FA Cup Win & Transfer Rumours

fc3

Arsenal 4 – 0 Coventry City

1 – 0 Podolski (14)
2 – 0 Podolski (28)
3 – 0 Giroud (83)
4 – 0 Cazorla (89)

Tempting as it was to add a torch song or “Have You Got A Light Boy?” by Splodgenessabounds to this week’s playlist but I resisted those lures, Searching All The City remains intact in all its maiden glory on the right sidebar or here.

It was very 21st century and reminded me why I avoid concerts prone to such activity. Is it Arsenal’s way of testing the wealth of the crowd, a litmus test passed with the number of torch apps lighting the north London sky when floodlights failed; no sign of a lighter anywhere. On a routine evening, it was the memorable event. Well, aside from Gedion Zelalem becoming the first player to appear in the Arsenal first team who was born after Arsène’s reign began. Actually, the real reason for avoiding those concerts is exposed; age.

Arsenal are through to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup with a less comfortable margin of victory than reflected in the scoreline. It was the lower end of the scoreline expected after the opening half an hour. Coventry were run ragged as their hosts quickly imposed themselves on the game with wave after wave of attack. The passing and despatch of the ball was as fast and accurate as has been produced all season. Lukas Podolski provided the early breakthrough and one fine save from the under-employed Fabianski, the match was over before half-time as the German headed home for the second. Can anyone doubt Steve Bould’s influence on the team?

Post-match, Arsène noted that it was a professional job. It was; early superiority established, Arsenal sat back and did enough to maintain control as Coventry – very commendably and effectively – upped their game in the second half. The woodwork saved blushes and Leon Clarke had other chances as well but the Premier League title chasers were playing well within t hemselves, always capable of another two gears if needed. In the end, the ball retention and passing told with tiring legs pulled out of position once too often; late substitutes Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla ended the suspense with two goals in the final ten minutes.

The drama was not confined to the pitch with Jan-Aage Fjortoft’s credibility put to the test. Yes, I know, I didn’t realise he had some when it came to transfer news either but received wisdom is that the Norwegian called Mesut Özil’s arrival at Arsenal before anyone else. Apparently his broadcasting and business ties to the Bundesliga  have given him connections and he announced to a delighted Twitter that a £37m fee had been agreed with Schalke for Julian Draxler’s services. No timescale mentioned, not confirmation for January or August arrival but nobody seemed to care about that. Maybe Arsène has still got to phone the number on the card left because he was out at the time.

Talking to the media, Wenger enjoyed himself with impish grins accompanying answers to questions. At times it is like watching a kitten with a ball of wool, paws jabbing as it trails across the carpet. The strand of wool is unfurling though, Arsène’s denial of a deal less convincing each time he talks of the story. That sideshow has time to run, maybe a free weekend will allow minds to focus on that more. The rediscovered ruthlessness, lost in paternalistic care for the youth, was evident when talking of Park. Gedion Zelalem was preferred pure and simple, the Korean not carrying a knock or transfer interest; is hearing the manager talk in those terms humiliating, demotivating or both? Thomas Vermaelen meanwhile has apparently not recovered from an injury suffered against Tottenham. Manuel Almunia had a very serious and incurable injury in his last season; I hope the Belgian’s is not as mysterious.

Prior to kick-off, the manager had been keen to note that he took the FA Cup seriously and his starting line-up reflected that. No opportunity for Hayden as Wenger kept his chosen pairing of Mertesacker and Koscielny intact; full backs were rested as fitness regained for Gibbs and maintained for Jenkinson. Both youngsters enjoyed the freedom of the wings, both in fine attacking form. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also surged toward full readiness continuing his volume of games, almost fast-tracked to fitness. Bendtner showed rustiness with his shooting but a lot of energy in his running, some neat passes with one cleverly disguised as an airshot to set up a chance on the edge of the area.

The Dane would have wished for Lukas Podolski’s finishing in front of goal. Wenger’s observation that the German striker is more effective from the wings was as unerring in it’s accuracy as Podolski’s opener, the angle seemed to be going away from him but disparagingly dismissed as a barrier to the breakthrough. The second a finely-time run to the far post to meet Mertesacker’s flick on. Both strikers goals yet neither dispelling the belief that he is the most effective left-sided forward in the Premier League if he can convince the manager of his form and fitness.

