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Arsenal 0 Newcastle United 1

Travelling to the game, none of us had any conviction in the prospects of Arsenal victory. In fact, Hon Jon went as far to predict an Arsenal defeat at the hands of Andy Carroll followed by a Chelsea victory. Why oh why did you give up being a bookie? I felt that since the win at City, Arsenal had begun to show that very unpleasant side to their game that one sees in this Arsenal team after a run of victories. Bertie Big Bo**ocks syndrome, winning a few games and thinking you`ve made it. It`s so disappointing that the team confirmed every single one of those fears today. The team selection didn`t look right to me from the start, leaving Arshavin on the bench in favour of Walcott looked an odd choice considering Newcastle were always going to get ten men behind the ball. I accept I am not privy to Arshavin`s health, but surely Rosicky would have been a better choice than a pace merchant who, in fairness to him, was never going to get any kind of space in behind the defence.

The first half was again a sluggish effort from the team, as most of our first halves have been of late. It took 15 minutes to muster an effort of any kind. Wilshere probed forwards and drew the foul from Coloccini 25 yards from goal. Fabregas clipped the free kick goalwards, which glanced Andy Carroll`s head and travelled onto the crossbar and out. It sparked the briefest of flurries for Arsenal, Cesc ran onto Song`s pass into the right channel, pirouetted past Coloccini and Williamson only to find his effort blocked by Enrique. From the resulting corner, Arsenal worked one of the very few clear cut chances they could muster when Fabregas cut the ball back for Nasri on the edge of the box, Nasri fired towards the top corner only for Tim Krul to acrobatically tip over. A soporific half looked to be crawling mercifully to an end when Newcastle provided a sting in the tail. Joey Barton floated a free kick into the area, with Koscielny underneath it Fabianski made a horrible decision to come for it, leaving Koscielny no choice but to leave it for his keeper. When you travel that far, you simply have to take the ball or else you leave the striker with an open goal. Fabianski made the wrong choice and having lost out to Carroll in the air, the ball trickled into the net. Had Fabianski stayed on his line, there is no way Carroll could have scored with a header from that range from a delivery with little pace on it.

That might just be the least amount of words I have ever used to describe an Arsenal first half in a home game. It was that poor. The passing was woeful, with Newcastle snapping at players` heels, the midfield almost seemed to delight in playing one another into trouble. Nasri, Walcott and Fabregas were having poor games, whilst the two decent passes Chamakh received in the whole game were laughably miscontrolled when a decent touch would have seen him through on goal. Arsenal at least begun the second half with some purpose and were unlucky not to equalise when Wilshere`s probing pass found Walcott in the right channel and he struck the cross bar with his effort. The Gunners seemed to offer little answer to the Magpies rearguard, but threatened when a low cross by Song missed Chamakh`s sliding boot by inches. But the home side did not maintain any impetus thereafter. Every midfield duel and aerial battle and loose ball was won by a black and white shirt. The problem is, Arsenal`s midfielders regard every tackle as a potential pass. That`s not always the correct decision, in a game like this, sometimes you have to make sure you win the tackle first before you think about your next move. Arsenal don`t seem to apply any intelligence to individual situations, they just try the same thing over and over again, which is why you see Clichy repeat the error of failing to clear his lines. It`s what the team are coached to do and they seem to lack the sophistication to regard individual situations on their merits. Sometimes you do need to clear your lines. Sometimes, you do need to put your foot in and make sure you win the tackle.

Arsene threw on Arshavin, around 58 minutes too late. To those that still wonder, Arshavin has played half an hour of the last two games and what have we created in the final third in those games? That`s why he`s still an automatic pick ladies and gentlemen. The manager then went with the peculiar move of throwing van Persie on, who has one training session to his name in three months, as a lone striker. Hmmmm. It only took a few more minutes to realise that he might need the presence of someone like Bendtner alongside him. Unfortunately, the rest of the team regarded Bendtner`s inclusion as an excuse to play twenty odd minutes of hoof ball. We were never going to get a result once that practise started. Coloccini and Williamson had a great time with unchallenged defensive headers for the last quarter of the game, something of a training session for them. Arshavin at least added some impetus in the final third, firstly when he closed down Simpson on the left, winning the ball and looking to cut it back for van Persie without success. When Arshavin looks your most hungry player in the tackle, you know something`s amiss.

