Arsenal v Sunderland – yet another must win game…

Not to tempt fate but the stats would indicate that we are due an relatively easy win today. Mr Wenger has been voted Manager of the Month following a 10 match unbeaten League run and Steve Bruce’s Sunderland have managed just one win since early January. Add into this the fact that Sunderland have not beaten Arsenal in London in 28 years and we can reason to be optimistic. But ……..

this Arsenal team are prone to erratic performances and this season have seen long, unbroken runs fall aplenty (Spurs/WBA/Newcastle).

It should be noted that we have won only one out of the previous 5 meetings with Sunderland. W1,D3,L1

Sunderland’s sudden fall down the table has been surprising. The loss of Bent was a blow but they still have decent strikers and a very strong team ethic. It should be recalled that Muntari cost Inter €18m before his loan to Sunderland, and Henderson looks a fantastic prospect. A central defence of Ferdinand, Mensah and Bramble will be strong at set pieces both defensively and offensively. Gyan looks a fine, aggressive striker, had we signed him and not Chamakh ….

The huge win by the B team on Wednesday will be a major confidence booster, in particular to our strikers., not that our Nik needs such assistance! Nik has his detractors and I guess with a style such as his he will continue to split opinions. One can only look at his record of late and be impressed – 9 goals and 6 assists from a season which started with an extended injury lay-off is very impressive.

Much has been written of Chamakh in the past few days. I feel he is seriously lacking in confidence which is an indictment of the coaching staff.  A striker has to be confident, he has to be instinctive and feel secure in his approach, if not he hesitates and we all  know what happens to he who hesitates! I would like to see him on the bench today, but expect AW to continue with playing Nik out right. To be fair, it was starting to work v Orient, with both strikers finding themselves in the box simultaneously, more of the same please.

Could we see Ramsey start? I would be surprised but he will receive a warm welcome on his return when he comes on  as sub.

My team:

I would be tempted to play Rosicky ahead of Diaby but recovery from concussion is an uncertain business and I doubt we will risk him. Diaby has his detractors (BR for one) but when on form he is a superb player. He has to rise to the occasion for the run in or be sold in summer. Arsenal cannot afford to carry players with such a large squad. Fortunately for Diaby, Mr Wenger really rates him, as does the French National manager (Blanc). It is time for him to show why.

If I were Arsenal manager (we would be in the Isthmian League!) I would play both Nasri and Arshavin with either one of them playing behind the main striker and regularly switching wings.

Sunderland appears to have no links to the world of heavy metal. Bryan Ferry is a Mackem as is Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.

This is a game which must be won. We can move within a point of Man Utd who have a tough assignment tomorrow.


Written by BigRaddy

173 Responses to Arsenal v Sunderland – yet another must win game…

  1. Big Raddy says:

    RAsp. Strange … I had added a sentence or two which don’t appear in the post. Must have done them whilst you were editing.

    It should be noted that we have won only one out of the previous 5 meetings with Sunderland. W1,D3,L1.

    Or should we continue with the music talk?

  2. mickydidit89 says:

    BR and GM,
    Just to say on your last two comments on yesterday. Wow and Wow!

  3. mickydidit89 says:

    On form as ever.
    I think you will get 11/11 today, however I say that with deep regret. I hate the midfield of Den JW and Diaby.
    I would go:
    Back 5
    Den Nasri JW
    Whoever Nik AA

  4. mickydidit89 says:

    *whoever probably denotes TR, but I just cannot say it!

  5. Rasp says:

    Morning Raddy, I’ve inserted the sentence although I’m not sure where you wanted it to come in the text.

    This is just the sort of game that we might have slipped up in the last few years. I’d settle for a scrappy one nil if that’s what it takes.

  6. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. When I do the teams they are the teams I would like to see, not the expected AW selection.

    Had Ramsey been further along in his rehabilitation he would start ahead of Denilson every time. But I think he needs a gentle introduction against a tiring team.

    I expect AW to stat with a frontline of NB, MC and AA, giving Samir a bench spot.

    We shall see …

  7. goonermichael says:

    They need to be really focused today. As Rasp says we used to slip up with this type of game. I think our worse trait this year has been complacency. After the CC final I doubt if they’ll be complacent. 3 points would really put some pressure on the mancs.

  8. mickydidit89 says:

    I suspect you may be right about AW’s front three, which again I disagree with as it does not bring out the best in NB. The thought of not starting Nasri fills me with horror, quite apart from the fact that for me he is a must central.

  9. Morning all

    Sorry I’m late, I had a pc glitch this morning and missed all the early music chat.

    I’m so pleased Dazza doesn’t play for Sunderland anymore, it must be hard being a gooner and playing against us. They have dropped a lot of points since he left and I don’t expect them to go home with any today.

    I’m looking to Nik to have another MOTM moment. I’m warning you now GiE I do a lot of cheering for him 😉

  10. mickydidit89 says:

    What is a politically correct glitch?

  11. micky – I’m with you on Nasri, I think he’s going to be really important on Tuesday and should start today. We’ve seen before that players are slow out of the blocks when they’re given a rest.

  12. Urmmmmmmnnnnnn 😳

  13. barumgooner says:

    morning all.

    Another fine read BR. Only thing I have to question is the comment about bying Gyan instead of Chamakh ? Personnally I think Cham is class and is just a bit low from seeing rvp take his place so effectively. With Robin having yet another layoff this should be his opportunity to shine. imo both him and Nik B are very under-valued players who will have a major impact on the rest of the season.

  14. mickydidit89 says:

    If I really had to choose, I would take the win today rather than tuesday. So, Nasri must start today (and central) for that reason. As GM says, a victory today, and the pressure really piles up on a Vidic/Rioless defence against Pool on sunday.

  15. barumgooner says:

    I definately agree that Diaby and indeed Rosicky need to be thinking of their futures in the summer unless they do something spectacular in the coming weeks. With Jack, Ramsay, Lansbury and JET all banging on the door the competition for the midfield places is going to be very tough next season.

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Barum. Just a passing thought about Gyan. We tend to buy players “glide” whereas Gyan is more a battering ram!

    Unlike you I have yet to be convinced about Chamakh. I don’t understand what role AW had for him when he was purchased. AW waited a long time for his man, therefore he must have expected MC to take a pivotal role in this team. On the left alongside RvP? We haven’t seen him there. As Central striker? It is not his natural role as evidenced by his lack of the poachers instinct.

