Brentford’s Ivan Toney charged with 232 alleged breaches of betting rules | Brentford

Ivan Toney could be banned from playing for months after he was charged by the Football Association with 232 alleged breaches of its gambling laws.

The Brentford striker, who has been in scintillating form for his club and had hoped to be included in England’s 26-man World Cup squad, was charged on Wednesday after the FA concluded an investigation into activity which covered a period of nearly four years.

“Ivan Toney has been charged with misconduct in relation to alleged breaches of the FA’s betting rules,” the FA said in a statement. “It is alleged that the Brentford FC forward breached FA rule E8 232 times between 25 February 2017 and 23 January 2021.”

Footballers who play in England are banned from making any type of bet on football, or asking others to do so on their behalf. The FA’s rule E8 also bans the sharing of privileged information for the purposes of betting and sanctions can be tough.

In 2020 England international Kieran Trippier was banned from playing for 10 weeks and fined £70,000 after he was found to have shared information about his upcoming transfer to Atlético Madrid with his friends. An appeal made to Fifa to reduce the ban, observing that Trippier had not benefited financially from his actions, was rejected.

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The former England player Daniel Sturridge was banned for six weeks after sharing privileged information on a transfer, this ban was extended to four months after a failed appeal. Last year, two Boston United players were charged with, between them, 757 breaches of Rule E8, related to placing bets on matches. The pair, Andi Thanoj and Jay Rollins, were subsequently found guilty and banned for five months.

Toney has one week to reply to the charges, with a deadline set of Thursday 24 November. The 26‑year‑old has scored 10 goals in the Premier League for his club so far this seaason.

In a statement, Brentford said: “The club has been in discussion with Ivan and his legal representatives about this matter and those conversations will continue privately. We will make no further comment until the matter has been completed.”

Toney admits disappointment at World Cup snub after sinking Manchester City | Manchester City

Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City failed to control Ivan Toney, whose two goals gave Brentford victory over the champions less than 48 hours after he missed the cut for Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad.

City’s reverse was a first in the Premier League at home since February, ending a 20-match run, and leaves Guardiola’s side in second place on 32 points before the break for Qatar.

“The better team won – Toney’s exceptional for them,” he said. “We had a lot of problems. We could not make a high press because they did not allow us – long balls from the keeper to the striker and in this process we could not win any balls because when Toney flicks the ball on he creates problems.

“He’s very good, he’s able to win [duels] with all the central defenders, we were not able to control this aspect. Every time a centre-back jumped they suffer.”

Toney, who has 10 league goals this season, was asked about missing out on the World Cup. “It’s disappointing but, listen, I know what I’m capable of and I won’t let it put me down. I just keep going and keep doing well for Brentford.”

The 26-year-old insisted Southgate’s decision had not affected his approach to the game. “The motivation is the boys in the dressing room and the fans, as you can see,” he said.

A delighted Thomas Frank said: “He should have scored five goals – he had five good chances: one in [the] first half, then he scored then he missed one from angle, scored a goal and then missed the last one. Honestly, what a player.

“Gareth picked the squad he believes in but I hope he thinks about Ivan if there is an injury. He proved it today against the best team in the world. Of course him and I both think he should be there but we’re looking from our side and Gareth from the other side and we don’t know who’s right.

“Ivan has a very good family around him. I’ve known him for so long, I have no doubt he’ll come back stronger. I showed my empathy [to him].”

Frank described Brentford’s win as the best in their history. “Maybe this is the single best result. It’s massive. For the fans, I’m so happy we’ve created another unbelievably magic moment for them. The dressing room were fantastic scenes.

“We are the bus stop in Hounslow [as Bees fans sing] against the best team in the world.”

Ivan Toney strikes twice in Brentford’s breathtaking win at Manchester City | Premier League

Brentford did to Manchester City precisely what the champions did to Fulham here last week with a breathtaking smash-and-grab win in added time, Ivan Toney’s 98th-minute strike ending City’s sequence of 16 consecutive home victories.

For Toney this was sweet: two days after being omitted from Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad the centre-forward raced into City’s area to roll home his second of the game from Josh Dasilva’s cross and hand the champions defeat. The result means Arsenal will be top at Christmas.

Despite Pep Guardiola sending out an XI containing 10 players who will touch down in Qatar, Brentford proved unbending opponents. Their main ploys were to hit City on the break or in the air and the latter was how Thomas Frank’s men scored first, Toney heading home after Aymeric Laporte inadvertently touched the ball on to him.

