 26-year-old, who also netted from 12 yards in last week's defeat to Newcastle United and last month's thrashing of Leeds United, received his maiden England call-up for the Nations League matches against Italy and Germany in September.

While he did not make his international debut, only Erling Haaland (15) has scored more goals than Toney in the Premier League this season, and Frank thinks Toney – who he reiterated is the finest penalty taker in the game – must be part of Gareth Southgate's squad.

"I know I say it every time and he’s starting to back me up a bit – the best penalty taker in the world. It’s not only because of his coolness, his technique, strategy and he practices," Frank told Sky Sports.

"We spoke about when he got the call, if he could get the first cap that would be amazing. It would be the first time in, I don't know, 80 years [that a Brentford player played for England] and we keep breaking records these days.

"But for Ivan it would be amazing and I think – I respect Gareth so much, he knows the bigger picture more than me – but I think he's a perfect fit for the squad if you want that flexibility in strikers."

Frank's sentiment was echoed by Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher, who said: "I think he has to go. We know Harry Kane is our number one but after that it feels as though a lot of the strikers are in the same sort of category in terms of quality. Ivan Toney, right now, is at the top of that list and I don't see how he doesn't go."

Fellow pundit Gary Neville says Toney – who joked he "thinks of being on the beach with a cocktail" when he takes his penalties, could prove a difference maker in a penalty shoot-out.

England have won only one of their last eight shoot-outs at major tournaments – against Colombia at the 2018 World Cup. Indeed, they lost last year's Euro 2020 final to Italy on penalties.

Neville said: "I went to eight tournaments, five of those got knocked out on penalties. The fact is it's about having confident players who do it regularly – and England have got a lot of those in the squad.

"Those big moments will be determined by penalties and free-kicks, to not have him there would be a big risk."

For his part, Toney said of his England experience: "I didn't feel out of place. I felt like I was ready for that step.

"I'm ready to take my opportunity. I always see myself as the best player on the pitch and you've always got to have that mentality, no matter who you come up against."

Real Madrid had a drawn-out pursuit of Kylian Mbappe earlier this year but ultimately missed out on the France forward.

Mbappe opted to sign a lucrative contract extension with Paris Saint-Germain in May, tying him to the Parisians until 2025.

But earlier this week, Fabrizio Romano reported the situation between PSG and Mbappe had got tense, with the player keen to depart.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID MOVE ON FROM MBAPPE AMID TRANSFER TWIST

Marca claims that Real Madrid are no longer have interest in signing Mbappe amid reports that he is unsettled at PSG and wants to leave.

The report claims that Los Blancos are observing the situation from afar with no desire to participate in the latest drama.

Romano also said PSG had no intention of selling Mbappe in January amid the speculation he wanted out. PSG director Luis Campos denied the report on Tuesday.

ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich will turn to Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram should they fail to land Tottenham's Harry Kane , reports TZ. Thuram's Gladbach deal ends at the end of this season.

– Sky Sport's Florian Plettenberg reports that Toni Kroos and Real Madrid are set to commence talks on a new deal running until 2024, with his currently deal expiring at season's end.

Barcelona will try to lure Chelsea pair N'Golo Kante and Jorginho to Camp Nou as free agents at the end of this season, claims the Evening Standard. The Blues are currently trying to convince both to re-sign.

– 90min claims Manchester City have told Bayern Munich and Inter that defender Nathan Ake is not for sale in January, following speculation about their interest.

West Ham have joined Roma and Manchester United in pursuing a deal for Sassuolo midfielder Davide Frattesi, according to Calciomercato.

– Football Insider reports Brentford have commenced discussions with England international striker Ivan Toney on a new deal, with Tottenham linked to him.

It is too early to declare the Premier League a two-horse race for the title, but the blows Manchester City and Arsenal continue to trade are making for increasingly compelling viewing.

Arsenal will have to respond on Sunday after City's latest majestic showing against sorry Southampton.

Chelsea look re-energised under Graham Potter, while Eddie Howe continues to weave his magic at Newcastle United, who scored more goals than even City on Saturday.