    What do you think?

  17. goonermichael says:

    Chamakh carried us a bit at the start of the season. If he hadn’t done it at the beginning but did it at the end instead he’d obviously be a hero. I think he can do it again if RVP is out for a while.

  18. Big Raddy says:

    GM. Let it be so 🙂

  19. mickydidit89 says:

    Although you are not asking me, here’s my diagnosis. AW has made a mistake! For me, MC is a natural in a 4-4-2 alongside Ian Wright, but is a square peg in our system. You could argue that he is here to add an optional dimension in the air, but seeing as we have no-one who crosses the ball with pin point accuracy it all appears a bit pointless. My hope is that he becomes a whole lot more selfish in front of goal and then, who knows, maybe.

  20. Rasp says:

    I agree with Micky. Chamakh is not a striker. DB was the perfect No.10 but then he had Ian Wright and Henry to play with. Is Chamakh a No. 10 – not at the moment. We scored un-Arsenal like goals at the start of the season thanks to Chamakh’s aerial ability. It is a matter of record that Chamakh has said that he’s having trouble adjusting to the pace and physicality …. and he misses his Winter break. well he’s had one.

    This is not a time for us to heap sympathy on him. He needs to find his mettle and start really battling for the side by putting himself in the firing line and not being afraid of attempting chances. I haven’t seen him beat a player since last year. Either he lacks confidence in his ability to turn a defender or perhaps we’ve coached him in that way.

  21. Harry says:

    Morning all, as you rightly say Rads, another must win game, cannot afford to drip feed any confidence to the Manks for tomorrow, we need them going there with us firmly sitting on their shoulders……

    Not sure I agree with your line up, but you probably be closer than me to Arsene’s line up…..

    I still would prefer to see clichy push forward ahead of Gibbs to give us the extra pace down both sides.

    And for me Nasri has to sit alongside Jack, their interchange play is excellent and will control the midfield and dictate the forward play.

    I understand the confusion about MC, my little boy was watching clips of him for Bordeaux last night and was pointing out all the good goals he scored there and asked why he hasnt done that for us….

    I think we all agree his confidence level dropped on RVP’s return, suddenly there was quality competition for a place and he thought, damn that robin is special…

    He just needs to focus and start been greedy in front of goal, even the goal against Orient didnt boost him that much.

    I think he should start on the bench and then come on with 30 to go as a direct replacement for Nik…. Play them both as central strikers, like for like and in the position that best suits them…..

    But apart from meeting up with the guys and peaches at the Tavern, the thing I am most looking forward to today is the return of the welsh wizard, Aaron Ramsey, definitely should be on the bench and then give him 30mins, what a reception he will get, a world class talent in waiting………

    See whoever meets in the tavern………

    Oh to be oh to be a Gooner……

    Todays prediction:

    Arsenal 3 Sunderland 1

    With Ramsey scoring the 3rd…………

  22. kelsey – if you’re about I’ve updated the ‘onlinefooty’ for you and others 😉

    Actually kelsey is probably out playing bowls so if he pops on later can one of you tell him the above.

  23. Red Arse says:

    Nice one BR, even with the Rasper trying to sabotage your sentence. 🙂

    I understand the scepticism expressed regarding Diaby, however, please forgive me if I totally disagree with those who doubt his worth.

    It is acknowledged within the club, by both players, coaches and management, that Diaby is probably the most technically gifted of our players, as well as having a superb physique.

    I will admit that his biggest failing is his so called inconsistency.
    In fact, the problem is quite straightforward, he simply does not play enough consecutive games.
    Ever since he joined us he has suffered one injury after another and that means he is never part of a settled team and this leads to some poor decision making by him because he and his team mates are not on the same wavelength.

    The solution? Well the finger should be pointed at our medical/physio team, who since we lost Gary Lewin to the FA have been a bit shambolic in ensuring our players are fit and don’t suffer relapses.

    Dumping Diaby would be akin to getting rid of a Ferrari because it did not start well. Solution? Get the bloody thing fixed by specialist mechanics!

  24. barumgooner says:

    Hello BR.

    I can see what you mean about MC, he is a little lost in our system. We dont really play with a target man and often the striker only seems to be there to create room for the midfielders. What i like about the guy though is his work rate, he comes deep to help win back the ball and to me is more an Alan Smith type than a wrighty. Personaly I’d love to see him play with Walcott in front of him.

  25. Red Arse says:

    As regards Chamakh, Micky is right, I did not ask him, but he is absolutely spot on with his assessment. 🙂

    At the beginning of the season he played well and scored important goals for us. But that was at a time when when, I think, Theo was going great guns and balls were being played to him from great crosses.

    Theo also suffers the Diaby injury trots, and the result is Chammy looks like an extra who has accidently strayed onto a major movie set.

    Vermalen, Diaby, Theo, RVP, Cesc ……Injuries …. Medical staff…… are we seeing a common thread emerging?

  26. Big Raddy says:

    RA, I like the Ferrari metaphor. Had me thinking … “what comes into my mind when I see a Ferrari?”. Well it is that it is a fab car but I would never want the trouble of owning one because they always break down!!

  27. Big Raddy says:

    Harry. My spirit will be with you in the Tavern (I think I am in Peaches pocket!!)

  28. barumgooner says:

    RA. I have to disagree. IF Diaby is a Ferrari then not starting is just one of its problems, on the rare occasions that it gets a run the electrics are all screwed up.

  29. dandan says:

    Nice one BR. as ever,
    Personally I would play Diaby ahead of Thomas every time, in fact I believe it is he who will go at season end. Clever small midfielders we have by the sackful. AA, Clichy and Sagna are all capable of a decent cross and with combinations of Chamak, Bendy and Diaby in the box adds that plan b to our play that so many bemoan the lack off

  30. barumgooner says:

    I do agree about the medical staff though. Obviously I am no expert but we do seem to have more of our fair share of recurring minor injuries and the failure to diagnose how serious problems actually are. re TV and RVP ( 3-6 weeks turing into months)

  31. Big Raddy says:

    Good point DD.

  32. Red Arse says:


    It’s Ok to disagree, it happens to me quite a lot! 🙂

    My original point still holds, you don’t get rid of a valuable asset, Ferrari or otherwise, because something incidental is not working properly.

    Fix it, don’t dump it would be my remedy.

    Anyway our medical boys are starting to build an unfortunate reputation.

