Villa Park Point IS A Good Result

Aston Villa 0 – 0 Arsenal

A hard fought draw last night has come at some cost. The point itself allowed Chelsea to leapfrog into top spot with a two point safety zone, a gap which could be five by the time Arsenal kick-off against Manchester United on Sunday. In itself, that is not the cost. The real problems for Wenger came in the first hour of last night’s match. Thomas Vermaelen has scans today to ascertain the full extent of his injury whilst Eduardo has another hamstring strain to contend with, previous history suggesting his absence may be up to three weeks.

The former meant Sol Campbell came into the fray, Wenger unsure of whether the former England international will replace Vermaelen at the weekend or if someone else will, presumably Mikael Silvestre. The Belgian international left Villa Park on crutches according to his manager but whether his fibula is broken or not will become known today; an anxious wait for Wenger no doubt. The injury to Eduardo is of more immediate concern in that Arsene will have to decide pretty quickly whether or not it is serious enough to warrant a quick dip into the transfer market, perhaps a loan deal rather than permanent signing, with Nicklas Bendtner barely back to match fitness.

As for the match itself, Arsenal will be more disappointed of the two teams to have not won the game. Both would have felt equally aggrieved had they lost. Villa had woeful finishing to thank for ending the 90 minutes goalless – and the hand of Almunia – whilst the visitors were left cursing the woodwork. Stewart Downing had two glorious opportunities to make the evening worse but failed to force Almunia into even making a save. The first a tame effort over the bar came immediately before Campbell entered the fray whilst the second, perhaps the most criminal miss, saw him head wide weakly as Young’s cross evaded all to reach Downing at the far post.

It was a match that neither side dominated entirely; it ebbed and flowed with Arsenal coming closest to breaking the deadlock. That could have been different as early as the fourth minute, Agbonlahor shooting across Almunia, forcing the Spaniard to turn the ball aside. A frequent criticism of the Arsenal goalkeeper is that he cannot win matches with his performances. Last night, he may not have done that but he earned a point with the only save of note he had to make. Will it stop the critics? Doubtful but rather forlornly, there is the hope that it will make them think twice about condemning him so quickly.

Equally, Brad Friedel will be thanking the footballing gods for the intervention of the woodwork. Fabregas waltzed through the Villa penalty area as the interval approached, beating the Villa custodian with his shot only to see it rebound to safety from the base of the post. Rosicky in the second half was equally unlucky. Arshavin broke away from the Villa defence, his shot parried by Friedel, the rebound landing to Fabregas. The Spaniard set Rosicky who thundered his drive against the underside of the crossbar and before he could finish off the job, he and Ramsey got confused, the Czech eventually putting the ball into crowd.

It was a match high on effort but crucially for Arsenal, I think they missed Diaby more than any other player. The midfielder seems to excel in these matches, his workrate disguised by a languid style. He and Song are believed by Wenger to be doubtful for the weekend’s clash with United, Song apparently has a knock (and according to Wenger) looked knackered in Cameroon’s exit from the African Cup of Nations.

The injury to Vermaelen is worrying but until the full extent is known, there is little to be gained in panicking, running around shouting, “We’re all doomed“. The Frasers will have their day next week in any case if Wenger does not sign anyone, irrespective of the squads needs, wants or, if he so believes, the do-not needs or do-not wants.

The point gained is not two lost. Personally, I thought 8 out of 12 points from this run of four games would be enough to keep Arsenal in touch, ready to pounce. Two wins in the home games and a draw at Stamford Bridge will see that come true. It is interesting that Arsenal are being written off in that fixture, rather similar to last season. Let’s hope that the same result ensues.

’til Tomorrow

292 thoughts on “Villa Park Point IS A Good Result

  1. shotta-gunna says:

    Nasir Jones-Nasri @ 11:41 – You have to be awfully tone-deaf to not detect the xenophobia (polite word for racism) that influences much of the slating of the African and Afro-French players at Arsenal. Of course almost everybody (except Howard/Truly AFC who cannot hide his disdain for foreigners) is now on the Song, Diaby, Eboue bandwagon. But despite clear evidence that these are exceptionally talented youngsters who needed time to become good/great footballers, as recent as last August-September there was relentless criticism directed at them suggesting that Wenger’s indulgence has to do with their national origin. Like most hate-monger the language is very coded e.g. Wenger loves French players etc.