It was Arshavin again who created the only other chance worth talking about, while others around look for the sideways pass struck at 0.000001mph, Arshavin powered his way past Danny Simpson and cut a cross back from the left, only for Fabregas to head straight at Krul. It is rare that the Gunners create so few chances worth discussing, but Newcastle defended in numbers and pressed us well. They pushed right up on our centre backs, which left either Fabianski, Squillaci or Koscielny with little option but to launch the ball high. Arsenal didn`t even manage their customary injury time flurry, save for being reduced to ten men when Nile Ranger latched onto Guitteriez`s pass and was wrestled to the floor by Koscielny. Mike Dean issued the red card which seemed harsh from my vantage point with Squillaci covering. I am not 100% sure one could call that a clear goalscoring opportunity as the rules dictate for a red card. Interestingly, the linesman gave the foul, not Mike Dean. Yet Dean did not consult with his assistant when deciphering whether it was a red card offence. It seems anomalous for a referee to defer to his assistant`s better position on one facet of a foul, but not on the punishment for the same incident. Still, the decision had no bearing on the result, but it does mean Koscielny misses two games as a result of this being his second red card of the season.

The final whistle was met with a crescendo of boos, a result made all the more frustrating by Chelsea`s loss a few hours later. It was a poor performance and it defies explanation that so many players could look so off the boil in the same game. All of a sudden, our home form is becoming a concern, given that we have few injuries upfront it is a real head scratcher that we are creating so little in home games. Resorting to long ball tactics so early in the game was a big disappointment, we didn`t have the subtlety to pull players out of position with our passing game and Newcastle`s pressing tactics really seemed to ruffle our feathers. Ultimately, we and Newcastle created one clear chance each and Newcastle scored theirs, so any suppositions that we were rampantly outplayed are misguided. But when you make defensive errors and gift teams goals, you make it harder for yourselves against teams as organised and committed as the Magpies. The triumph in the West Ham game wasn`t one of attacking ingenuity, it was that the defence did not make the error that gave the opposing side any impetus and make the task for the attacking third any harder. But what was truly disappointing was the amount of duels we lost in the midfield, every header won by a black shirt. Every misplaced pass by Newcastle, loose ball won by a black shirt. Every misplaced Arsenal pass, loose ball won by a black shirt. Arsenal did not appreciate the situation quickly enough and did not earn the right to play. Ergo, as we lugubriously trudged out of the ground, we knew we hadn`t earned the right for the points. The sense of complacency has been evident since the City win, I wrote in my match report for the Newcastle Carling Cup game that I detected a serious lack of professionalism that I felt we got away with and it`s been visible ever since. It seems to be worryingly endemic in this team in the last three years that every time they string some results together, Bertie Big Bo**ocks syndrome reappears and we start the cycle all over again. And so it begins again.LD.

21.FABIANSKI, 3.SAGNA, 18.SQUILLACI, 6.KOSCIELNY, 22.CLICHY, 17.SONG, 19.WILSHERE (52.Bendtner `72), 4.FABREGAS(c), 14.WALCOTT, 8.NASRI (23.Arshavin `58), 29.CHAMAKH (10.v.Persie `57). Unused: 7.Rosicky, 20.Djourou, 27.Eboue, 53.Szczesny.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday November 7 2010