    Raddy, if you don’t want your Ferrari because it keeps breaking down, can I have it? 🙂

  33. Gooner in Exile says:

    Morning all, you and I can be lone voices in our support of NikB Peaches.

    Good pre match Raddy, certainly cant afford to be thinking about Tuesday, fans or players. I hope we get no injuries today, as the effect of Cesc injury against Stoke was definitely seen in the team and quietened the ground.

    I don’t expect AW expected to use MC so much at the start of this season and in fact was probably acquired as a squad player for this year to acclimatise and blend with the squad.

    Perhaps he is seen as a fulcrum for others to play off rather than all out goal getter, but he so often drifts out wide that this is not a job he does.

    Anyway train left on time so will go to Internet silence to preserve the iPhone battery and save it for podcasts/music to drown out the impromptu French lesson ongoing in my carriage!

  34. Red Arse says:


    Brook Benton, eh? We are beginning to morph together!

    Unfortunately, I could not get anywhere with Sisele (?) as my screen simply shows a blank square with a red cross at the top. (Same with all the other musical references later in the evening).

    Any idea how to fix the Ferrari …. sorry screen, before Barum tells me to throw my PC away? 🙂

  35. Red Arse says:

    Here’s a couple of philosophical thoughts that I sometimes muse on. 🙂

    (1) I like long walks,
    especially when they are taken
    by those people who annoy me.

    (2) When I am older, the only reason I would take up walking is so that I could hear the sound of heavy breathing again.

  36. barumgooner says:

    haha. I wouldn’t advise you throw it away RA. Just sell it for a good price and get a better more reliable one.

  37. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. YOu have never read a bad word about Nik from me, quite the contrary.

    RA. I don’t even have a car, Bicycle only ! But if I had a car (and I have had some really fancy one’s over the years) it would be an Aston Martin. Beautiful and reliable or on of those new Jags would be nice.

    Ferrari’s are for for those people who need to have …… you know the stuff;-)

  38. Gooner in Exile says:

    Raddy I meant in the ground this afternoon as in the main NikB is under appreciated by the faithful.

  39. Big Raddy says:

    RA. A grand will buy you a top Mac. The Aston Martin of the computer world.

    Or €400 will get you an HP/Toshiba laptop. The Ford Focus of computers.

    Value or Worth?

  40. harry says:

    nice one BR will check peaches pocket!!!

  41. Evonne says:

    Big Raddy – I cycle a lot, in N14; where are you based? I have an old-fashioned bike with Arsenal logo on the basket

  42. harry says:

    GIE, i always support b52, i led a super rendition of super nik on wed night:……….

  43. Gooner in Exile says:

    The value is in the Mac Raddy, the time I’ve saved booting my iMac and MacBook since switching is probably half hour a day minimum!

    Worth is obviously in the Mac too.

    In fact my advice to anyone not using a Mac is buy a Mac! Even a two year old iMac I have has shown no sign of slowdown and haven’t had to even think about reinstalling the OS.

  44. dandan says:

    RA am no great computer expert, I would do it the lazy way, go direct to youtube and enter the name in you want to watch.Actually I was surprised not to get a comment from Big Raddy Re Sissel given her nationality 🙂

  45. London says:

    Great read BR

    I could have sworn Brian Ferry was a Jordie, oh well, we live and learn.

    I like GM’s comment on Chamakh at 10.59……..good positive view.

    Personally, I think Wenger is in the middle of rebuilding him. The pattern is almost always the same: they arrive and are allowed to play their natural game which gets them so far, then they dip as they realise more is needed and that more, through the eyes of Wenger, is the ability to defend. The list of players Wenger has insisted learn this is long, the current works in progress are Walcott and Arshavin; Nasri and Cesc have already been through it as has Wilshere. I expect to have a fully functioning Chamakh mark 2 in the not too distant future.

  46. Gooner in Exile says:

    “Hello my names GiE, I’m an AAblogger and I like Nik Bendtner”

  47. ryandanielwood says:

    Afternoon AA’ers

    Great Pre match write up BR. Diaby can be world class, I think it is quite evidential when all of his injuries are brought up, and his inconsistency of landing starts in the first team, can be forgotten almost instantly with some wonderful displays, the 0’s at one point were at 6’s and 7’s trying to stop his dancing feet, it was a breath of fresh air to see someone taking the scruff of the neck in the centre of midfield since Cesc’s absence…

    Chammy is a different case, there are no injuries I can think as a point to why it hasn’t happened for him on a larger scale this season. I agree that if his form from the opening weeks were happening now he’d be a hero. But it’s not as if he is getting an Eboue-esque reception at this time. I agree with Barum Gooner to see Walcott just ahead of him would be a prospect. And a chance to make another speculative assessment of Walcotts centre forward qualities.

    I’m popping out to film a live video performance of my band today, so I’ll be around later.

  48. harry says:

    the ferrari just needs a fine tune, and reset the on board computer……….

  49. dandan says:

    GIE are they not Radically different from a standard Lap/Desk PC operating system and therefor maybe not so easy to use without guidance from one who knows.

  50. Gooner in Exile says:

    They are different DanDan but are in fact just easier to use and more intuitive, and I believe if you buy one from Apple store they will give you an hour switch from PC genius appointment and transfer your data for you.

    I taught myself quite easily with very little previous experience.

  51. goonermichael says:

    a grand would get you a much better sony viao than a mac. The injuries to RVP and Theo are impact injuries so I don’t think it is the medical staff. Pulling hamstrings like Cesc seems to probably is though.

  52. goonermichael says:

    Bryan Ferry is from Washington same as sting. Both English teachers too apparently.

  53. goonermichael says:

    Of all the things that are wrong with football they’ve banned snoods.

  54. goonermichael says:

    I hope Vela gives the bluenoses some grief today.

  55. goonermichael says:

    Looks like I’m on my own

  56. Gooner in Exile says:

    GoonerM admittedly a grand would buy you a nice Vaio, but unless you’re running Ubuntu or Linux it will still be a Windows PC and therefore a bit poo!

    Every gb of ram on a mac is equivalent to 3-4gb on a windows machine such is the beauty of the underlying OS.

  57. London says:


    Where is Washington? And are snoods really banned?

  58. 26may1989 says:

    Interesting, I don’t think I disagree with Raddy very often but I do on both Diaby and Chamakh.