    Some posters play the game where they slate the foreigners and go easy on the British players. Quite frankly that seems to be the root of the criticism of Denilson. As Ole and others emphasize ND had a good, not great game, but bloggers and posters keep saying he is shite. Tony Gale on my TV feed reflected the bias of English commentators who believe he is an easy target because he simply doesn’t thump the ball in Row Z when under pressure but does everything to retain possession. I never heard similar criticism of Ramsey even though he had his challenges. How else do you explain the difference?

  2. consolsbob says:

    No argument shotta. Can’t be denied.

  3. chamakh says:

    zap,who do you want to win,egypt or algeria?

  4. anaconda says:

    Dave, should you put off your caps-lock and maybe use paragraphs there might be a chance that someone might actually read that rant.

  5. Limpar says:

    While there’s xenophobia in the media for sure (mostly to sell papers to idiots), I don’t think you can attribute all criticism by Arsenal fans of afro-french, african or any other nationality of player – to racism. Can you? I mean these are the same people who were calling for Arsene to recall Patrick Viera in the summer, they regularly salivate over Drogba and Essien – and many idolise Thierry, Wrighty, Rocky – even Viv Anderson(!)

    Arsenal FC’s match day support has long been one of the most racially diverse in England. Of course you’re going to get some racist idiots in a group of people that big (I’ve sat next to a few and they’re usually over-60yrs of age) but at Arsenal they are comparitively few and far between, and it’s something we can be proud of as Arsenal fans.

    The same people that are berating Denilson today were berating Theo on Sunday. I don’t think they’re racist – they’re just miserable.

  6. Matty Boy says:

    Shotta-Gunna – My understanding has always been that xenophobia and racism are two different things although both have obvious similarities. What you describe regarding the slating of African and Afro French players IS racism no two ways about it. I have to be honest and say I have never put the two together but the way you have described it I do think you have a point. Having said that Bentdner was unfairly and roundly criticised a season or two ago.

  7. Aaditya says:

    Song was crap yesterday, no physical presence.

  8. Finsburyparker says:

    French managers working in England who choose not to run their club like a caricature of an asset stripping vulture capitalist are an easy target for our press, owned by a bunch of asset stripping vulture capitalist caricatures. Just my humble opinion.

    Ka-Ching!
    (Said those true patriots, Harry, OOO00ozy, Rednose etc…)

    Clearly racism is just one mechanism used to undermine AW.

    Couldn’t find the exact quote from O’Neil last night,

    “He’s (AW) said some dumb things since he’s been over here…”

    There are many examples.

  9. EvilFiek says:

    What really cracks me up is how much different the reactions on here would’ve been if Cesc or Rosicky’s shots would’ve gone in. If we had won the game all those doomers would’ve stayed in their dark holes and there would be no Denilson slating, for example. The only reason Denilson is getting bullied by our own f*king fans today is because we didn’t win. Some people somehow think it’s his fault we didn’t win…

  10. Matty Boy says:

    In my first season at the Emirates I sat in front of a ‘fan’ who would constantly berate Robin Van Persie much to the amusement of all those around us who thought he was insane as on the whole Robin was having a great season. It got so bad I actually moved seats at the end of the season as I couldn’t stand it any longer.

    Some people follow the media or go with popular opinion, some are undoubtedly racist and let this form their dislike of certain players, some just like to have a moan and some like the bloke I sat near just see things differently.

  11. shotta-gunna says:

    A fews observation about Denilson – While he is wonderfully gifted technically with a higher than average football IQ, making him a vital member of any midfield trio selected by Wenger, at about 6′ and 180 lbs, he is never going to be another Alendre Song. Winning one-on-one physical battles with big lumbering forwarders and midfielders is never going to be his game. He is going to out-pass, out-tackle and out-intercept his opponents. This year he has added goal-scoring to his repertoire, a vital weapon of the modern midfielder especially in Wenger’s new system.
    The other thing I noticed over the last two games, while he is far from peak fitness and was truly knackered towards the end of 90 minutes, it was obvious he no Usain Bolt. It was almost amusing seeing him in that foot-race with Sidibe – he was truly beaten for pace. Yesterday, when he gave up that bad foul towards the end, he was in another foot race and lost. Once he is fit, we know he will play his socks off but please keep him out of any sprint over 25 yards. LOL!