Toney’s opener was cancelled out by a Phil Foden rocket just before the break and City had a slew of penalty claims – mainly for handball – which were all turned down by the VAR. Yet though the champions dominated they were never at their finely tuned best, the failure to create enough for Erling Haaland – who did not manage a single shot on target – or anyone else leaving them unable to secure the desired result.

Phil Foden rifles home the equaliser.
Phil Foden rifles home the equaliser. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

Guardiola’s decision to introduce only Julián Álvarez to shake the contest up from the bench was odd given Riyad Mahrez is game-changer and Jack Grealish is in flying form.

The entertainment began instantly when Rico Henry played in Frank Onyeka, his pace too much for John Stones who watched as Ederson, rushing out, made a low save. Henry then burst down the left and put in a cross that Ederson tipped on to Bryan Mbeumo who squared to Toney. The striker smashed it close to City’s No 1 who dived to save his team.

Duly provoked, Guardiola’s men asserted themselves. Kevin De Bruyne scooped the ball to David Raya’s back post where Haaland, making a first start in three weeks after an ankle injury, leapt and turned the ball back in. Brentford cleared for a corner which, taken by Foden on the left, eventually had Raya saving from Haaland.

Raya then played a vital role in the opener. The keeper’s long free-kick from his half was flicked on by Ben Mee – Manuel Akanji might have challenged him more strongly – and Toney, jumping against Laporte, headed past Ederson.

Game squarely on between the home winning machine and the division’s draw specialists. It brought Guardiola to the technical area from where he saw Foden and Rodri have shots blocked and a dazzling sequence that had João Cancelo, De Bruyne, Foden and Haaland exchanging possession with balletic poise .

What happened next was helter-skelter. Bernardo Silva’s chip was handballed by Henry and a cry went up for a penalty. VAR said no: the left-back’s feet were out of the area, the offending arm difficult to judge. The free-kick given by Peter Bankes stood, which De Bruyne took and when Haaland clashed with Mee, the No 9 went down – another penalty claim – before the ball ricocheted off Rodri to De Bruyne who hit the turf with Henry again in attendance. VAR check was not interested – the Belgian did appear theatrical – but Brentford were hanging on. Yet another handball shout – this time after Ilkay Gündogan’s effort – was then rejected at Stockley Park.

For all this a Foden laser repelled by Raya was City’s first attempt on target, 41 minutes in. It reflected how Guardiola’s men were hitting discordant notes, not least when City broke and Haaland galloped 70 yards to Brentford’s area only for Foden to send his cross too high. But, as the interval neared, the youngster levelled: a De Bruyne corner dropped to him and Foden’s left-foot volley was a picture of perfection. Finally, 74% possession had yielded a City goal.

After the break came a lengthy pause to treat a Laporte head injury: the added time was taken advantage of perfectly by Toney at the death.

Premier League team news: predicted lineups for the weekend action | Manchester City

Bournemouth v Everton

Saturday 3pm Venue Vitality Stadium Last season n/a

Referee Craig Pawson This season G7 Y31 R0 4.43 cards/game

Odds H 19-10 A 7-4 D 9-4

Bournemouth v Everton


Subs from Dennis,Christie, Marcondes, Rothwell, Stacey, Lowe, Stanislas, Zemura, Dembélé, Pearson, Hill, Anthony

Doubtful Zemura (knock)

Injured Brooks (thigh, 26 Dec), Kelly (ankle, 26 Dec), Neto (thigh, 26 Dec)

Suspended Mepham (one match)

Discipline Y22 R0


Leading scorer Billing 4


Subs from Begovic, Jakupovic, Lonergan, Patterson, Mina, Keane, Holgate, Vinagre, Doucouré, Garner, Davies, Rondón, McNeil, Welch, Mills, John, Cannon

Doubtful Holgate (knee)

Injured Calvert-Lewin (hamstring/knee, 26 Dec), Godfrey (broken leg, 26 Dec), Townsend (knee, 26 Dec)

Suspended None

Discipline Y33 R0


Leading scorer Gordon 3

Liverpool v Southampton

Saturday 3pm Venue Anfield Last season Liverpool 4 Southampton 0

Referee Simon Hooper This season G9 Y26 R0 2.88 cards/game

Odds H 3-11 A 11-1 D 6-1

Liverpool v Southampton


Subs from Adrián, Kelleher, Davies, Ramsay, Matip, Tsimikas, Phillips, Milner, Jones, Elliott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bajcetic, Carvalho, Gomez