    The Diaby ship has sailed for me. He’s got ability in spades but is mentally lacking. He more than any other player after Almunia should move on, for his own good and since we have better options.

    Chamakh on the other hand has, I think, plenty to offer. His first 4-5 months were great, and he’ll recover that form. We shouldn’t underestimate the stress involved in moving country and into an entirely different daily environment. No one else in the squad holds the ball up as well as Chamakh and he gives us an option and a dimension we just didn’t have before. I don’t see how his low confidence can be put down to the coaches – confidence is an intensely personal thing, others can help but in the end it comes and goes for reasons beyond the control of third parties.

    I’m confident the boys will do well today. If there’s any silver lining to last Sunday, it’s to help give the players real motivation and avoid complacency. As for line ups, I’ve got a sneaky feeling we will see the Clichy-Gibbs combo that Harry suggested, with Diaby in midfield and Bendtner up front.

    And then it’ll be Liverpool tomorrow….

  59. goonermichael says:

    That’s all it is though a superior OS. They take the piss as far as pricing goes and making you do everything through them. I’m happy with my PC, I haven’t had to reinstall for well over a year and I haven’t had a virus for as long as I can remember. And it was a dirt cheap HP.

  60. goonermichael says:

    Washington is near Newcastle and snoods are banned from July 1st according to the BBC.

  61. Red Arse says:

    Not really a techie …… well not any sort of techie.

    I need a PC for my work, and the only limitation with my hardware/software is me! 🙂

    My current laptop is a Sony Vaio with an Intel i7 chip with 64K software, and is superb.

    The Mac has a good reputation, and I am sure it is very good too.

    What is not too clever and needs to speed up is …….. me, again! 🙂

  62. Evonne says:

    Red Arse – what work do you do? I am a programmer and Macs and iPads are not for me, too easy 🙂 I might be able to help….

  63. Big Raddy says:

    BTW Ferry was born in Sunderland because Washington is a suburb of The City of Sunderland!

    I have both a Mac desktop and an HP laptop. Had I been less mean with myself, I would have bought a Macbook.

    I switched to MAc’s 2 years ago because I am hopeless with computers. It is a dream to use and very very simple once one gets over the learning curve (less than a week in my case).

    Evonne. I live in Copenhagen Denmark

  64. mickydidit89 says:

    Take GM’s advice, and like myself, go Sony. Say “no” to iphone and go Android. HTC is far superior, oh, and infinately less “common” if you are image concious!

  65. mickydidit89 says:

    I am very nervous about this afternoon. Blood Pressure at 160/100. Can only be lowered with reassuring team news.

  66. goonermichael says:

    I’ve got an HTC too Micky htc the clash spooky 🙂

  67. goonermichael says:

    the bluebottles are losing. Vela not on yet though

  68. mickydidit89 says:

    The only reason I am not being rude about Mac users is because you are here!!! Its a respect thing 🙂

  69. mickydidit89 says:

    “Style”. Something you cannot teach!
    Off out to take penalties against my son for twenty minutes. Back for team news.

  70. Red Arse says:


    My 1:19, I have a Sony Vaio. 🙂

    Evonne, thanks for the offer, I will certainly know to ask you when I get stuck! 🙂

    Don’t have any problems with my laptop to be honest, it’s just my general lack of brainpower, or an inaptitude for computers.

    Yesterday, Dandan, Rasp and BR were sending each other musical references, but my screen just displayed a bordered square with a red x at the top left.

    It’s probably a block caused by my McAfee software, but that is possibly wrong diagnosis and is the extent of my inadequate knowledge! You see, I am dopey. 🙂

    By profession, I am an accountant/consultant, specialising in tax, which sadly I like more than I should publicly admit to. 🙂

  71. Big Raddy says:

    Micky Respect. One can lead a horse to water …..

  72. Big Raddy says:

    Team announced 11/11. Maybe AW does read the blog 😉

  73. Red Arse says:

    Good call on team selection Raddy. AW just does not want to rely on Chammy, but then Bendy did well last time out so he could not drop him and Bendy and Chammy just do not work well together.

    West Brom won 1:3 can you believe it!

  74. mickydidit89 says:

    Well done 11/11.
    Assuming Nasri plays wide, then this is a very bad team selection. Nasri right is a total waste, and we have too little creatively central. Blood Pressure dangerously high!
    Early goal or three urgently required!

  75. mickydidit89 says:

    I am so so sick of saying it. No Cesc. NASRI CENTRAL. Tactically dreadful from Arsene.

  76. Red Arse says:

    Poor 1st half.

  77. Big Raddy says:

    Agree RA. Not very good at all.My concerns are the non creativity of the midfield. With only one striker they have to get closer to Nik – twice we have had the opportunity to break at pace but Nasri and Arshavin chose to cut back rather than drive forward. Plus Sunderland are defending very well.

    I don’t like the way we are playing it around at the back, it is a recipe for disaster.

    Still one break and we will go on to win.

  78. Big Raddy says:

    Best moment of the half was the Sunderland GK’s brilliant save from Nik. It would have been a superb goal

  79. mickydidit89 says:

    IMO you are way too kind. Sunderland appear to be defending well because there are no defence splitting passes. Not enough ammunition for AA or Bendy. We do not need Diaby and Denilson. We must look to attack them. They are one break from a win as well! This set up is a recipe for disaster.

  80. Rasp says:

    Oh dear, the wasteful Diaby has turned up today. This is an illustration of how hot and cold he blows. I can see the odd goal deciding this one or even a turgid draw.

  81. goonermichael says:

    That is a bit of a blow.

  82. Big Raddy says:

    What a disappointment. Dreadful refereeing cost us once again, but we should have won nonetheless – we had the chance but didn’t take them.

    Clear penalty push by Bramble on Arshavin, and Arshavin clearly onside for his disallowed goal

  83. mickydidit89 says:

    Forget the pen or offside decision, that was an appalling performance from Arsene. If you wait until the 60th minute to show up, you have only yourselves to blame. I am so f’ing angry.

  84. Big Raddy says:

    It took the removal of Denilson to give us some pep, he was very average today, as was Diaby – why can’t the man shoot anymore? He used to have a ferocious shot now he looks for the intricate pass

  85. mickydidit89 says:

    I cannot bring myself to say it again, so here goes. Why not stick your most creative player not only out wide, but also on the wrong bleeding side at that, and then play an utterly negative midfield. Utterly futile. Great, we looked dangerous at 60 mins, so please don’t blame the ref Arsene.

