London Football News

Brentford boss Frank hits back as Toney is tipped for Arsenal move

Thomas Frank has rubbish claimed that Brentford’s match against Arsenal is an “audition” for Ivan Toney.

Striker Toney has been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium this summer.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of the visit to north London, Bees boss Frank said: “I don’t think Ivan treats any game like an audition.

“I know Ivan very well and he is focused on only one thing – to perform and do everything to help the team and hopefully score a few goals.

“I don’t speak with Ivan before games about specific opponents. The reason I may speak to him is because I haven’t been happy with a performance or that we need him at his absolute best in the upcoming game.

“He plays for Brentford, he wants to perform for Brentford and do well for us. There are a lot of rumours out there are and the reasons for those rumours are because he has performed well in almost every game, no matter who we have faced.”

Team news

Arsenal hope Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli will be fit to play, but Oleksandr Zinchenko and Takehiro Tomiyasu look set to miss out again. David Raya is ineligible to play as he is on loan from the Bees. 

Toney appeared to pick up a knock towards the end of Brentford’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea, but Frank confirmed: “He’s fine. He will start.”

But Bryan Mbeumo, Ethan Pinnock, Aaron Hickey, Kevin Schade, Rico Henry, Josh Dasilva and Ben Mee are all out.

Arsenal strong favourites

Frank believes “it does not get tougher” than facing title-chasers Arsenal at this stage in the season.

“Form and momentum-wise, Arsenal are right up there,” Frank said.

“It’s clear it is Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City are ahead of the rest, and right now Arsenal are performing to the absolute maximum they can.

 “I’ve stopped counting the amount of goals they have scored in the last few weeks, it’s impressive.”

Brentford came away from the Emirates with a point last season in a gutsy 1-1 draw, and Frank believes his side will face a greater challenge this season against an “improved” Arsenal team.

He said: “It’s clear that Mikel Arteta, his coaching staff and his players have improved from last year. They managed to have an OK first half of the season, but right now they look very very strong. It’s really impressive.

“I said to my players ‘The good news is we always give them a game, but the bad news is they’ve never been better!’

“We need to deliver a top performance to get something out of the game, there’s no doubt about that.”

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