Doubtful Matip (calf), Milner (concussion)

Injured Keïta (thigh, 26 Dec), Díaz (knee, 26 Dec), Jota (calf, Jan), Arthur (thigh, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y12 R1


Leading scorers Firmino, Salah 6


Subs from Caballero, McCarthy, Caleta-Car, A Armstrong, Mara, Djenepo, Edozie, Diallo, Walcott

Doubtful xnamex (xreasonx), xnamex (xreasonx)

Injured Walker-Peters (thigh, 26 Dec), Livramento (knee, Jan), Larios (groin, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y22 R0


Leading scorer Adams 3

Nottingham Forest v Crystal Palace

Saturday 3pm Venue City Ground Last season n/a

Referee John Brooks This season G6 Y24 R0 4 cards/game

Odds H 11-5 A 16-11 D 2-1

Nottingham Forest v Crystal Palace

Nottingham Forest

Subs from Hennessey, Smith, Soh, Williams, Colback, Awoniyi, Surridge, Cafú, Kouyaté, Dennis, McKenna, Badé, Boly, Taylor

Doubtful Kouyaté (knock), McKenna (knock)

Injured Richards (calf, 26 Dec), Toffolo (thigh, 26 Dec), Biancone (knee, unknown), Niakhaté (thigh, unknown)

Suspended Mangala (one match)

Discipline Y34 R0


Leading scorer Awoniyi 3

Crystal Palace

Subs from Butland, Johnstone, Whitworth, Milivojevic, Tomkins, Mateta, Clyne, Hughes, Édouard, Ebiowei, Ferguson, Balmer, Riedewald, Gordon, Wells-Morrison, Phillips, Goodman, Rodney

Doubtful Édouard (thigh)

Injured McArthur (groin, unknown), Richards (thigh, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y29 R0


Leading scorer Zaha 6

Tottenham v Leeds

Saturday 3pm Venue Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Last season Tottenham 2 Leeds 1

Referee Michael Salisbury This season G6 Y31 R0 5.16 cards/game

Odds H 11-17 A 43-10 D 17-5

Tottenham v Leeds


Subs from Forster, Austin, Doherty, Spence, Sánchez, Tanganga, Bissouma, Skipp, Sarr, Lucas Moura, Gil

Doubtful Lucas Moura (tendon)

Injured Romero (calf, 14 Nov), Sessegnon (knock, 14 Nov), Son (eye, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y25 R1


Leading scorer Kane 11


Subs from Klaesson, Robles, Ayling, Llorente, Firpo, Hjelde, Gelhardt, Greenwood, Harrison, Gyabi, Drameh

Doubtful Gelhardt (knock), Harrison (knock)

Injured Bamford (hip, 26 Dec), Forshaw (knee, 26 Dec), Gray (ankle, 26 Dec), Klich (knee, 26 Dec), Sinisterra (ankle, 26 Dec), Dallas (broken leg, Jan)

Suspended None

Discipline Y25 R1


Leading scorer Rodrigo 7

West Ham v Leicester

Saturday 3pm Venue London Stadium Last season West Ham 4 Leicester 1

Referee Jarred Gillett This season G6 Y24 R0 4 cards/game

Odds H Evs A 11-4 D 5-2

West Ham v Leicester

West Ham

Subs from Areola, Randolph, Johnson, Coufal, Fornals, Antonio, Lanzini, Downes, Ogbonna, Aguerd, Coventry, Ashby

Doubtful None

Injured Cornet (calf, unknown), Palmieri (knock, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y16 R0


Leading scorers Antonio, Benrahma, Bowen, Scamacca 2


Subs from Iversen, Smithies, Ward, Vardy, Albrighton, Iheanacho, Pérez, Amartey, Vestergaard, Mendy, Soumaré

Doubtful None

Injured Pereira (calf, Jan), Justin (achilles, May), Bertrand (knee, unknown), Soyuncu (hamstring, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y17 R0


Leading scorer Maddison 6

Newcastle v Chelsea

Saturday 5.30pm Sky Sports Premier League Venue St James’ Park Last season Newcastle 0 Chelsea 3

Referee Robert Jones This season G8 Y28 R1 3.63 cards/game

Odds H 7-5 A 2-1 D 28-11

Newcastle v Chelsea


Subs from Darlow, Gillespie, Karius, Lascelles, Targett, Manquillo, Lewis, Shelvey, Anderson, S Longstaff, Wood, Fraser, Murphy