  86. mickydidit89 says:

    Shit happens in football, but pleeease make your life as easy as possible!!!!!!!!
    Off out.

  87. Big Raddy says:

    I have to agree with you Micky, (though the poor decisions really cost us) that Nasri had to be more involved in the game. The moment Chamakh came on and Nik went wide it allowed Nasri to move around the pitch and we looked a much better side.

    As you say, poor tactics

  88. goonermichael says:

    ‘ve been reading everywehere that the ref robbed us. The league is definitely corrupt. We won’t win it.

  89. Red Arse says:

    I feel so sick!!

    I defended Diaby today, but really ……

    Don’t know who to be most angry with, the incompetent linesman and referee or our inability to shake themselves out of side to side tippy tappy at a snail’s pace.

    On reflection, I am being too hard on the team.

    IF ……, I know that horrible little word, IF, the lino had not given a ridiculous offside when Arshavin scored, and IF the ref could keep up with play, a penalty should have been awarded and we would have won, and would have deserved to win 2:0.

    But we do need pace in the team!

  90. RockyLives says:

    Cheated by the officials AGAIN.

    As BR says, Arshavin 100% onside for the disallowed goal. Bramble’s foul on Arshavin a 100% penalty (and sending off).

    We may have been sluggish first half, but we played really well second half (particularly after Denilson went off) and deserved to have had the victory that we did more than enough to achieve.

    I wrote a post a while back about refs being biased against us – today’s was another classic example. Wilshere was kicked from pillar to post and most times no foul was given. Yet every time a Mackem went down the ref blew. The refs clearly think that Arsenal players are whinging, cheating, weaklings, while the northern clogger teams are honest pros. An absolute disgrace of a reffing performance.

    There was even one moment where the ref stopped a dangerous Arsenal attack by giving a foul throw against Clichy. Replays on the TV showed it was not a foul throw.

    Yet another MoTM goalkeeper performance against us.

    This is not the time to start slagging off the team. Some players seemed less than fresh (or a bit rusty from lack of team time) but the second half performance was more than enough to win the game.

  91. Gooner in Exile says:

    Referee awful performance.

    The game passed Jack by whenplaying in the middle of the attack, mainly because Diaby and Denilson spent most of the half passing sideways or backwards. The only forward momentum came from Kos and Djourou.

    Couple of great saves from Szczezny.

    When Sunserland went briefly 4-4-2 we started to batter them and they quickly went back to 4-5-1. their fans celebrated like it was an away win so I guess that goes to show what it is to be a Sunderland fan.

  92. Gooner in Exile says:

    Good to meet Peaches, Chary, Carlito & friend, Chas & family, Harry &.son and 26.

  93. Big Raddy says:

    It is understandable that the referee was unable to stay up with play for the penalty, but what of the linesman?? It was obvious from the side. The man was hopeless and it was the same moron who gave the wrong offside. I guess a linesman can be bought for a lady of pleasure and a weekend in Gt Yarmouth ….

  94. RockyLives says:

    Looking at that lino, I reckon thats’ the only way he’s ever going to get any…

  95. Big Raddy says:

    Then why didn’t we offer him the lady of pleasure and an overnight at the George V1 in Paris on Eurostar?

    Once again, being cheap has cost us 😀

  96. Gooner in Exile says:

    Patrick Barclays of the times just tweeted that if referees were properly punished he would be getting a 3 match ban

  97. RockyLives says:

    BR 🙂

  98. dandan says:

    In my opinion Jack and Clichy were our best players, AA did not know how to handle Ferdinand, Diaby had a torrid time, but what did Thomas do when he came on.
    All that being said we were unlucky the ref. will not thank his assistant when he See’s the replays.
    But all is not lost, lets hope pool win tomorrow and it will be a point gained

  99. Red Arse says:

    Well said Rocky,

    Positives have got to be,

    (a) a tremendous save by Chezzer from the Welbeck overhead kick.
    (b) The back four played well, especially when the Mackadoodles counter attacked in the 1st half.
    (c) Chammy looked skilful again; pity about heading against the bar, but he had to be there to do it.
    (d) Jack’s lung busting energy, despite being continually chopped down.
    (e) Some of Nasri’s dribbling, (did not play centrally enough tho’). His free kick was brilliant and deserved a goal.
    (f) Arshavin and Bendy played OK without sparkling, but on another day they both would have scored.
    (g) The team put in a tremendous amount of energy, and they DID care!


    (1) The manager’s tactics did not seem quite right.
    (2) Diaby played one of his worst games. Don’t know what else to say.
    (3) Denilson had a 100% pass success ……. backwards, side ways, ping pong with Diaby. Imitates a wall for bouncing the ball off.

    Another day there would be a different outcome. Let MU have a 3 point lead we will chase the buggers and take them in the last 3 weeks of the season. Wait and see!

  100. London says:

    Yet another Fergie puppet in black. Dire tactics for the second weekend running.

  101. RockyLives says:

    Have to say I thought AA had a really good game.
    And that TR7 put in some excellent dangerous balls in the last 10.

  102. Red Arse says:


    Why would a Lady of Pleasure want to buy that linesman and a weekend in Gt Yarmouth?

    QuasiModo would be a better choice, especially ringing hs bells!

    A Lady of Pleasure does have standards you know! 🙂

  103. Rasp says:

    We didn’t get the luck today – maybe we will on tuesday.

  104. dandan says:

    Well it takes all opinions Rocky but I thought Ferdinand had AA in his pocket it was only Clichy backing him up that released him. He took his goal well but was not the AA of old. Be interesting to see what the bloggers who were there think, London’s initial comment does not bode well.

  105. Red Arse says:

    Let’s not forget, that team was shorn of some serious talent because of injury.

    Thomas, Cesc, Robin, Theo, Aaron. (half a team missing — and we did not lose!)

    About this time, every season over the last 5 years, we seem to have a similar injury story. Our luck has got to change simply on the law of averages.

  106. Gooner in Exile says:

    I’m confused, AAs goal described as onside in initial match report on Beeb website, now in full report no mention of it!?!?!?!

    Poor first half, better 2nd especially when Cham came on and Jack went back to dragging the ball out from the back.

    Good to meet London (in ground) too.

  107. dandan says:

    Watching jet on TV whats with that hairdo. 🙂

  108. Red Arse says:


    As usual, you have gone straight to the heart of it.