Time: 9:02PM

Your Comments

Very worrying indeed. As I said in the forum, I don't think Fabianski is entirely to blame. I agree if he was gonna come out he has to claim it but...a) Chamakh should have tracked Carroll and at least attempted to get it away, you know, with his terrific spring and aerial presence, and b) Koscielny was somewhat obstructing the keeper. He made no real attempt to meet the ball and just got in Fabianski's way. Comical really from all three of them. I've already stated this but, because of my mood, it won't hurt to say it again: Wilshere was the only decent performer on the day. Cesc was really, really poor, but, contrary to some opinion, I don't think that was down to lack of committment. I'm sure LD will back me up when I say that had Bendtner put in the performance Chamakh did today, he would be crucified. It's a shame because I am/was really impressed with the start that the Moroccan made, but he appears to be suffering atm. Let's hope it's just a rough patch. Bringing on RvP so early showed desperation. I'd say we were lucky to get nil today. A wretched team performance. Three big wins against Wolves, Everton and, most importantly, the scum would just about make up for it. But I really can't see that happening.
Just thought I'd say Hi from the City Vital side of the fence. Don't forget its a marathon not a sprint one defeat in Europe and at home does not mean the sacking of the manager etc etc Been there Read more:
taggarts nose
Agree with you about the battle lost in midfield. Sometimes our lot don't appreciate the importance of winning 2nd ball. The number of times I've seen an Arsenal player rooted to his position while the ball trundles loose waiting for an opposition player to claim it. Its terrible stuff and I can't believe Wenger and Rice are not doing anything about it. Same for attacking a crossed ball. Why are we so rubbish at aerial play?
Wyn Mills
Fabianski messed up but the the defenders shouldn't let off the hook either for not putting pressure on Carroll. I also had a feeling about today, we haven't been truly free-flowing since the City game, and I felt Newcastle could punish us with their aerial threat and size. Newcastle didn't outplay us as such but they deserve credit for getting their tactics absolutely right. This was a textbook how to play agaisnt Arsenal performance. Which is very easy at the moment. Koscielny is starting to look a bit suspect from set pieces but I'm actually glad he took one for the team at the end, because a 2-0 scoreline would've been very harsh.
So Koscielny only misses two games? I didn't know that. So if he gets sent off for a third time will he only miss one game? And does anyone know when Vermaelen will be back? We've coped well without him for most of the season but his presence has been missed in the last couple of games.
A professional foul is a one match ban, but because this is Kos's second red card of the season, he gets two. I don't blame the defence for not putting pressure on Carroll. If the keeper is coming and gives you a call, it is your duty to get out of the way and let him catch it, otherwise you risk getting in his way. It was Fab's misjudgement. But he seemed to react well to it, he caught everything else and didn't look nervous in the 2nd half.
Little Dutch
I think that was as bad as i have seen Fabregas play in a few years. Clearly not fit, i would like to see what his pass rate precentage was today. Somewhere in the 60s i would imagine. I take it that Nasri was injured because it should of def been Fabregas making way
Nasri was injured, he picked up a knock in the first half and went straight down the tunnel. Cesc was poor, but no poorer than Nasri, Walcott or Chamakh.
Little Dutch
Fair enough LD, Fab has made the mistake his detractors have been looking for, now lets see how he reacts to this. Interestingly Wenger attributes this mistake to his newfound confidence. And I also don't think Arshavin was dropped as some people were suggesting today, we got a lot of games coming this week so I think he was being rested with those games in mind.
All season Cesc has had that look on his face like he doesn't want to be there iwearing our shirt. I say he can f*k off to Barca and let us get on with it if he is going to keep on playing like this.
Here we go...
Was Wilshere's against Brum not a professional foul then, LD? Because he got a three match ban. I was under the assumption that two yellows is a one match ban (which Koscielny served against Blackpool) and a straight red was three...
Its only been the last 2 games as he has been suffering with a groin injury. H