Mission accomplished is the feeling this morning, the job done with a minimum of fuss having shown their opponents the necessary respect. Thoroughly professional in ensuring no repeat of last year’s calamity at home to Blackburn Rovers. Not just from the players, the manager as well. In fielding a strong XI, he ensured that confidence and belief continued as momentum builds toward two crucial months ahead.

Well-played all round.

’til Tomorrow.

 

 

67 thoughts on “FA Cup Win & Transfer Rumours

  1. As always,a total pleasure to read, YW. Thank you. Watching on TV one misses some of the finesse in the game but last night the soaped of some of our passing foxed even the intended recipient.
    We are just not getting the rewards for such exhilarating football….we lack decisiveness in front of goal, too much after you Jack, no, AFTER YOU Mezut!
    At last we have rectified our defensive frailties, now we need to inject some scoring into our attack. Perhaps we are missing Ramsey more than we realise.

  2. all fjortoft said was a fees been agreed
    well if a players got a release clause then isnt it obvious what the fee is..
    somebody stumps up 30 odd million and hes theirs..
    fjortoft might have well just said everyone has agreed a fee for draxler seeing as though everyone knows the price to get him.
    doesnt mean weve bid for him which is what wengers said and what fjortoft convieniently left out

    i dont think we will either

    hes a very wenger type player…very pires ish currently with the ability to be very rvp ish in a few years and he could well be a summer target but at the minute i dont think wengers looking for anyone this window..

  3. theres definately legs in the rumour yogi..
    hes germanys hottest prospect, one of europes hottest and maybe we have been burned from the lessons of hazard and ronaldo years before and arsene wants this kid now before it turns into a bidding war and we lose…. but until it comes from the mans lips himself theres a deal done then its all just he said she said and it shouldnt distract from the momentum we are building on the pitch..

    very clever publicity from fjortoft..hes not exactly lying is he but at the same time its not exactly groundbreaking news..its like most of the laws in football these days, open to interpretation..

  4. ‘ At times it is like watching a kitten with a ball of wool, paws jabbing as it trails across the carpet.’

    Ha ha hah hah hah….

    Ha ha hah hah…

    Ha ha ha ha hah hah…..

    As similes go, I will never see him in another light.

    Ha Ha ha ha h…….(fade to next post)

  5. good to see podolski back..
    we have to start playing him with giroud again..
    i know arsene loves his 100 central midfeilders all playing at the same time and weve flat track bullied our way to the summit with it but the big games are going to start coming thick and fast..
    podolski enables us to keep the 451 with an extra goalscoring threat so it might as well be a 442 and wiith theo its a dangerous 433…but when you play with at least two natural strikers you cause more problems and that will set us in good stead for the big tests that are around the corner..

    girouds taken one for the team this season..he’d have scored more if we’d have had podolski and theo fit from the start but the injuries and his lack of pace have dictated he plays up front by himself with a bunch on onrushing mids so its been a back to goal job for him…

    he needs help..podolski is the cavalry

  6. With the FFP rules as they are JJ and YW, is it not more the case of:

    AW: How much for this one who’s too young to grow a beard.

    Manager: That’ll be 37 million to you squire.

    AW: ’37….37million for this brilliant man, the new RvP, that is too cheap, you are throwing him away. We just spent 45 million on a man who we know how good he is. This one, the sky is the limit, look at ManUre with Ronaldo, sold too cheap. You don’t want to be in that position do you, this boy could be brilliant, How about 50 million. That is a big round number.

    German Manager: No no 37 million is what we think he is worth.

    AW: No that’s not how you do it you are supposed to haggle.

    German Manager: But like you said he can’t even grow a beard yet.

    AW: Alright, Alright if you insist lets lets just call it 40million.

    German Manager: Okay, Okay, Dankeshoen, We will shake on it. Zo, 40 million Euros it is.

    AW: No No No that’s pounds, 40 million pounds…….

  7. Afternoon all.

    At one point last night, we had 5 Germans on the pitch – didn’t even notice until someone on Twitter mentioned it.

    No wonder German is our favourite hunting ground at the moment.

    Poor ole Bendtner can’t win. He’s trying too hard but those air shots were a bit “some-mothers-do-have-’em-spencer-esque”

    Against Premier league teams, he’ll have to put those chances away you know.