    It used to irritate the hell out of me when, as a season ticket holder I heard guys who watched Match of the Day telling me how it was.

    Let’s hear how the lovely Peaches, CharyB and the demon 26 & co found it.

    I’m still going to venture an opinion, 🙂 when a team sets up shop to defend to the last man, our side to side tippy tappy style is not the right tactic.

    Against “Park the Bus” teams, we need incisive, horrendous pace down the flanks with crosses to Chammy and Bendy, and maybe from the transfer rumours about our interest in the Barca and Madrid wingers, Arsene agrees with that. 🙂

  109. Red Arse says:


    I think Jet’s hairdo is called a ‘lady tickler’.

    Don’t know what they mean, of course! 🙂

  110. Gooner in Exile says:

    I understand sentiments RA but I don’t see how pace helps if a team parks the bus. As when bus is parked we have no space to run into.

    If the opposition plays like they did today the only option is to play two battering ram centre forwards and deliver from deep and compete for the knock down.

    If the opposition feared us using that approach then they would be forced to close down our full backs in possession and that would free space around 18 yard box and final third for us to play passing game. We did not move the ball forward quickly today when Sunderland did commit men forward, we let them re gather (main culprits Deni and Diaby, they receive the ball facing our goal far too often).

    Anyone going to tell me Cesc isn’t a leader should look at our performances without him, not only can he pick a pass but he drags the team forward and sets the tempo/drive of the whole team.

    Diaby seems intent on proving the doubters right, but it doesn’t help him when there is collective groans at every misplaced pass when he does try to play forward.

  111. mickydidit89 says:

    Thought I had better go and walk the dog to cool off, only I don’t have one, so I didn’t.
    Wow, you chaps are made of sterner stuff than I. Can’t help thinking that my local pub side would have a good chance of holding The Arsenal for six minutes, so Sunderland sure as hell can for sixty. I still hold my opinion about the dreadful team set up, but naturally share your beef over the officialdom.
    I also agree with BR’s point about us being cheap regarding hte “incentives” to the men in black!

  112. Red Arse says:


    There is a lot in what you say that I agree with.

    I hated the collective groans, picked up on the TV microphones, whenever Diaby made a mistake. Horrible.

    We miss Cesc, full stop, both for his class and leadership.

    As to disagreement, look at what Ronaldo did for Manpoo and now Nani does. Pace and skill upsets all defences.

    Tippy tappy allows the odd toe poke to break up the attack and allows the oppo to counter attack.

  113. Carlito11 says:

    Red Arse- I find myself in complete agreement with your 5.33. On a different day we would have won this comfortably. Our lads worked bloody hard- too hard given what’s in store. Disappointing but 1 point closer to the top is better than nowt. Some people round me booed at the end and they weren’t just booing the ref. 😦
    To make a mediocre day even worse my Mother in law lands in 5 minutes for a 10 day stay! Was great to meet so many stalwarts of this site pre-match though. Chamakh did look like he’s got his game face on again and that is very positive. Anyhow, I’m going to enjoy us being one victory off top spot and forget the game!

  114. Gooner in Exile says:

    Agreed RedA but how many teams actually park the bus against ManUre?

    Time for a few Arsenal old boys to get PL manager jobs so they can give Man U as hard a time as the Fergie brigade seem to give us.

  115. Gooner in Exile says:

    Point well made Carlito. Still on our hands…as it stands a 3-0 win at home against ManUre and match their results for rest and we win it on GD 🙂

  116. Carlito11 says:

    Just had a thought- GoonerMichael, do all hairdressers support Arsenal or is it just barbers? 😀

  117. Red Arse says:

    Well there is that GIE.

    However, look at what Titi did for us when his sheer pace and skill won games for us that we never looked like winning until he turned on the afterburners. Overmars?

    I am not being dogmatic about this, but we have had too many of these results this season (and last?), and we need to find a solution that is not evident at the moment.

    Carlito, your mother-in-law is probably a sweetie and her visit might be a pleasant surprise for you! 🙂

    We will draw on Tuesday, and go thru’, Manpoo will draw tomorrow and life will look so much better by Wednesday!!

  118. mickydidit89 says:

    Carlito: “To make a mediocre day even worse my Mother in law lands in 5 minutes for a 10 day stay!”.
    That does help to put things into perspective 🙂

  119. Carlito11 says:

    RA- kind of you to look on the bright side for me but it feels more like taping up the windows and preparing for a tornado. The impending gloom as the sun went in before kick off was an ominous sign that all of nature recognised the wicked witch of the South had just boarded her plane!

  120. mickydidit89 says:

    Really sorry to do this to you but “we need to find a solution that is not evident at the moment.” Sorry again, but it is so bleeding obvious to me. Begin the game when the clock starts ticking, rather than sixty minutes later!!! “Nasri Central” (for the xth time today) might help. After all, it did at 60 ARSENE!

  121. mickydidit89 says:

    Are we related?

  122. Red Arse says:


    Your Ma-in-law will fatten you up with delicious pasta and insist that you have at least one bottle of valpolicella classico with each meal.

    She will mother you and seek to meet your every whim.

    Remember, in Italy mean are treated as Gods!! 🙂

  123. Red Arse says:

    mean = men (although could be the same thing from the female perspective) 🙂

  124. Carlito11 says:

    RA- you are in good spirits and I won’t argue with you- I hope that your words are a magick mantra for changing a 10 year old pattern of behaviour!

  125. Red Arse says:


    I understand your irritation, but the bleedin’ obvious tactic, as you referred to it, of moving Nasri to the centre did not work, did it?

    Speedy, evilly tricky wingers might have! 🙂

    Arsene will come round to my way of thinking eventually…… after I put his nadgers in a vice! 🙂

  126. mickydidit89 says:

    Act dead.

  127. Red Arse says:


    I don’t like to leave a respected fellow AA blogger with a suspicion of despondency, so remember this phrase, if all else fails;

    fuck off e lasciare la mia casa!

    Bound to work!! 🙂

  128. RockyLives says:

    Act dead.” Brilliant 🙂

    But on more serious matters, I don’t think Nasri in the middle is the right answer. He has played well in that position at times, but has also had some pretty anonymous games there. I’m with Redders on this, and much prefer him out wide.

  129. RockyLives says:

    Do you think she’d take a hint if you served her some Strega?