A few things I want to say... Firstly, Cesc was the worst player on the pitch by a street. If he isn't fit, don't play him, simple. We have a squad that is more than capable of filling in (rosicky and arshavin). The worrying thing for me with Cesc was that he just didn't look that interested. Secondly, Tioté showed us what having a dynamic holding midfielder can do for you. I've seen him a few times and he looks like an excellent signing. Song has neither the discipline nor the pace to play in that position (probably explaining the fact that he's been wandering further and further upfield). The reason we didn't dominate that second half as we should've was that our defensive midfielder decided to go and sit behind the striker. If Koscielny had just abandoned his position and completely relinquished all defensive duties, we would've been screaming about it. I just can't understand why he thinks that being 1-0 down is an excuse to do this. In order to score, we need the ball. Song should be the number 1 player that helps us win the ball back in these situations. Instead he's off up front trying to be Djibril Cissé. Thirdly, the goal. Yes it was Fabianski's error, but when a defender (focusing mainly on Sagna and Squillaci here) sees a keeper coming off the line for a cross, his first reaction should be to cover the empty line. It's so simple it is painful. They just stood there, marking no one, and only re-acted rather than pre-empted. Fourthly and lastly, Wenger saying we were unlucky. Well yes, statistically that's correct, but there wasn't a single thing right with that performance (apart from i must admit Arshavin when he came on) and it has happened AGAIN AND AGAIN LD, exactly as you say. We get one good result and suddenly ease off completely. It's pathetic. I boo'ed at the end for I think only the second time in my footballing life, just because I don't know how many times I have to see the same performance before something changes... Disgusted.
I 100% disagree Will. The problem with him at the moment is that he is off form. Not surprising considering he's been troubled by a constant hamstring injury. We expect perfection from Cesc. Henry, Vieira Bergkamp and all the legends I have seen have all had far more off days than Cesc has had and we just need to accept he is human and he will have a poor spell. He still gave 100% in the second half chasing down everything and fighting for every ball. His passing wasn't coming off and you could see he was very frustrated and uncharacterstically blamed Bendtner for a bad pass he made himself. He also swiped at Gutierez towards the end. Cesc is a winner and he hates losing more than any other player on that pitch today.
LD, that what made this performance even more disappointing... I traveled 3500 miles across the Atlantic to see THIS load of codswallop??? I should have stayed home! When you only get to see one live match per year, the least you could hope is that the team puts in an effort, but the boys just were not at the races today. And being seated next to the Geordies made it that much worse. Our support is pathetic, it was as pathetic as the team today (does one cause the other?). I know the away supporters are often louder than the home support these days, but I really hoped for much better. "No noise from the cockney boys". That summed up the day both for the team and the support. We'd better raise our game for Wolves on Wednesday or we're going to be fighting for 4th all too soon.
Amerigooner, I'm not gonna lie, the home support is rarely very good. But you're right, performance and vocal support go hand in hand. If the boys put on a limp display like they did this afternoon, the crowd aren't going to really get behind them. But if they come flying out the blocks, the fans begin to make some noise and then the players' performances increase further. Of course we should support the boys, and I try to be as positive as I can, but you can understand a poor atmosphere at games like this.
Amerigooner - lack of noise pretty simple to explain. For early kick-offs, all the noise-makers in the stadium have been out the night before and are still nursing hangovers. Plus, when the football is that bad, what are we meant to be cheering exactly? I mean you know you're getting desperate when you start chanting Sagna's name for shepherding out a goal kick!
I'm not sure Wenger believes in marking players. There is a very technical, almost robotic nature to the way we play sometimes which for any opposition manager, who takes the time to study our play, makes us quite predictable. You could see almost from the first 5 minutes that Newcastle had done their homework.
Wyn Mills
That sending off was ridiculous imo, at the time the free kick was given Kos was the one actually getting fouled.
So does this mean, we can concentrate on the cups and start putting in half decent teams for the FA cup games?
Some credit has to go to the Away side today: confident display by the midfileders and focused defending by the team. It was little wonder they seemed to always win the 2nd ball and hassled our players to no end, thus forcing Cesc into not a few errors and misplaced passes. Of course, we could have done better, especially after 'resting' players for the midweek game, preparatory to this game. But can that be down to complacency? I doubt it. I'll rather take the view that we met a side that had their tactics right.