    The Saints it is next I suppose.

  8. Difficult to judge too much on such a low key evening but I thought Fabianski deserves credit for his saves & handling & i enjoyed the brief cameo from Zelalem who even from just those few minutes looks an exciting prospect.

    Jon Jon, I couldn`t agree more about getting Podolski in the team. The link up play is all well & good but now Theo is out another goalscorer in the side is going to be very handy.

    It may sound harsh but I don`t see Bendtner as being anything other than a desperation sub. Considering the opposition I thought he was poor last night (spare me the fitness angle) & if he`s our only geniune back up to OG we`d better cross more than our fingers & toes until May.

  9. @JJ

    It is obvious to all that with Podolski we have more goal threat, the problem is convincing Arsene that it is worth while choosing him over Santi on the left. Or perhaps as C wants, use Podolski on the left and Santi on the right with Ozil in the middle. In any event, undeniable that Arsenal have more threat with him on the park than off and 5 goals in 6 appearances in all competitions tells us that.

  10. Oh and I still think that if he was given time Poldi could have done the “Lone striker” as good as RvP. RvP was shit in the beginning to when he was shifted to the middle in our system. He was also very effective on the sides before he move to the middle, just like Poldi is now. He was a tad younger than Poldi is now though. And we don’t really have time to experiment to much this season….

  11. last season, people were talking of the bould effect, although sometime in that season (i don’ remember the weeks), this effect was questioned only to come back to fashion toward the end of the season when arsenal snatch 4th place from the spuds.

    but i think this season so far, is the clear imprint of the bould effect- best defence in the league with the highest clean sheets and least no. of goals conceded. i think bould’s influence always needed time and now we see the results. also, most of the defensive mistakes were individual mistakes. arsenal do not have bad defenders per se, in fact the mertesacker and koscielny on current form are world class. what the defence lacked was better organization and discipline in positional play. also, gibbs has matured and is a completely different player, while sagna is having one of his best ever seasons.

  12. Pauly Walnuts. Incidentally, I’m watching The Soprano’s re-runs and I can never get enough of Mr. Pauly Goltieri. He’s a classic. I suppose I was just missing James Gandelfini and his “She’s dead to me” antics.

    As for crossing more than our fingers and toes on Bendtner – I’d hate to think of crossing the only other thing I have that can be crossed.

  13. Great post yogi. I agree that is was a very professional job yesterday. Great to see podolski score twice. The way Arsene has used him the last 13 months is and has been very hard to understand. There must be something going on that we don’t know about. Will be interesting to see if he starts at Anfield. Podolski Giroud and Cazorla as our front 3 seems like a no brainer to me.

  14. Nijjy @ 1:49

    Steve Bould has been with the team throughout all the years that we struggled to defend properly. He must have been driving him crazy watching what was happening. If the difference is really the Bould effect then I guess he was not allowed to do anything until last season

  15. Yes we dominated but Converty City almost scored three times. This was a sloppy win. Our “D” let Leon Clarke get some real good chances.We can’t do this. Wenger will see this on the coaching tape and address these issues. We have to if we want to stay atop the league. City and Chelsea are clipping at our heels. We let the Sky Blues hang around until late in the match before putting this puppy to bed.a good win. Very sloppy

  16. Have heard AW starting to mention Sanogo’s name in despatches again. He is meant to be back in full training from Monday. I hope he is not going suddenly become our great striking hope for the season again. AW gave him a big push at the start of the season, but let’s not forget he was still trying to sign a striker until the end of the summer transfer window even though Sanogo wasn’t injured until mid-September.
    And if the argument is that we will have Giroud, Bendtner, Poldolski and Sanogo all available until the end of the season, I feel we still don’t have a replacement for Giroud in the middle amongst the rest of those mentioned. There is also the possibility that Sanogo is another player like Diaby, a perennial resident of the treatment table. Unfortunately his early career has looked that way and we haven’t been able to do much to turn around the fortunes of other players in that situation in the past.

  17. Miami,

    Watch the cricket? what an absolute corker of a game of cricket between the kiwis and India in Auckland.