Doubtful Darlow (ankle), Fraser (calf), Wilson (illness)

Injured Isak (thigh, 26 Dec), Ritchie (calf, 26 Dec), Krafth (knee, Aug), Dummett (calf, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y20 R0


Leading scorer Almirón 8


Subs from Bettinelli, Jorginho, Pulisic, Broja, Zakaria, Ziyech, Gallagher, Koulibaly, Soonsup-Bell, Hall

Doubtful Jorginho (ankle)

Injured Arrizabalaga (ankle, 26 Dec), Kanté (thigh, Feb), Chilwell (thigh, unknown), Chukwuemeka (thigh, unknown), Fofana (knee, unknown), James (knee, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y31 R2


Leading scorers Havertz, Sterling 3

Brighton v Aston Villa

Sunday 2pm Sky Sports Premier League Venue Amex Stadium Last season Brighton 0 Aston Villa 2

Referee Chris Kavanagh This season G4 Y16 R0 4 cards/game

Odds H 9-10 A 10-3 D 3-1

Brighton v Aston Villa


Subs from McGill, Steele, Lamptey, Colwill, Welbeck, Sarmiento, Enciso, Undav, Gilmour, Van Hecke, Veltman

Doubtful None

Injured Moder (knee, Feb)

Suspended None

Discipline Y17 R0


Leading scorer Trossard 7

Aston Villa

Subs from Olsen, Steer, McGinn, Sanson, Ings, Chambers, Augustinsson, Young, Nakamba, Bednarek, Guilbert, Archer, Kamara

Doubtful None

Injured Coutinho (thigh, unknown), Diego Carlos (calf, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y30 R1


Leading scorers Bailey, Ings 3

Fulham v Manchester United

Sunday 4.30pm Sky Sports Premier League Venue Craven Cottage Last season n/a

Referee Paul Tierney This season G11 Y43 R2 4.09 cards/game

Odds H 3-1 A Evs D 3-1

Fulham v Manchester United


Subs from Rodak, Kurzawa, Adarabioyo, Duffy, Chalobah, James, Mbabu, Harris

Doubtful None

Injured Solomon (knee, Jan), Kebano (calf, unknown), Mitrovic (ankle, unknown)

Suspended Reed (one match), Tete (one match)

Discipline Y35 R1


Leading scorer Mitrovic 9

Manchester United

Subs from Dubravka, Heaton, Jones, Maguire, Ronaldo, Fred, Sancho, Pellistri, Van de Beek, Elanga, McTominay, Mengi, Shoretire, Garnacho

Doubtful Antony (match fitness), Ronaldo (illness), Sancho (illness)

Injured Varane (hamstring, 22 Nov), Tuanzebe (match fitness, unknown), Wan-Bissaka (match fitness, unknown), Williams (match fitness, unknown)

Suspended Dalot (one match)

Discipline Y36 R0


Leading scorer Rashford 4

Carabao Cup: Gillingham beat Brentford on penalties; Everton soundly beaten | Carabao Cup

There was elation in the away end as League Two side Gillingham advanced to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a 6-5 win on penalties over Premier League opponents Brentford. The Bees were ahead inside five minutes when Mikkel Damsgaard’s fine pass found England hopeful Ivan Toney, who tapped in the opener.

Brentford enjoyed 80% possession but the resilient visitors struck back on 75 minutes when the substitute Mikael Mandron headed home Alex MacDonald’s cross at the near post, ensuring the Gills’ only shot of the match counted. A thrilling battle from the spot ended when the Gillingham midfielder Alex MacDonald scored their sixth penalty and Damsgaard saw his effort hit the bar, sealing victory for the underdogs.

Victory capped a memorable a day for the Kent club given that they had to walk the last part of their journey to Brentford, which meant kick-off was delayed by 20 minutes. “We had to walk here, we had to climb over barriers and help each other get over fences,” said the Gillingham manager Neil Harris.

“We got to about a quarter of a mile from Chiswick Roundabout and we got stuck. Fortunately we had a tactics board on the bus. But we couldn’t move and they couldn’t get a police escort to us. So we got in touch with the officials and decided to walk – probably about a 10-minute walk.”

Frank Lampard suffered an embarrassing Carabao Cup exit as his Everton side were thrashed 4-1 by Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium. The Toffees were made to pay for a number of defensive mistakes as Bournemouth ended their run of four successive Premier League defeats to ease into round four.