  12. Gainsbourg69 says:

    Wow, the doom mongerers are out in force today. I wonder what they’ll do if we pull of winning the premier league. They sound like they want Arsenal to fail in order to be proven right.

  13. Finsburyparker says:

    Er, your lead has dropped from eleven to two, possibly five points.

    Well done.

  14. shotta-gunna says:

    Wikipedia says Denilson is 5’11″but had no info on his weight. I guess it is in the 180 lb plus or minus 10 lbs.

  15. Poliziano says:

    It seems Drogba weighs about 185lbs, so I doubt Denilson weighs 190lbs. In fact, he weighs about 150lbs. Middle age spread causes people to greatly over-estimate the weights of others.

  16. LimparAssist says:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzK9kMxDcG0&hl=en_GB&fs=1&]

  17. Passenal says:

    “Is this a chance to become the No1 striker? That is my plan. Is it achievable? Of course. Why am I so confident? It is simple. I am a good player. I’ve always had that belief. People ask me every time we speak ‘Why are you like that?’ and that’s just the way it is. If I didn’t think I could do it, I wouldn’t be standing here telling you I could.”

    I think Bendtner is unfairly slated and I don’t see what is wrong with what he is saying. To play for a top team, you have to be good enough and you have to believe you are good enough. This is what Arsene is trying to drum into his players. He believes they are good enough. He just needs them to believe it too. It would help if more of the supporters believed it and transmitted that to the team. They would be unstoppable if they had that backing. Instead they keep being fed doubt by an overly negative press and element of the support.

    Being a football fan is not about being objective or offering ‘constructive criticism’ or any other bullsh*t of that nature. Your ‘constructive criticism’ on a public forum is actually destructive and just provides succor to the enemy while the hacks in the media jump on and magnify that negativity. Support should be about 100% belief and backing for your team in order to give them that extra lift when it’s needed. After all, fan is short for fanatic and if you don’t know the meaning of fanatic, look it up in a dictionary or since you are on the computer Google it!

  18. Truly AFC says:

    If Song is fit then the midfield should be Cesc, Song and Nasri. Denilson will just get destroyed by Carrick and Fletcher and he has no trickery, pace or strength to dominate them. Sad that Arsene plays that crap every game even though not up to scratch.

  19. LimparAssist says:

    Carrick and Fletcher! Destroy Denilson! Ahahaha!

  20. LimparAssist says:

    Denilson has more trickery and pace in the tip of his Roger Johnson than Fletcher and Carrick have used in their entire (and entirely forgettable) careers.

  21. Zap says:

    looks like u came back dave fuckin idiot.

  22. .abc says:

    15.08.09 everton 1 — arsenal 6 diaby,rosicky,JD,nasri,fabianski,walcott,vela

    22.08.09 arsenal 4 — portsmouth 1 rosicky,JD,nasri,fabianski,walcott,vela

    29.08.09 manutd 2 — arsenal 1 fabregas,rosicky,JD,nasri,fabianski,walcott,vela

    12.09.09 mancity 4 — arsenal 2 arshavin,JD,nasri,fabianski,walcott,vela

    19.09.09 arsenal 4 — wigan 0 denilson,almunia,arshavin,JD,nasri,fabianski,walcott,vela

    26.09.09 fulham 0 — arsenal 1 denilson,eduardo,almunia,JD,nasri,fabianski,walcott

    04.10.09 arsenal 6 — blackburn 2 denilson,eduardo,almunia,fabianski,JD,nasri

    17.10.09 arsenal 3 — birmingham 1 denilson,eduardo,fabianski,JD,nasri

    25.10.09 westham 2 — arsenal 2 rosicky,denilson,fabianski,JD

    31.10.09 arsenal 3 — sp*rs 0 arshavin,walcott,denilson,rosicky,fabianski,JD

    07.11.09 wolves 1 — arsenal 4 bendtner,clichy,nasri,denilson,,fabianski,JD

    21.11.09 sunderland 1 — arsenal 0 RVP,gibbs,diaby,clichy,bendtner,nasri,fabianski,JD,rosicky