The lads must put this behind them quickly and get a good run of games from here. With the FIFA free day coming, we can only hope that things don't get worse in the injuries department. It is easy to see what LD has persisted in stating; Arshavin should be a starter as he is always looking to create something and is always a dangerous man to play against. No way should Theo have started this game (seriously; not a case of hindsight here) when their left FB seemed to have plenty of pace himself. Theo would have been more effective as a sub and the choice to start him counts as a tactical error on the manager's part, perhaps yielding to the "popular" view that Arshavin is lazy. @Sajit, I've got to say the cups look to be our best bet for any silverware and we should take them all very seriously. Maybe, the confidence built up from a winning habit in those games could just propel the team forward in the PL, where we cannot write off our chances yet afterall, the sides that have beaten us can, on a good day, beat our rivals as well.
....and that goal was down to a GK error. Fabianski should go for the punch there. He may have misjudged Carrol's aerial strength and gone for a catch, having given his defenders a shout. Hope he learns from this and quit making these school boy errors. As usual, he has not let it faze him as he didn't look jittery, thereafter.
Hmmm most of the comments apart from those saying Ces was not trying I concur but IMO it started back at the Shakhatar games. Once we are winning keep winning, keep the best team together. Of course we must rotate but minimal. Not a stats man but Amos when we were winning cups and the EPL how much was the team changed about. As for Toons all they are adopting is the George Graham policy get a goal and shut up shop.
It is a recurring nightmare to all of us. Just when things are getting better, they get worse. Just when you thought the old poor habit was gone, it never went away. When a keeper leaves the 6 yard box for a high ball, claim it, punch it with your life. Not a pair of wishy washy butter hands please! And agree that if Cesc was not ready to play, bench him.
Cesc didn't play well, but to say he was our worst player or that he wasn't trying is pathetic and bull*****. Just because he gave Barca some thought this summer, stop acting like such children/ scorned lovers and take everything that goes wrong out on him. It's pathetic.
Little Dutch
To clarify, in what was a bad performance by Cesc's standards and by the team's standards, Cesc hit the bar, had a header in the second half and teed up Nasri for that chancwe in the 1st half. He still did more than most, so please stop with all this pre conceived, "we should just sell him, innit" idiocy.
Little Dutch
Just watched a replay, for me, Chamahk was the cause our possession didn't turn into goals. Great start to the season, and he's gonna have down games over the course, but he was slow in thought and slow in deed. Fabregas, Nasri and Walcott were all in great positions at various times, just needing a good run.
Whichever way you look at it Flappy should be getting off the ground and punching the ball away from Carroll's head. A top class keeper would be doing that, no question. For me he's a good keeper, but not world class.
Wyn Mills
A few points. 1. Yes, Cesc had an off-day, but he still did more than most and can't be expected to do it every game. 2. Our home support is, indeed, an embarrasment at times with their lack of support. The first time Fabianski caught the ball after his mistake there were loud ironic cheers. Seriously, turning on your own players is going to achieve what exactly? 3. Some of the positions Theo took up gave Sagna no real options. He still doesn't really know how to play as a right-side midfielder/winger. Plus he still puts his head down and literally runs into the opposition. 4. We're nearly always going to play teams that come and get 11 players behind the ball. Yes, we need to show patience, but there also needs to be a different way of trying to get a goal than something off the back of a 25-pass move. 5. I'm beginning to lose my belief that Arsene is going to ever win the PL or CL with this current team. Just always feels like groundhog day.
It doesn't matter if the linesman called the foul rather than the ref. The ref judged that because of the foul the linesman flagged for that he had denied the goal scoring opportunity, so off he went.
But Arsenal had a covering defender. I realise it's debatable how well covered Koscielny was, but it's debatable nonetheless. It seems odd that a ref can concede that the lino is better placed to call whether it's a foul, but doesn't think he's better placed to judge whether it was a clear goalscoring opportunity. For my money, the ref should at least consult with his lino there.
Little Dutch
I dunno LD, at the time of contact the defender inside wasn't in a position to cover imo. Perhaps Dean wasn't in a position to see the tug on the Newcastle player, so the linesman flagged, but was in a position to see how much cover Arsenal had inside.
I'm beginning to lose my belief that Arsene is going to ever win the PL or CL with this current team. Just always feels like groundhog day Gooner_Vin - Maybe it's not the team, maybe it's the manager mate?