Jamal Lowe, Junior Stanislas, Emiliano Marcondes and Jaidon Anthony were on target for the hosts, with Demarai Gray replying for Everton. Frank Lampard admitted Everton’s fringe players had come up short. “We were poor,” Lampard said. “I made a lot of changes, but the reality of my job is that we want to win every game we play.”

Jamal Lowe of Bournemouth celebrates scoring his side’s fourth goal against Everton.
Jamal Lowe of Bournemouth celebrates scoring his side’s fourth goal against Everton. Photograph: Robin Jones/AFC Bournemouth/Getty Images

Lincoln bounced back from FA Cup embarrassment to storm into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with a 3-1 victory over Championship club Bristol City at Ashton Gate. The League One side took a seventh-minute lead when midfielder Matty Virtue was allowed time and space 25 yards out to the left of goal and netted with a sweetly struck right-footed drive.

It was 2-0 on 15 minutes as Ben House robbed young defender Joe Low, making his first start for the Robins, and ran through to slot home from inside the box. Four minutes into the second half Lincoln were in dreamland as Paudie O’Connor headed the third from virtually on the goal line after a free-kick was not dealt with.

The substitute Tommy Conway shot home from close range on 80 minutes but Lincoln, dumped out of the FA Cup by non-League Chippenham at the weekend, were in no mood to surrender their advantage.

Two late goals from substitute Anass Zaroury broke Crawley’s stubborn resistance and gave Burnley a hard-earned 3-1 win to reach the Carabao Cup fourth round. The third-round tie at Turf Moor looked as if it might have to be settled by a shootout as the Championship side spurned chance after chance to kill off the League Two outfit, who had taken the scalps of League One Bristol Rovers and Premier League Fulham to earn the trip to Turf Moor.

But Zaroury, who had been sent on as a 56th-minute substitute, eased their frustrations when he tapped the ball home from a couple of yards in the 79th minute after Ashley Barnes had touched on Manuel Benson’s low cross. And he added his second with a similar close-range finish in the 90th minute from his fellow sub Vitinho’s cross.

Goals either side of half-time from Warren O’Hora and Matthew Dennis ensured MK Dons earned a place in Thursday’s fourth round draw as they beat League One rivals Morecambe 2-0. Charlton edged a close contest with fourth-tier Stevenage, advancing with a 5-4 win on penalties. Stevenage went ahead through Luke Norris’s 22nd-minute penalty and defended their lead deep into the second half, when Chuks Aneke equalised to take the match to penalties.

Ivan Toney confirms he is ‘assisting the FA’ amid reports of betting investigation | England

The Brentford forward Ivan Toney has said he is “assisting the Football Association with their enquiries” after it was reported in national newspapers that he is being investigated over allegations of historical match betting.

The FA has declined to comment on the reports, but Toney tweeted a statement on Saturday evening. “I’m aware of a story about me in a national newspaper today,” he said. “I have been assisting the FA with their enquiries and will not be making any comment until such investigation has reached its conclusion.”

Toney, who is hopeful of being named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the 2022 World Cup on Thursday, added: “I am a proud Englishman and it has always been my childhood dream to play for my country at a World Cup finals.”

Brentford have also issued a brief statement on their official website to acknowledge they were aware of the claims. “We note the story concerning Ivan Toney and the FA investigation. The club will not be commenting,” the statement said.

Under FA rules, players operating at Premier League, Football League, National League, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship levels are “prohibited from betting, either directly or indirectly, on any football match or competition that takes place anywhere in the world.”

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The ban extends to “betting on any other football-related matter – for example, the transfer of players, employment of managers or team selection,” while “the passing of inside information to somebody that uses the information for betting remains prohibited.”

Toney was part of Southgate’s squad for September’s Nations League clashes with Italy and Germany, but did not figure in either game as he awaits his senior international debut. The 26-year old has scored eight Premier League goals this season, adding to a tally of 12 last term.

The frontman missed Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Nottingham Forest through suspension after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season against Wolves last weekend. Toney joined Brentford for £5m from Peterborough in 2020 after beginning his career with hometown club Northampton and going on loan to Barnsley, Shrewsbury, Scunthorpe and Wigan while at Newcastle.

Diego Costa sent off for head-butt as Brentford and Wolves share points | Premier League

Diego Costa was sent off for a head‑butt in stoppage time as Wolves battled to a draw at Brentford. A Rúben Neves cracker secured a point after Ben Mee had given the hosts the lead.