  18. Top post Yogi.

    I agree with JJ and MA that Podolski must become a regular match in and match out as a starter. With him on the pitch all our creators and flickers of the ball can do their thing knowing that Podolski will bury them with the same confidence if not more than Theo. A lineup of:

    Sczny
    Sagna—Mert—Kos—Nacho/Gibbs
    ——-Flamini/Arteta—-Jack/Ramsey
    ————Ozil———-
    Santi—-Giroud—-Podolski

    That’s as good as it gets in the EPL.

  19. The only worrying thing for me last night was Bendtners performance against a lower side and his work rate. I know people will say fitness but both the Ox and Podolski when coming back from injury atleast had a tremendous work rate which IMHO is about want to and will more than anything. I still think we need a striker

  20. JJ

    If draxler is as good as hazard then I have no problem with getting him. The numbers from this season would argue against that and would suggest that it will be a while before Draxler has that sort of impact. Chelsea had unlimited funds so they could afford to wait. I didn’t think we had that sort of money but may be we do. I hope so.

  21. On Draxler:

    I do think that all these rumors have some legs and I know Arsene has said nothing is in place but his devilish grin at the end of his statement may suggest something different but it could also mean nothing. I have heard though that a deal could be struck now and Draxler stay at Schalke until the end of the season.

  22. bill – apparently both he and the team have had a bit of a dip this season, but was much better last season (this is from what I’ve read, don’t watch the german league so cannot back this up with actual observation – but stats do seem to show this)…the amount being bandied about is pretty ridiculous, but so is everything related to football these days. If we are in for him, and can afford him without bankrupting ourselves or clearing out our transfer kitty for a season I’d personally love it if the move actually materialises. He is young so will be inconsistent, and wont be our immediate saviour, but if he has broken into the german national team and is considered the brightest youth prospect in a country full to the brim with amazing youth talent, spunking the money now, getting flashes of brilliance and in a year or so a genuine star would, if we can afford it (who knows what we have got in the bank) could be a great move. You’ve often said ‘buying for the future’, and whilst this is true to an extent, we can’t really afford to wait for the future to do our business (ie. if, like suarez or any number of players, he decides to sign a new deal or no one activates the release clause or he decides to stay beyond the clause expiring, then in a year or two he could be well out of our price range and/or higher ambitions to play for the likes of real or whatever)…the fact real stole a march on us with Ozil initially and we then continued to struggle for 3 seasons and then got him for 4 times as much as they paid would indicate that getting in there first could be the best bet. my two pence anyway that has been far more verbose than intended. buy him, don’t buy him, either way, up the arse!

  23. JJ @ 1:17

    You don’t ask your striker to sacrifice himself for the team. You adapt your teams style to the strikers strengths since you can’t really set up an attacking plan without the striker. If he is capable of scoring lots of goals putting him into positions to score is the best thing for the team. You take your scoring from wherever you can get it.

  24. @Dukey

    It was a tremendous game of cricket, absolute corker. I’m not sure what this Kiwi team is about, after the whitewash at the hands of Bangladesh I was not full of confidence. Yet, they have now beaten the Windies and 2-0 (with one tie) over the Indians, who I thought were no. 1 in the world? In any case, those games are ones you cannot help enjoying regardless of your own loyalty to a national side.

    Corey Anderson has been terrific for the most part, worlds fastest century and he was on pace for the worlds fastest fifty before being dismissed for 44 in the last game. In this game his bowling was at the fore with a 5 for 🙂 Guptill’s century was a measured and controlled innings and then Southee and Ronchi were able to add that big hitting at the close. Definitely an enjoyable game in every sense, and congratulations to the Indians for the fight back when they were up against it. Not often we see a tie in the game anymore. 314, good total and a great chase.

  25. @C

    You know with Draxler predominantly playing the left side of the advance midfield, you would have to conclude that for the money spent he’d be starting. In that case, I have no doubt Podolski’s suitcase will have been packed. I’m sorry mate, but we both know it is true.

  26. @Dukey

    The Kiwi’s really seem to have some ball hitters now, and the confidence is growing. I think in the shorter form on the game, any side would have concerns facing them. Oh, and they are a very young side.

  27. I thought we should get a look at the YouTube scouting network on Draxler… lets see what the lad is all about and why Arsene wants him so much.