    (an Italian liqueur – Strega means witch).

  130. Hi all – slightly depressed gooner in from the game.

    Diaby and Denilson in mid-field doesn’t work. I think micky may have mentioned this already but why oh why wasn’t Nasri in the middle???????

    Nik can play wide right – not immaculately well but better to have him there and NASRI IN THE MIDDLE!!!!

    I have to say that M Chamakh was a different chap today, he was showing for the ball, running into space and actually looked like he wanted to be there.

    The ref was RUBBISH – I heard on the train that Jack gave him a hard time early on and thats probably why his ankles will be black and blue tomorrow – Jack’s that is – and Sunderland finished the game with 11 men on the pitch.

    Big shout out to Kozzer and Djourou who in the first half were the only players driving the game forward and wasn’t the free kick just outside the box – beautifully struck by Nasri – given for a foul on Kozzer??????

    I know that half of our team weren’t available today but Arsene does make things difficult for himself 😦

  131. But the pre-match meet-up with 26may, Carlito, chary, Harry and son, GoonerinExile and chas was excellent.

    GiE is great to sit with, he has a very loud voice and sings almost all the time. If he could get to Arsene we would definitely have played that game 4-4-2 😀

  132. Red Arse says:


    It was bad enough for those of us watching a live stream, but I know from experience, that travelling back from the stadium is so much worse when things haven’t gone to plan.

    Chin up, and I am sure that rumours of Snow White and the seven Dwarfs being at the Emirates for the game had nothing to do with you guys!! 🙂

  133. Nasri in the middle is not the answer per se its just when Cesc is injured it makes sense – if Theo had been playing what would have happened then?

    Sadly there were too many missing, at times I could see exactly what pass Cesc would have been making had he been there.

    Still, Arshavin’s goal should have stood and we should have had a penalty too so we were unlucky not to win.

  134. Red Arse says:


    The non attenders (such as myself) totally agree with you, and said so earlier, in case you think I am crawling to you!! 🙂

  135. mickydidit89 says:

    How about a swift corse at the Lucrezia Borgia school of cookery.
    It did work. We looked considerably more dangerous from that moment on, however I merely suggest the move in the absence of Cesc.

  136. mickydidit89 says:

    sp course

  137. Hi RA 🙂 the thought never crossed my mind.

    Did anyone else think that Chamakh looked more up for it when he came on? He was pretty chipper when he was warming up too – having fun with the Squid.

  138. Red Arse says:

    Oh Micky, Micky, Micky,

    You are so gracious in defeat! 🙂 Well I suppose it was a draw really, just feels a bit like a defeat.

    I think I will enrol at the Lucrezia Borgia school of cookery, and send Fergie a special delivery!! 🙂

  139. Gooner in Exile says:

    Thanks for not mentioning the tune of my singing Peaches. 🙂

    Good fun sitting with you too, although you did break your promise and not cheer Nik at one point 😉

  140. mickydidit89 says:

    Normally I am a man with the stiffest of upper lips and the uppest of chins, but today I feel the manager could have done better, but we will live to fight another day, and I will be the first up and over the top!

  141. Gooner in Exile says:

    Cham did look up for it and I’d have no hesitation to play him up front against Barca. Altho perhaps he needed the rocket of being relegated to 3rd choice striker?

  142. mickydidit89 says:

    Right, I’m off to whinge and moan and repeatedly ask annoying questions to my children!
    Good night all.

  143. Red Arse says:

    Never doubted you Micky, 🙂

    Anyway off now. Tomorrow guys! 🙂

    We still have everything to go for!

  144. Rasp says:

    I’m getting reports that Jack’s injured and will miss the Barca game???? – does anyone have any info on this ?

  145. Gooner in Exile says:

    Probably he took some heavy hits today……think AW might say he is injured but Jack will tell him different.

  146. RockyLives says:

    JW got no protection at all from the ref (who, I gather, hails from Manchester).
    The standard of reffing really is appalling.

  147. Rasp says:

    Apparently the story comes from Arsenè’s post match interview

  148. London says:

    If Cesc is back for Barça then Wilshere will be a big loss because they play well together, Wilshere being the more defensive of the two but Wilshere is no where near ready to fill Cesc’s attacking boots as demonstrated today and last weekend. Ramsey is better suited to the Cesc role; he is far more attack minded than Wilshere, although, the Welshmen may not be quite EPL match fit to fill the gap. Anyway, Cesc will be fit for the midweek game and he makes pretty much anyone who plays next to him look good.
    It was good to meet you GIE and I agree with your 6:12

  149. chas says:

    Great to meet you all today. Shame about the result.
    Really poor performance in the first half and the ref was shocking throughout.

  150. goonermichael says:

    Slightly drunk. Going to finish the job now. Strangely I’m not that worried.

  151. Harry says:

    There was three things I was looking forward to today:
    1. Meeting more of the AA crew…
    2. Ramsey Playing….
    3. Arsenal picking 3 points up..

    One out of 3 isnt good enough……

    There was three things I wasnt interested in seeing:

    1. Insipid team display……
    2. Poor Officiating…….
    3. Ramsey on the bench for 90mins……

    3 out of 3 is shocking…..

    The arguement always trotted out is that ref decisions even themselves out over the season….. Not really sold on that, if the decision is borderline I can just about live with it, but again today this referee is shockingly poor…..

    Before I fully comment on the ref, will watch MoTD, etc…

    BR unfortunately called the team bang on and it struggled like I thought it would with that line up….Fighting for the title?

    Arsene please note you can make subs at half time, we probably deserved just to win and decisions didnt go our way.

    When I have seen the highlights I will rate and comment on the players….

    I was as usual disappointed with the fans, just not enough getting behind them…..

    So frustrating, so disappointing …Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr…. Come on the scousers…..

  152. Harry says:

    Interesting but disturbing sidenote:

    In the programme today, stat:

    Since 2005: out of 31 games against teams in top ten (but not top four clubs) we have failed to win 16 times (17 now out of 32), thats shocking…….

    Emirates is not a fortress…….

  153. Brigham says:

    Well, I am sat here nursing a fine glass of Malbec and pondering over what might have been for the second time in less than a week.

    Yet more poor officiating once again and I wonder just how much that will cost us in the run-in. Why is it that we always seem to be the brunt of poor decisions more times than we get them go for us?