However the veteran striker Costa took exception to being marked by Mee and was shown a straight red card by Bobby Madley. The referee, officiating in the Premier League for the first time since he was sacked more than four years ago, checked his pitchside monitor before giving Costa his marching orders.

Costa will now serve a three‑match ban, meaning he will not feature again for Wolves until after the World Cup. “He’s apologised,” said Steve Davis, the club’s caretaker manager. “When emotions are high it is difficult to discuss things, but we’ll have a conversation with him next week. It will open up doors for other players or maybe we will play in a different way.”

It was an explosive end to a match that failed to ignite until the second half. Ivan Toney remains eager to impress the England manager, Gareth Southgate, before the World Cup. But the striker, who has scored six of Brentford’s last eight Premier League goals, passed up three decent chances in the opening period.

Toney missed his kick in front of goal after being teed up by Bryan Mbeumo and lost his footing racing on to Vitaly Janelt’s through ball. Mbeumo found his strike partner again late in the half but this time he trod on the ball and another opportunity went begging.

Thomas Frank explained that the striker had been ill during the week. “He was sick on Thursday, on Friday,” the Brentford manager said. “But it just shows his mentality that he still got on to the pitch.”

Brentford’s Ben Mee scores against Wolves.
Brentford’s Ben Mee scores against Wolves. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters

Josh Dasilva curled a shot narrowly wide for Brentford, who lost Mathias Jensen to a calf injury after half an hour. Wolves were also forced into a change when Matheus Nunes suffered a shoulder injury but his replacement, João Moutinho, immediately volleyed just off target from a corner.

Costa, passed fit despite suffering a knock in training on Wednesday, then got on the end of a Daniel Podence cross but his header flew over. With the forwards all misfiring it was centre-back Mee who took matters into his own hands at the start of the second half. From a short corner, he acrobatically turned in a cross from Mbeumo.

“He’s probably playing the best football of his life,” said Frank. “He looks like he found his second youth. He’s a giant in there at the back, he gets a head on everything, and today he scored like Ronaldo back in the day. He deserved three points today.”

Mee’s finish was a spectacular goal which Toney would have been proud to score, but it was cancelled out 110 seconds later. Nélson Semedo collected the ball from Adama Traoré and squared to Neves, who crashed a superb first‑time effort past David Raya from the edge of the box.

Costa had the best chances to win it for the visitors when he twice wriggled his way into shooting positions but Raya made two fine saves. The Wolves striker’s frustration got the better of him when he shoved his head into Mee’s and he was sent off following a VAR check.

“A point was fair,” said Davis. “Both teams wanted to win the game and it was quite equally balanced. … Rúben’s was a great finish and we’ve seen him do that many times. You know where it’s going to go.”

Frank has ‘unfinished business’ at Brentford but fails to quash Villa link | Aston Villa

Thomas Frank stopped just short of ruling himself out of the running for the vacancy at Aston Villa following Brentford’s 4-0 defeat against the Midlands side.

The Brentford head coach, one of several names believed to be under consideration by the Villa board after Steven Gerrard’s dismissal on Thursday, repeated he is happy in west London but chose his words carefully.

The caretaker-manager Aaron Danks, raised in neighbouring Yardley, enjoyed a dream debut in charge of his local team but referred to himself as a “career coach” who is focused on the next game, away against Newcastle.

Villa are believed to be willing to pay the £27m release clause for Sporting’s Rúben Amorim, and could also sound out the former Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel. Mauricio Pochettino is believed to have also made it known he would not consider the role with Michael Beale, Danks’s predecessor as Gerrard’s assistant and now in charge of QPR, telling Talksport there is “no chance” of him returning to the club in the immediate future.

Frank, who led Brentford to promotion then 13th place in the Premier League last season, has enjoyed a steady start to this campaign and there is talk of a new contract. After seeing his team endure a heavy defeat, the Dane was again asked about the Villa job.

“There [are] a lot of rumours out there. I realise this is a great club in many ways, but I have said many times before I am pleased in Brentford and I have unfinished business to do,” he said. “It’s football. One thing is for sure I have a job I am very glad for. I love Brentford, that is what I am focusing on.”

Danks said: “As a local lad, I know the area and the supporters so it was nice from that perspective. I know the players well and they played with energy and purpose like I asked them to. I haven’t had much time to reflect. Some really good people lost their roles, some I was close to. For me it has not been a time of reflection but of looking forwards. I have got so much respect for those guys.”

The former England Under-21 coach, insisted he has not considered taking charge of Villa’s three games before the World Cup. “I haven’t even thought about that,” he said. “I joined as a coach and to be part of a growth project. This club is steeped in tradition and history and we just want this club moving.”