Antonio Conte's Tottenham only needed one goal to round off the day by maintaining their impressive start to the campaign at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Before attention turns to events at Emirates Stadium, Stats Perform picks out the best data from Saturday's matches.

Chelsea 3-0 Wolves: Manager-less visitors far from cloud nine

The sacking of Bruno Lage did nothing to improve Wolves' fortunes, as their run of winless away Premier League games was stretched to nine (D2 L7).

That is their longest such run since going 10 games (D4 L6) without a win on the road in January 2012.

On top of that, Wolves remain winless in nine league away games with Chelsea (D3 L6)

Kai Havertz opened the scoring for the Blues and has now found the net twice in his last three league games, more than in his previous 12 matches in the competition. The German has netted in consecutive home league games for the Blues for the first time.

Mason Mount laid on two of the goals for Potter's men, marking the first time he has recorded two assists in a single Premier League games since a meeting Leicester City in February 2020.

Manchester City 4-0 Southampton: KDB the assist king for rampant champions

Pep Guardiola's men will be in the rare position of hoping Liverpool deliver a result against Arsenal on Sunday, after the champions leapfrogged the Gunners back to the top of the table.

Erling Haaland was on the scoresheet again, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, though he did only register one goal in this one-sided affair.

The Norway star is just the second player to score in seven consecutive Premier League games for Manchester City, after Sergio Aguero (May-September 2019).

Kevin De Bruyne provided the assist for Phil Foden to double City's lead after Joao Cancelo opened the scoring. De Bruyne's 94 assists mean he now has the outright most for City in the Premier League, overtaking David Silva (93).

City's incredible prowess in front of goal saw them become the first team to score at least four goals in five consecutive top-flight home games since Tottenham in September 1963 (a run of six).

Newcastle United 5-1 Brentford: Bruno the talk of the Toon

The Magpies are fifth after a dominant performance at St James' Park, and their fans can perhaps afford to hope of challenging at the top consistently for the first time since the days of Bobby Robson.

Newcastle's five-goal effort followed a 4-1 win at Fulham, making it the first time they have scored four-plus goals in successive Premier League games since September 2001, when Robson was in charge and oversaw wins over Middlesbrough and Manchester United. This was also the first time Newcastle have scored five in a Premier League game since May 2016 (5-1 vs Tottenham), a game that came after their relegation to the Championship was already confirmed.

Worries about the second tier look to be a distant memory now. Newcastle have lost just one of their last 11 Premier League games (W5 D5), while only City (66), Liverpool (61), Tottenham (61) and Arsenal (55) have won more points than the Magpies (52) in the competition this calendar year.

Newcastle's remarkable form under Howe is down in no small part to Bruno Guimaraes. The Brazil midfielder scored a fine double in this one and now has more goals (7) than any other Newcastle player since making his Premier League debut in February.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-1 Tottenham: Conte defeats another compatriot

Conte is one of four Italian managers to lift the Premier League trophy and enjoyed success against another trying to make his way in England as Spurs saw off Roberto De Zerbi's Brighton side.

Conte is now unbeaten in all seven of his Premier League matches against fellow Italian managers (W6 D1) and has seen his sides keep clean sheets in four of their last five such games.

Son Heung-min teed up Harry Kane for the game's only goal, making it the 43rd time they have combined for a Premier League goal, extending their own record.

Kane has scored 12 goals in his last 12 league games, and has found the net in each of his last four, his joint-longest scoring streak in the competition and the seventh time he has achieved that feat.

Bruno Guimaraes' move to Newcastle United was "absolutely a bargain" in the eyes of Eddie Howe, who savoured a masterclass on Saturday from the Brazil international.

Newcastle fended off reported interest from Juventus and Arsenal to sign Guimaraes from Lyon in January for £35million, with the midfielder acknowledging he "took a gamble" to boost his World Cup hopes.

The 24-year-old has subsequently delivered and become a favourite at St James' Park, scoring twice in the 5-1 win over Brentford on Saturday.