    I am up early tomorrow to get myself and the wife to Gatwick and fly out to Barca. I just hope we can put in a far better display than today or I fear my disappointment is going to continue even further.

    Anyway fellow Gooners and Goonerettes, onwards and upwards and lets be honest, we would not be The Arsenal if we did things the easy way!


  154. Oh dear, nearly MOTD time, not sure I have the stomach for being told that Arshavin’s goal wasn’t off-side although I’m sure they won’t say that we should have had a penalty.

    Enjoy your trip Brigham – any draw will do 🙂

  155. Rasp – what are you doing there, I’m being self-indulgent 😆 Are you going to watch MOTD?

  156. Carlito11 says:

    Some very funny comments there chaps! 😀 the first night has passed without incident- let’s call it a 0-0 draw! 😉

  157. Rasp says:

    peaches, I most defintely will not be watching motd – I’m generally a masochist with a penchant for self abuse 😕 but even I don’t want to watch the reenactment of yet another injustice

  158. Carlito11 says:

    Brigham- good luck in Barcelona!

  159. Carlito11 says:

    Hansen had a sneer of delight at the suggestion that “arsenal might not be competing on any fronts soon”. Are you allowed to show that you enjoy an idea like that on a supposedly impartial programme? What a “see you next Tuesday!”

  160. Gooner in Exile says:

    I need to offer a positive for today.

    We kept a clean sheet 🙂

  161. Gooner in Exile says:

    Just saw that myself Carlito, he really doesn’t want Arsenal to win anything, it would go against everything he has ever said about us.

  162. SharkeySure says:

    I’m truly sick of referees.

    Other teams can start flat, not play well, have players out etc, but it sometimes seems that even after we overcome all of that, we then have the referees standing in our way.

    Do we really have any chance of winning the title in such a (seemingly?) corrupt league..??

    Answers on a postcard please.

  163. Just popping in for a late one, great to meet the AA crew again including new faces – 26May & GiE as well as Harry, Peachy and Carlito.

    Sorry I missed Chas – wretched traffic and tube delays!

    Trying to cheer myself with the hope that the dippers do us a favour – if they win we gain, if they draw no harm,no foul.

    I’m not entertaining the other possibility.

  164. Gooner in Exile says:

    Sharkey ….. Yes. Elliot Ness got past Capones corruption in the end.

    AW will overcome Fergies too.

  165. mickydidit89 says:

    Given Arsenals’ and Sunderlands’ relative league positions, it would have been reasonable to expect an Arsenal victory by a two goal margin. Nullify that advantage by selecting a poor team for sixty minutes and allowing the advantage to exist for 30 minutes, and you reduce the likely scoreline advantage to slightly less than one goal.
    This is what Arsene did yesterday. From the moment he shuffled the pack, we looked twice as likely to score as they did.
    Yes, AA was onside and should have had a penalty, but you can easily see how both were missed by the officials.
    We dropped two points because we had the cards to stack in our favour, and did not do it.
    Shit happens, I know, but yesterday we simply got it wrong. The evidence is how we performed once changes were made.

  166. mickydidit89 says:

    That is the end of my negativity regarding yesterday.
    On a positive, I think MC played himself into the Barca starting XI.
    This is going to hurt. Come on Liverpool!

  167. Gooner in Exile says:

    Micky, I understand your view that we didn’t start with our best side.

    Whilst I agree the side looked better at the hour mark on this was also around the time Bruce brought Wellbeck on and briefly went 4-4-2, which gave us more space, he quickly reverted back to 4-5-1 but that gave us back some momentum.

    We had 7 shots on target plus 7 off target. As it so happens the keeper had another day of brilliance at the emirates, if he doesn’t save Bendtners drive in the first half the floodgates would have opened. If Bendtners overhead had gone anywhere other than straight the same.

    We rely on an early goal against these teams that intend to park the bus.

    Watching MotD last night the standard of defending was generally awful when these mid table sides were playing each other, Stoke for one were a different side to the one that played at the Grove, as is the case with so many of them…..Brum were woeful at the back yesterday and as for Blackburn…

    So it’s two points dropped but still plenty to play for.

    A word on Jack, the boy is a born winner he plays with his heart on his sleeve for 90 minutes and with him you can see how much it means/hurts everytime he plays. In the second half when moved deeper and involved more you can see him conducting the play, and equally getting frustrated with poor passing decisions by players around him. Last off the pitch yesterday, applauding the support around the ground. I have untold respect for that young man.

  168. Evonne says:

    Morning GIE – I watched an interview with Jack’s school mistress; she said that he played in all positions, because he was so determined to win anywhich way you can. He has not changed, thank God

  169. Morning all

    There’s a New Post

  170. gunnern5 says:

    The one thing that can be guaranteed after a loss or a tie is that all of the “experts” tell us what either AW or the officials did wrong.

    Consider this; the official’s go through copious hours of training and testing to earn their right to officiate, they are watched by an official observer, and are subjected to a post game review.

    Of course mistakes are made but they have to make split second decisions without the aid of multiple slo mo replays which at times can make them look really bad or really good. Overall their calls are more right than wrong.

    Arsene Wenger’s whole world is ARSENAL and so say that he eats sleeps and breathes Arsenal would be a classic understatement. This man conducts every training session, manages every game from mere feet away, knows every players strengths and weaknesses, knows their mental condition, knows the players every knock and bruise. But most importantly he has, arguably, done more for our club than an one other individual in our history.

    Now we lose a game by a fluke and tie a game where we were the better team and what happens……..out come the “experts” with their all knowing POST game reviews.

    Wrong tactics.
    Players playing in the wrong positions.
    Poor team selection.
    Biased referee’s.
    Blind linesmen.
    and so on……..

    Well folks my opinion may not be popular (it rarely is) but what drives me crazy is neither the losses or the ties but the post game experts who have the idiocy to be critical of the officials and the management.

    Game reviews and slo mo replays are both after the fact and have the wonderful benefit of hind sight.

    The officials have to make instant decisions and on many occasions they need two sets of eyes. The poor old linesman is expected to see the moment a ball is kicked and in the same instance note the position of all of the attacking players, with a team as fast as ours I reckon he has no more than a 70% chance of making the right call.

    My thought on the critisisms of AW will be left to your imaginations but suffice to say I find them to be way off base.

    Just the thought of a 73 year old who bleeds Arsenal and has played, coached, managed and refereed our wonderful game and someone who still does not consider himself to be an expert.

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