  28. I like C’s line up. I think that is the best we have right now. Arteta/Flam andy real/Gibbs just depends on fitness and opposition. Ramsey has been our best player but he’s missed a month and Jack has been playing well. I’d give Ramsey some minutes v. Southhampton and then start him the next game. Then AW can decide who has best form v. Liverpool, MU, Bayern, Spuds, Chelsea and City matches.

    But upfront I think Poldi needs a run of games and Cazorla can play right. Gnabry and Ox have to take spots on the bench and come in as subs unless they show they are that much better at scori g than Poldi and Cazorla. Unlikely though.

  29. @MA

    That would be true but I wonder if he would be viewed as a backup to both striker and LW. It would be interesting but I bet Podolski would be sold then unless he was ok being used as a supersub the way Dzeko is used.

  30. Is it only me or are Man City getting arrogantly complaicent? I hope Almunia can do Arsenal a favour and have one of them Barcelona one man shows he had a while back. City are 2 down to Watford, and they need half time more than our neighbours in Hertfordshire.

  31. For the figures being mentioned, tht will be no bargain for Draxler. For that fee you expect the numbers Hazard was putting up and the hype level. If it were 20 million you could claim it was proactively stealing him before the rest of football figures out how amazing he is.

    I’d rather pay 50-60 for a top proven striker. And we could certainly have done that already and had the benefits this season and likely top our group in CL avoiding the biggest clubs and getting further and be leading by a bigger margin in the PL. Draxler at those prices doesn’t strike me as great business or what we need to make this group better this season and next. But if AW thinks he is such an incredible talent, well, who are we to gainsay him?

  32. What would be nice as well would be some suspensions for Toure. Miss a league match or three!

  33. Miami,

    I defy anybody not to enjoy cricket after watching that game….I quite fancy new Zealand for next years world cup….at home aswell or half at home..

  34. Darius,

    `Heh heh, please. Wanna talk about stand-up guys?`

    Merse forcast 6-0 for City today & fancied some readies on their quadruple…

  35. well for as much as i like draxler as a player i do think its cf where we are short and id rather us blow our load on somebody very very very good up front..

    but draxler is very much a wundkerkid hes better than gotze and if we dont get him now then somebody else will and he’ll be worth 70mil in 2-3 years..

    maybe with the new puma sponserhip and the buzz we got from ozil signing wenger may be lining up a couple of 35mil players? draxler and a striker?? 🙂

  36. @LSG

    I think its not only the numbers with Draxler but the potential and influence that people have seen. As stated, at 20 years of age he already finds himself a lock in a very very very talented German squad. I think in a proper side we could see him how RvCunt was for us.

    The thing that helped Hazard was that he had Cabaye in midfield at his absolute best not to mention Gervinho was scoring and assisting in that 20-25 a piece plus Sow was banging them in for fun. Hazard was in a side that was oozing with class in France so he didn’t have massive amounts of pressure to carry a squad.

  37. Likely the idea apart from Poldi not being fully fit may have been not to have our 2 main people that can play CF on the field at once… with Theo also out, Bendy and Sanogo not match fit… Now the others are nearing fitness we may see more of Poldi starting alongside Giroud

  38. Speaking of strikers and the Draxler debate, edinson Cavani seems to have had enough of the French. As JJ eloquently puts it, why don’t we blow our load on him.

    But I think Draxler will do a job. The way we play lends itself to good wing players and if Draxler is Pires-esque, Arsenal would seem to be a good fit for him.

  39. If Arsene decides to buy Draxler to play as a centre forward instead of buying a centre forward then it means a couple of things in my opinion.

    Firstly there are no strikers available on the market that fit into what he wants from a centre forward. There is little use us saying something like ‘What about Jackson Martinez?’ if Arsene thinks he does not meet his requirements. Measuring the goals scored by a striker in another league means very little when you play your own style of football. Buying another Bendtner to replace Bendtner also doesn’t make a great deal of sense. By that I mean why buy a player of lesser quality when you have spent years trying to sell players who couldn’t quite make the grade.

    Secondly if we are to spend that amount of money on a 20 year old who doesn’t even play as striker (all speculation at this stage of course) then he must fit exactly what Arsene wants not just for a few months or next season but for many years.

    Admittedly I have only seen clips of the player but looking at his individual performance clips rather than just his goals, you can see why the idea might be there. Has the lot.