    29.11.09 arsenal 0 — chelsea 3 RVP,bendtner,diaby,clichy,gibbs,JD,rosicky

    05.12.09 arsenal 2 — stoke 0 eduardo,song,walcott, RVP,bendtner,diaby,clichy,gibbs,JD,rosicky

    13.12.09 liverpool 1 — arsenal 2 RVP,bendtner,diaby,clichy,gibbs,JD,rosicky

    16.12.09 burnley 1 — arsenal 1 traore,denilson,RVP,bendtner,clichy,gibbs,JD,rosicky

  23. Zap says:

    i’m half moroccan, half algerian chamakh and u know this, y ask who i’m supporting.

  24. Poliziano says:

    I agree with Bendtner’s assessment of himself. I’m looking forward to seeing him play in the big games that are coming up.

  25. Zap says:

    i agree with campbell whatever happens against manu we’ll still be in the race.

    who are chelsea playing on saturday?

  26. Matty Boy says:

    I am loathe to comment on idiotic posts as its playing into their hands BUT Dave is exactly how i imagined a Chelsea fan to be.

  27. Matty Boy says:

    Surely someone that moronic is not a real person but a Spud on a wind up.

  28. Harsh says:

    DAVE

    Vermaelen may miss that game, but he’s probably disappointed he didn’t get to eat Drogba as revenge. Don’t forget last season, we beat you at your place with the help of the linesman, just like you beat us in previous times through sketchy officiating

  29. notlager says:

    Chelski is said to be a ‘big’ club. Why don’t they have any internet blogs or discussion boards of their own?

  30. Poliziano says:

    They have, notlager, but they were very unpopular. It turned out their supporters couldn’t read and write. They therefore set up some remedial schools in an effort to create supporters who could particpate in the blogs and discussion boards. Dave is the first rotten fruit of those schools.

  31. consolsbob says:

    DAVE is all too real, I’m afraid. The face of chavdom.

    According to Orwell, the future is DAVE stamping his foot on human faces, forever.

    Well, not if we have anything to do with it.

    Actually 1984 can tell us a lot about the Premiership and how it is run by the FA and reported in the media.

    Couldn’t this be DAVE or any one of the simple twats who post like him?

    “We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent there will be no need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”

  32. notlager says:

    Poliziano, thanks for the information. Now I understand.

  33. DukeGoonem says:

    Whats the news on verminator?? will he be back??

  34. Ole Gunner says:

    Dave,

    You’ll be crying on May day when Arsenal win the league away to Blackburn.

    Your tears will be magnified when Abramovich decides it’s more fun owning a country and goes off to buy Tonga.

    Whatever happens, enjoy your time in the bragging stakes, you’ll soon be back to being the 4th biggest club in London

  35. Vince says:

    For some reason “Da Drog” and “General Anelka” made me laugh. General Anelka doesn’t seem very specific though…

  36. vp11 says:

    Arsenal needs the criticism, i want to believe it’s on this that the squad thrives but they seem to be losing their objective the moment they got to the top temporarily. In the last two games no consistent passing, villa dominated the game from beginning to the end and denilson should learn to impose himself in games not just being the silent worker, may be swapping eduardo and arshavin as the latter is more sturdy and off the ball runs are good………………. this should be seen as two points lost, but all hope is not lost there are still games left……… only time will tell

  37. Matty Boy says:

    vp11 – I hereby sentence you to read the comments from beginning to the end. 100 times.

  38. notlager says:

    Consolsbob, I totally agree with you. The FA and the whole media circus surrounding the PL act like a kind of Orwellian Ministry of Truth. Just take a look at yesterday’s ‘appalling insult’. The media were twisting and misquoting Arsene’s words on the brink of lying just to get an reaction out of a distressed O’Neil.

    http://gingersforlimpar.blogspot.com/2010/01/was-martin-oneill-arsene-wenger-tiff.html

    Sky justice determines what is wrong and what is right. But sadly they are just doing what their customers asked them for.