Aston Villa and Ings move on from Gerrard era with thrashing of Brentford | Premier League

Wherever Steven Gerrard was on Sunday at 2.15pm, he would have been forgiven for cussing. If the former Aston Villa manager was somehow masochistically watching this game, he might just have been wondering where all the verve and anticipation – never mind the goals – had come from as Villa ripped Brentford apart with all the vim of a team exhilarated to be playing under an inspirational new manager.

The fact that Aaron Danks, his erstwhile assistant and now the caretaker manager, did not even merit a namecheck on the teamsheet, let alone in a matchday programme devoid of a manager’s column, only served to highlight the chasm in status between the former England captain relieved of his duties after the 3-0 defeat at Fulham on Thursday night and the temporary incumbent.

Ollie Watkins capped a superb performance with a brilliant team goal in the second half, after Leon Bailey had started a rout embellished by two goals from Danny Ings.

“Aaron, Aaron, give us a wave,” came the cry from the Holte End as the game petered out peacefully, Brentford’s insipid showing reflected in Bryan Mbeumo slotting wide of an open goal from six yards after Emiliano Martínez saved Mathias Jensen’s shot. He was immediately substituted as Brentford’s reliance on Ivan Toney, the scorer of their past six goals, helped extend their search for a first away win of the season.

Yet Villa’s opening 15-minute blitz was both a credit to their players and an indictment on them. Sure, Brentford started as if they had spent all their gas in holding Chelsea to a goalless draw on Wednesday, but Villa were so good as they zipped about creating chances at will that their fans are entitled to ask how they could have been so bad under Gerrard. Surely he cannot be such a bad egg that they had stopped trying for him?

Villa gained some return for the £100m they got for Jack Grealish 14 months ago as two of the players bought by Gerrard’s predecessor, Dean Smith, got the show on the road with the three first-half goals.

Brentford’s Ivan Toney shakes hands with Aston Villa’s Danny Ings
Brentford’s Ivan Toney shakes hands with Aston Villa’s Danny Ings after the match where Ings scored twice Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images/Reuters

Douglas Luiz, reprieved from suspension after his red card at Craven Cottage on Thursday was rescinded, played a short-corner exchange with Emiliano Buendia and pulled the ball back for Bailey to shoot home, left-footed, from just inside the area after 64 seconds.

That lit the claret-and-blue touch paper. Bailey sprinted through the inside-left channel on to Ashley Young’s astute through ball and crossed for Ings, playing as the central striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation, to convert clinically from close range. Both these goals survived VAR checks; Gerrard might have been asking if he could have had enjoyed such good fortune.

To be fair, Villa were rampant. Watkins, on the verge of equalling his longest goal drought in the Premier League, blasted a superb effort that David Raya tipped over. And when Kristoffer Ajer pulled Tyrone Mings’s shirt as they tussled before the corner, VAR again went in Villa’s favour. Young spent the VAR delay bouncing the ball up and down on the penalty spot before Ings dispatched his fourth goal of the season down the middle of the goal.

When not mocking their own manager, the Villa fans’ songbook at Craven Cottage had included calls for Buendia and his selection here was fully justified as he helped to run the game from the No 10 spot. The Argentinian, also acquired in that post-Grealish splurge, shot just wide after Ings’s delightful backheel and was also tenacious off the ball as Villa harried and hustled as if their jobs depended on it.

When Brentford did finally find a way out of their own half, Toney’s splendid short diagonal pass invited Mbeumo a run on goal but Martínez, captain in the absence of the demoted John McGinn, saved well at the striker’s feet.

Villa’s dominance was summed up in one 40th-minute attack when three times they almost scored: Douglas Luiz’s corner rebounded off the inside of the far post; Watkins helped on Leander Dendoncker’s shot but Raya saved; then Matty Cash’s low shot was turned aside for a corner.

That was Villa’s 15th shot of a first half they dominated almost as much as they did when Gerrard’s team faced Tottenham here in April but lost 4-0. Brentford are not chasing a Champions League spot but Villa were brilliant back on that day six months ago without gaining anything for it.

Villa reached the 4-0 margin just before the hour mark with a breathtaking goal from Watkins. Bailey showed control to match his electrifying pace to keep the ball in on the left touchline and then hurtle on to Ings’ return pass before crossing with impeccable swerve for the former Brentford striker.