    As much as I’d like to see a plug in and play striker, I’d rather not buy just another striker ‘just in case Giroud gets injured’ and I’d rather not miss out again (Ronaldo, Zlatan) on a young super talent that will likely go from strength to strength.

    Question, if the ready made striker (that fits) is not available for sale or loan, what should we do instead?

  40. Why should we be buying another Bendtner? We should be buying a replacement for Bendtner like we were trying to in the summer. Surely we can find a player out there who can do a better job than Bendtner. A more accomplished player would likely get more game time as well. Bendtner doesn’t get time on the pitch because he is poor, clearly better than Park but still poor.
    Why not buy Bony from Southampton? He is a big strong lad, he has some talent and he can score in the Premiership.

  41. i think we are all singing from the same hym sheet here

    we’d all absolutely love another striker…as mean lean says not another bendtner who wont play..he needs to be special..

    but if draxler was the choice then you can see the reasoning and if you were you ask me a year ago that wenger had 75mil to spend and he bought ozil and draxler to be brutally honest id have bitten your hand off..

  42. “Question, if the ready made striker (that fits) is not available for sale or loan, what should we do instead?”

    Use Podolski.

    Damn Aguero. What are the chances of Watford pulling away again in the next 5 minutes.

  43. Watford gave City a scare……. but there’s that Pellegrini philosophy again, “It doesn’t matter how many we concede, as long as we score more”; Really want to see Aguera injured and out for a few months. Wonder what they’d do then?

  44. Fucking BBC arse lickers;…. saying it was remarkable for City to come back and win 4-2….. what they should be asking is how the fuck could Watford firstly, score twice and secondly, keep a 2-0 lead against them for 60 minutes

  45. The only reason Man City is even in the title race is because they score a shitload of goals, their defence is not so good in my opinion.

    Damn those strikers!

    Even against Bayern Munich, they were like “we’ll just score more goals than you”

    It’s just so silly how much goals they score, i mean FFS!

  46. @ Moe. LOL

    Is there another reason for winning other than outscoring your opponent ranging from… 1-0 2-1, 3-2, etc….

    Nigeria just defeated Morocco in a match 4-3 after trailing at half time 3-0; meanwhile up to this stage of the Competition (CHAN), Morocco had only conceded 2 goals in 3 games and Nigeria were the highest scorers with 8 goals in 3 games! Strongest attack versus meanest defence….

  47. Team Spirit

    Agh! They bloody crush your spirits because in every match there is an inevitable win on course.

    And yes the name of the game is goals, but also stop your opponent scoring so your goals count for more. City seem to disregard that rule and say “forget defence, we’ll just pound them into submission with goals!”

    When we face them, i’d be happy with a draw.

  48. Dukey at @3:48

    That would be fine if the people who didn’t like cricket watched cricket…………. but some of us don’t! 🙂

  49. Well last february we signed Monreal and he made a nice impact in the run in. If we sign drawler this january I’m sure he will do the same.

    I do worry about United though. mata this january, possibly shaw and costa comes summer? They will be back in contention a lot quicker than anticipated with that Mata sale from Jose. Even if Moyes gets the sack, the players will still be there, a better manager could do a lot of good work with players like costa, mata Rooney etc.

    first we sell RvP then Chelsea sells Mata, If City sells them Kompany or Nastasic or maybe even Yaya, Suarez decides he is destined for United and Everton sells them Barkley they will have sorted out all their problems within 9 months and weakened all their closest opponents at the same tim. Its win win all over for United … /cry…

  50. A move for either Morata or Tello would be good January business and add depth at the striker role. Obviously not in the same way Giroud goes about his business, they are both are more technical with pace. Neither are the physical type to hold possession.

  51. Nice upload of Draxler.He does everything that Van Persie would do years ago, wide and then in the spaces centrally. I will never forget a game he played at Highbury , i think in his first season. We were losing and he was everywhere, wide to pull defensive players about, constantly probing with deadly concentration. He ended popping up at the left facing the north bank to get his goal. What a player, Van persie. Draxler is that player against Southampton. Please get him Wenger and i promise i won’t coat you off anymore in the stadium with all my fellow st holders around me.

  52. Really not convinced that AW is going for Draxler but from what I’ve seen of him playing he would be able to slip into our style of play quite easily and I could imagine AW turning him into a very affective CF in the style of VP and TH

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