Most teams come to Arsenal and “park the bus” and it’s been happening for years. Play becomes compressed in and around the opposition’s penalty area and we have to pick our way through and bide our time. But unless everybody is pumped up and playing with pace everything comes to a grinding halt, especially when so many players have a bad day. Only Wilshere played anywhere near what he is capable of (and Arshavin when he came on) so any errors such as Fabianski’s is made to look ten times worse because we were so impotent up front. Perhaps it all comes down to work rate with and without the ball (I’m not talking about willingness and desire here). When we’re in possession, movement gives the player on the ball options and creates space. All too often yesterday players took far too long in deciding what to do with the ball and this is symptomatic of a lack of options. It was easy for Newcastle to maintain their shape and kept us out fairly comfortably. Without the ball we didn’t press and compete enough. Worryingly this is all basic stuff, we all know it, but it is a theme that has run through the last few years, certainly the last few games. We have great flair players with a high technical ability but maybe not the work rate. LD alluded to intelligence without the ability to adapt to individual circumstances and there might be something in the lack of work-rate in the mind as well.
Sir Henry
The red card has been appealed. After watching it again it looks like the decision was a bit harsh. But I remember my friend who was sat next to me said "its red" when Dean blew the whistle. The FA probably won't overturn it but It's worth a shot.
If the FA doesn't overturn the red card, won't that mean an additional game ban? May not be worth the shot, if so.
One of the things that disappointed me most again was the quality of our crosses. When a team plays deep and defends in numbers like Newcastle did, the only way through sometimes is long range shooting or crosses in to the box. Our crosses from open play and set pieces were really poor from pretty much every player. We had several different corner takers but they were all rubbish. Our crosses from open play rarely gets past the first man.
I agree with LD on the Cesc issue. He had a poor game by his standards. For most other midfield players he would have been considered to have had a very good match. One criticism I would make of him at the moment is that he seems to be taking longer to deliver some of his " routine passes " and is slowing down the team's ball movement and thus the attacking momentum.
2 red cards for Koscielny this season, and both were overly harsh, just as Song's earlier red was harsh. When other supporters complain about our disciplinary record, they need to look deeper than simply the number of red cards, because we are getting ultra-soft reds while the likes of De Jong and Terry get away with far worse.
And Chamakh needs to learn how to take a fecking shot sometimes. Creating chances for others is all well and good, but you'd think it'd occur to him that putting his foot through the ball when open might actually lead to a goal. He only seems to shoot when he has no other option.
krimson - how many bad tackles have you seen De Jong making this year?
Bluedub - more than Koscielny.
Bluedub, NDJ has broken two legs and three ribs this year alone. That is a fact. This does not even include the other bad tackles. Only a City fan can defend him. Take a cue from all opposition fans uniting in their opinion on De Jong.
LG, another manager? There are 'sunk costs' with AW as our manager. We play in a particular style with particular kind of players playing in a particular way. AW will find it easier to make some adjustments and make this a title winning team than a new manager coming in and implementing a totally new system.
No Delta, there were plenty non City fans that defended him also, just didn't shout the loudest. Tbh he's no worse than Wilshere in terms of ferocity of tackling. As for Wenger, I can understand why some would question his position. I'm not saying you should get rid, but does itnot frustrate you that he has never replaced Vieira? I admire his stance in the transfer market, but he has spent money in other areas of the team, yet never adresses this major weakness. Why? Stubborness?
No Delta, there were plenty non City fans that defended him also, just didn't shout the loudest. Tbh he's no worse than Wilshere in terms of ferocity of tackling. As for Wenger, I can understand why some would question his position. I'm not saying you should get rid, but does itnot frustrate you that he has never replaced Vieira? I admire his stance in the transfer market, but he has spent money in other areas of the team, yet never adresses this major weakness. Why? Stubborness?
Vieira was replaced by Fabregas in the team Blue dub. We had to implement a different system in our team because Fab is a different kind of player but he was the reason AW let Vieira leave. In any case replacing Vieira with a like for like player was impossible at the time because Vieira was one of a kind. Regarding NDJ, lets disagree because you cant name any one fan on vital who defended him. To break a leg once may be an accident but twice and then thrice speaks of something. His record and reputation now precede him. Wilshere has not put a fellow professional out of the game. NDJ has - on multiple occasions. Case closed as far as I am concerened so lets agree to disagree.
I can name other non City supporting Vital members that defended De Jong, but can't be bothered, they were there if you read through posts though. Fair enough we'll agree to disagree, I just think it's a shame De Jong has been labelled a thug, it will happen to Wilshere in time also, so I guess it's part of how the game us changing. On the Vieira issue, perhaps there was no one at the time of his departure but there has been plenty available since to give you that steel you lack in the middle, maybe Wilshere will be the answer. The reason I bring this up is because I read a stat regarding Arsenal finishing in the top two in 8 out of Vieira's 9 seasons, yet they have failed to do that before he joined or after he left.
I think his departure coinciding with the £650m outlay for a new stadium might have summat to do with it, plus a certain Roman Abramovic arriving?
Little Dutch
I accept that LD, but like I said in a previous post he addressed other weaknesses in the team by spending, yet failed to address what has seemed over the past few years your most obvious weakness.

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