Watkins’ first shot was saved; his second hit the post; and when the rebound bounced up off his own head he cracked in his first goal in nine league games. There was no refraining from celebrating a goal against an old club. Watkins milked the moment as Villa Park flowed over with sheer joy. Penny for your thoughts, Stevie G.

Aston Villa keen on Sporting’s Amorim with Pochettino looking out of reach | Aston Villa

Aston Villa are eyeing an ambitious move for the Sporting head coach, Rúben Amorim, after receiving little encouragement from Mauricio Pochettino about replacing Steven Gerrard.

Gerrard was sacked after less than a year in charge and the club’s hierarchy is due to accelerate talks with candidates in the coming days. Gerrard was relieved of his duties soon after an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at Fulham but travelled back to Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground on the team bus and said his goodbyes to his players in the early hours of Friday.

Amorim has established a fine reputation in Europe after leading Sporting to their first Portuguese title in 19 years last season and his team will be well placed to progress to the Champions League last 16 if they win at Tottenham on Wednesday.

Sporting paid €15m to land Amorim from Braga and inserted a €30m release clause in the four-year contract he signed in 2020, but Villa are thought not to be deterred by the prospect of having to pay hefty compensation. It is unclear how enthused Amorim would be about the prospect of taking over at Villa despite the grand plans of the billionaire owners, Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris. When questioned about the links on Friday, the 37-year-old said: “I’m Sporting’s coach and there’s nothing to say on the matter.”

Villa’s owners, together with the chief executive, Christian Purslow, and sporting director, Johan Lange,have collated a managerial shortlist which includes Amorim. They plan to whittle down their options in the next 48 hours with a view to appointing Gerrard’s replacement before next weekend’s game at Newcastle. Sawiris and Purslow were at Fulham on Thursday and given the result, performance and the reaction of supporters, who taunted Gerrard with a series of humiliating chants, the manager’s position was deemed untenable. Gerrard is thought to have known his fate at full-time.

Pochettino was Villa’s primary target but is thought to be holding out for a job that would allow him to continue to manage at the elite level after leaving Paris Saint-Germain. Villa had hoped they could tempt Pochettino with a lucrative contract but are thought to have been rebuffed after making an informal inquiry several weeks ago. Villa could offer a large financial package to Amorim, who earns about €3m (£2.6m) net a year, but it is unclear how willing he would be to sign up to a relegation battle. Pochettino has previously been courted by Manchester United and Real Madrid and is in no rush to return to management.

Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino, pictured here with PSG in March, is thought to have rebuffed an initial inquiry from Aston Villa week ago. Photograph: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

The Brentford head coach, Thomas Frank, has admirers within the Villa hierarchy, notably Lange, with whom he worked in Denmark at Lyngby, but feels he has “unfinished business” at the west London club, who are 10th, and is open to signing a new contract. Frank is one of the lowest-paid managers in the league but the club are keen to reward him for a hugely impressive 12 months in the Premier League and are highly confident of keeping him. Villa, who are a place above the relegation zone, host Brentford on Sunday.

Gerrard won four of his first six matches but struggled to win over supporters. A run of eight wins from 31 matches this calendar year provoked concern at board level and anger among the fanbase. Villa’s owners have spent about £400m on the squad since buying the club in 2018 but have seen little return. Gerrard was unfortunate that Diego Carlos and Boubacar Kamara, summer signings considered coups and players he hoped would push the team into the top half, suffered long-term injuries in the opening weeks but the permanent signing of Philippe Coutinho, with whom Gerrard played at Liverpool, has backfired. Emiliano Buendía, Danny Ings and Leon Bailey, the trio of players signed to replace Jack Grealish after he moved to Manchester City for £100m, which predated Gerrard’s arrival from Rangers, have underwhelmed.

Villa’s first-team coach, Aaron Danks, has been placed in interim charge, after the rest of Gerrard’s staff, including his assistants Gary McAllister and Neil Critchley, were also sacked. Danks, born in Birmingham, worked as an assistant to Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht and with England youth teams.

Villa hoped Gerrard, who signed a three-and-a-half year contract last November, would return Villa to European competition but Purslow said the club had to act after evaluating “results and performances over the calendar year”. He added that the “objective of continuous improvement” had not been achieved.

Jürgen Klopp said he had exchanged messages with the former Liverpool captain. “He will be back, 100%” the Liverpool manager said. “But now I hope he takes a bit of time as well because since he finished his [playing] career he is pretty much working all the time so maybe use it now a little bit for himself to recharge.”