  39. Darius Stone says:

    Consols. I thought you meant that. Is it that backward? LOL!

    Unfortunately, I don’t do conventional – and I also don’t believe the Americans went to the moon.

  40. Zap says:

    4.fucking.nil

    im embarrasd and humiliated

  41. Passenal says:

    Algeria just lost their heads Zap. The goalkeeper was lucky to stay on the pitch as long as he did because the referee could have sent him off in the first half after his reaction to the penalty. It’s a shame really because it ended up being so one-sided it was not much of a contest.

  42. Gunner4Ever says:

    Wow 4-0 what happened Zap? And 8 players on the field?

  43. Zap says:

    hey g4e.

    stupid red cards, they should learn if they didnt make those stupid fouls we would have a bit of pride but no. 4-0. embarrasing.

    where was the fight we had in the qualifiers.

  44. 1 loose Cannon says:

    Zap -that was a very disapointing game. I thought the ref killed this game it all started with the first booking of an Algerian player who clearly didn’t foul the keeper but also Algeria should’ve kept their cool and the goalie didn’t handle himself well after the penalty. I wanted Algeria to win but It was just silly in the end.

  45. Zap says:

    hi 1loose cannon. the goalkeeper shudve been sent off anyway in the 1st half.

  46. Zap says:

    anything other than a win vs manu will actually make me depressed.

  47. FunGunner says:

    @ Passenal

    No one else has said it, so I will – hear, bloody hear! Fans support – that’s the beginning and end of the job description.

  48. Gunner4Ever says:

    It’s ok Zap, at least they’re in the World Cup 🙂

  49. 1 loose Cannon says:

    Zap- Yes he was a bit stupid to head butt the ref having said that the first Algerian player shouldn’t have been sent off, one yellow was very, very soft and the penalty should have been retaken , that led to the Algerian players losing they heads but in the end they only have themselves to blame. To win a game you have to keep your cool even if the decisions are unfair.
    cheer up! Arsenal will smash the Mancs on Sunday

  50. Bilesh says:

    Algerian dogs get what they deserve in the end.

  51. 1 Number10 says:

    I FEEL SORRY FOR AN ILLITERATE *** F**KER LIKE dave

  52. DukeGoonem says:

    Well done Egypt. They play the Arsenal way, shame there not at the WC.

  53. Jaguar says:

    All AKBs are mugs.We are gonna win nothing with that wanker Wenger at our helm.

  54. Maria says:

    28.01.2010
    Arshavin post- match interview

    EPL. Birmingham. Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal

    A draw. Disappointing …. Moreover, other Birmingham team failed to beat Chelsea. Zhirkov’s club won 3-0, he went out on the pitch in the 81st minute of match. This victory brought “aristocrats” to the top of the table .The gap between rivals is getting wider. 0-0. Well, it could have been better, but today, Arsene Wenger and his team will return to London with only one point …. Catastrophe? We will ask Andrey Arshavin, who spent the whole game on the pitch again….

    arshavin.eu: Andrey, you are upset ..

    AA: Like the entire team. We came to
    Birmingham for the victory … I liked the mood and the spirit of the game, but I’m not satisfied with the result. As expected, Aston Villa was fighting. This is a strong team that knows how to play long passes, group attacks, and how to use their techniques. And today they showed it…

    arshavin.eu: On the one hand, the fans didn’t see the goals, but on the other hand, I guess, they surely liked the fierceness of the game and determination not to give in during the whole match?

    AA: I think that today the viewers saw difficult football, the teams parted with a fighting draw.

    arshavin.eu: I can not recall gunners leaving the pitch with the score 0:0.

    AA: It means that our defense had a good match. They didn’t allow our rival to create 100 percent moments at our gate.

    arshavin.eu: The game became more intense at the rival’s gate only when Arshavin and Fabregas created something together. The other players were somehow lost today!

    AA: I don’t think that only Cesc and I brought intensity into the game. On the other hand, we are those players who should lead the game…

    arshavin.eu: Arsenal managed to outplay AV in the first London game. Today is a draw. What prevented you from winning this time?