Since making his Premier League debut in February, no Newcastle player has managed more than Guimaraes' seven goals, further aiding his bid for a starting spot with Brazil at Qatar 2022 in November.

While Brazil head coach Tite will make the final call on Guimaraes' selection, Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe was effusive in his praise as he suggested his signing represented great value for money.

"I find it difficult with that number, but I would say that he's a bargain in today's current climate," Howe said. "He's absolutely a bargain because he's had a huge effect on the team and the club.

"In today's market, that is a relatively modest sum, which I can't really believe I'm saying. But it is.

"No disrespect to anyone I've played with, but they can't compare to Bruno, maybe bar Jermain Defoe, who was incredible in his early days. But there'd be no one else like him.

"In terms of coaching, I've coached some really good individuals, but he would be right up there. He's an incredible talent and an incredible person.

"We love him to bits, and we're enjoying watching him, coaching him and playing a part in his development."

Newcastle had been held in their last two home league games but returned to St James' Park winning ways in emphatic fashion.

The Magpies have lost just one of their last 11 Premier League games (W5 D5), while only four teams have more won points than Newcastle (52) in the competition in 2022.

 

Guimaraes told NUFC TV: "We've lost many points at home, and we can't have this happening. We know at home we need to win.

"Today was an amazing day for me. I'm very proud of the boys, of the gaffer."

Boss Howe pointed to upcoming games against Manchester United, Everton and Tottenham as representing a major test of his team. They come in the space of eight days, starting on Sunday, October 16.

"Now we enter a really tough three-game week," Howe said, "and we're well aware that those games are difficult.

"We'll enjoy tonight, and enjoy the feeling of how well the team has done, but then quickly focus on what's ahead."

England manager Gareth Southgate should take Ivan Toney to the World Cup, so says "biased" Brentford head coach Thomas Frank.

Toney has enjoyed a fine start to the season for Brentford, scoring five goals across eight Premier League appearances.

Indeed, since the start of last term, only five players have scored more goals in the competition than Toney (17), with Harry Kane (24) the sole English player to have netted more.

As well as being involved in seven of Brentford's 15 Premier League goals this season, Toney has had more shots (23) and created more chances from open play (10) than any other player for the Bees this term.

After scoring a hat-trick in a 5-2 rout of Leeds United on September 3, Toney received his first England call-up for last month's Nations League matches against Italy and Germany. While he did not make an appearance in either game, Frank believes he must be an option for Southgate in Qatar.

Ahead of Brentford's trip to Toney's former club Newcastle United, Frank said in a press conference: "I think for Ivan the most important thing is to perform every day at the training ground and then perform on Saturday against Newcastle, hopefully score a goal or two.

"Keep doing that and with his performances he needs to ask questions to Gareth Southgate.

"It is up to Gareth to take the decision over what he thinks is the best squad for the World Cup. I am sure he will take the best squad. Gareth wants to win the World Cup so he will bring the best and most competitive squad.

"If you ask me, I see Ivan every day and I am biassed but I think he should be there."

Brentford's trip to St James' Park comes a day after the one-year anniversary of the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed takeover of Newcastle.

At the time, the Magpies were languishing in the relegation zone under former boss Steve Bruce. Since then, Newcastle have taken 57 points in the top flight, with only the so called "big six" teams – Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham – winning more games (15).

For Frank, it would be a miraculous if Brentford manage to compete with Newcastle's financial strength over the coming seasons.

"If we have the money we have now, they have their money and we continue doing that, if we are the same level at the same time, it will be an even bigger miracle than it is now that we are competing," Frank said.

"Of course we know in football money talks. It is a very important part and that is one thing but the very good news is it is not only about money.

"Newcastle want to challenge that and there is no doubt they are aiming to be top six so maybe we need to start to talk about a top seven in the future. Put that aside, us being a bottom two budget club in the league, it is remarkable what we are doing."