    AA: In that game well-rested Cesc broke into the game and decided its outcome…. I recall that game: in the first half we played without the ball, so very little came out. Although, at the very end of the first half of the game, we had an opportunity but we didn’t manage to handle the ball right. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to score in the first half after that moment.
    I think that in the second half we got used to the rival, to the game, to the pitch. At times, we conducted decent combinations, but were unable to complete them with the accurate strikes. Perhaps, we were in a hurry, or just made wrong decisions in the final stages of the attacks. Actually, we needed only one goal for the victory.

    arshavin.eu: Is it a lack of rest? May be the tiredness affects team’s actions?

    AA: Not really. I think that we are in a good physical shape right now.

    arshavin.eu: Today’s injuries didn’t allow Thomas Vermaelen and Eduardo to continue the match.
    AA: I hope that they will be OK by the next match with Manchester United.

    arshavin.eu: The distance from Chelsea has increased …

    AA: Of course, it’s not good. But, let’s talk about it after February 10.

    arshavin.eu: Today is January 27.

    AA: A day of the Leningrad blockade lifting – a great Day. 900 days of sufferings that my countrymen and my family endured. My grandmother Zoya Ivanovna is celebrating this day too. We should be grateful to all these people who defended our Hero City of Leningrad. Thank you!

  55. Dupsffokcuf says:

    We are going to win nothing with fans like Jaquar at the helm.

  56. Dupsffokcuf says:

    Having read all the comments I can honestly say that some posters are real idiots. All they want is to brag to their ‘mates’ about cups.

    It took ole purple nose years to build from youth. Since then he’s always paid millions for players.

    This season the league is open to any team who has a good run of games in Feb, Mar, Apr. Any team in the top 3 can do that. As an Arsenal fan I think we can do it with players coming back from injury.

    If RVP can come back in April what a boost that could be for the last few games.

  57. spit yo game says:

    That’s because football is all about what trophy’s you can win,Do you think when cesc leaves he will talk about the lovely football he played at arsenal or do you think he would rather have a few winners medals to look at after his football life is done..

  58. Dupsffokcuf says:

    We are talking about fans not players. Of course Cesc wants to win but we as fans need to support Cesc in that endeavour.

  59. Dupsffokcuf says:

    Should have said:

    We as fans need to support all our players in that endeavour.

  60. lordgunner says:

    football is not about trophy.only glory hunter think this.
    When i m going to the stadium with mates ,i m going to watch my team giving his best to win and have great time meet new people from a different background.Watching football is like a drug with high and low.
    As for the players true ,if you want to keep your best player happy ,trophy can be positive.As for cesc ,spit yo game ,when he leave he will be talking how arsenal giving his big break to play regularly at the highest level,how wenger make him the player he is today.i m sure he will hoping that before he leave ,he left us with few title .

  61. lagooner says:

    Very excited about Man U. I think they’re going to come out flat after the emotion of the Man City game, and we’ll jump all over them in the first 20 minutes. Projected line-ups with matchup prediction.

    Almunia vs VDS (edge Man U)
    Sagna vs Rafael/GN (edge Arsenal)
    Clichy vs Evra (edge Man U)
    Gallas/Campbell vs Evans/Vidic (even)
    Cesc/Song vs Carrick/Fletcher (edge Arsenal)
    Rosicky/Nasri vs Valencia/Giggs (edge Arsenal)
    Arshavin/Bendtner vs Rooney/Berbatov (even)

    Arsenal 3 up, Man U 2 up and 2 even.

    2-1 reverse for Arsenal (Nasri, Arshavin to score for Arsenal and Valencia for Man U)

    More important, if we can walk away from the next 3 games within 5 points of Chelsea, then I think we can catch them down the easier home stretch. Looks like our options are increasing at last.

  62. Maria says:

    Evra is NOT better than Clichy. Agree with the rest though.

  63. Bergkamp Ghoulfest says:

    Arshavin/Bendtner vs Rooney/Berbatov (even)???

    Not sure about that one. Hope you’re right!

  64. lagooner says:

    new thread, but Maria…I would rather have Clichy in my team than Evra (largely because he’s not a king-sized ass like Evra), but on current form Evra edges it.

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