Brentford head coach Thomas Frank believes Ivan Toney can "prove people wrong" after failing to get on the pitch in either of England's Nations League games over the international break.

Toney was left out of the matchday squad by Gareth Southgate for the 1-0 defeat to Italy and, while he was included in the 23 players chosen for the Germany match, he was not called upon off the bench.

The 26-year-old had been called up for the first time by Southgate after a superb start to the season in which he netted five times in Brentford's first six league games.

And Frank says Toney must use this disappointment to fuel his performances for the Bees, telling reporters: "Of course Ivan hoped to come on the pitch. 

"I think in life and football the way you get success is you can show resilience and come back from smaller setbacks.

"It is a minor setback, a minor disappointment, but you need to move forward and just prove people wrong by performing well and that's the only thing he can do.

"So it's actually relatively simple. But a little bit more difficult of course to do it day in day out. But Ivan has a strong mentality and he will do everything he can to perform well."

Ivan Toney says he was forced to bite his tongue in the wake of Gabriel Magalhaes' "cringey" social media taunt following Brentford's 3-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Toney was limited to just two shots – totalling 0.14 expected goals (xG) – as Arsenal maintained their fine start to the Premier League season on Sunday, cruising to victory courtesy of goals from William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira.

The win ensured revenge for the Gunners after they began the 2021-22 campaign with a demoralising defeat to the Bees, after which Toney tweeted: "Nice kick about with the boys."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta used that same message to motivate his squad ahead of February's reverse fixture – a 2-1 win for the Gunners – and it was repeated by Gabriel on social media following Sunday's win.

Asked about the jibe, Toney – who is away on international duty with England for the first time – said: "I think once was funny, the second time was a bit cringey, but I bit my tongue. I wanted to reply, and I wanted to nibble but fair play to them, they played very well. 

"They're a much better side than what we played before and they are going very well, so fair play to them."

Having scored five league goals already this campaign, Toney earned a maiden England call-up last week.

Toney, who is yet to be capped by the Three Lions at any age level, believes performing for one of the Premier League's less-fancied sides gives that honour extra importance.

"It makes it much more special," he added. "Nobody was called up from Brentford for like 70-plus years and I think if you are good enough, and you are doing your job as a striker, scoring goals and playing well, then why shouldn't you be called up? 

"I think I have proved that. Everyone at the club is really proud for me and I can genuinely see that."

Only Erling Haaland (11), Harry Kane and Aleksandar Mitrovic (both six) have outscored Toney in the Premier League this season, but the striker is unsure whether he would replicate his exploits in a more established side. 

"It's easy to say that I would be scoring goals, but I think that teams like them dominate possession a lot more, so I think in theory you are more likely to score goals as there is a lot more opportunities coming your way," he added.

"But listen, you still have to put it in the back of the net, so until I am there, who knows? 

"Until then I am not sure, but they have quality players assisting them and hopefully one day I will be in their shoes and can be scoring goals like Haaland and Jesus."

Ivan Toney is ready to seize his England chance ahead of the World Cup, stating he has "been working for this moment" following his maiden call-up.

The Brentford forward was included in Gareth Southgate's final pre-World Cup squad for the upcoming Nations League clashes with Italy and Germany.

It represents the last chance for outsiders to press for inclusion – and as the only uncapped member of the squad, Toney looks as if he could be the proverbial bolter.

Struggles with either injury or form for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ollie Watkins and Patrick Bamford may have paved the striker's way, and speaking on Tuesday, he says he does not intend to let the moment pass.

"This is my opportunity now," he stated. "I've got to take it with both hands. I'm excited, I'm confident, I'm very hungry.

"I've been working for this moment and here it is now, so I'm not going to let it go by me, by any means."

It is not the first time Toney has flirted with international football, having previously been approached to represent Jamaica, though he explained priorities elsewhere ultimately shut down any switch in allegiance.

"I turned them down because at the time I was focusing on the play-offs," he added. "That was the main thing, and then it kind of fizzled out.

"I felt like my chances were getting bigger and bigger to play for the England squad."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.