Brighton Preview: Is Jack The Lad?

Arsenal travel to Brighton to face a team to whom they have never lost in a knockout tournament. There have not been frequent meetings between the two sides though, this the first since 1988’s fourth round tie at The Goldstone Ground where Arsenal emerged victorious by the odd goal in three. At least this time, those travelling by train are not going to see their tickets fly out of an open window, are they Neil?

The Arsenal scorers that day were Perry Groves and Kevin Richardson, the latter the type of midfielder that Jack Wilshere seems destined to develop into, albeit with more obvious flair. Having been keen to play down the hype surrounding his mercurial charge, Arsène succumbed to temptation yesterday and spoke of Wilshere‘s potential in an understated way,

The potential is there of course. But I’m not national-team coach – you should ask that question to Roy Hodgson, who will be happy to talk about it. In the national team you have a massive pressure straight away. It’s important that the player gets to the stage where he develops first completely into an accomplished football player and then takes responsibility to take care of other people.

He is naturally a guy who is not scared of anything on the football pitch and that is usually the sign of a leader. If you are asking me if I will take the captaincy away from Vermaelen, no. It is not a question that holds me at the moment. But do I think Jack will be captain of this club one day – yes, of course.

The Arsenal captaincy has become a poisoned chalice, the equivalent of handing in a transfer request. If that is the case, keep it away from Wilshere please. That he is being spoken of as a potential England captain is the media jumping the gun once more, their previous starlets have failed to deliver so it is time to put the weight of fifty years of expectation on another’s shoulders. Given he has yet to complete a full season since returning from injury, such thoughts are surely not in his mind with the first step following re-establishment into the Arsenal side being inclusion in the England squad. Not that there is much competition in the midfield.

For his club, it seems that he is favourite to be captain today, a theory springing from Wednesday. Will that happen? Were Bacary Sagna in better form, I suspect not but his own form must be occupying his mind and the captaincy would surely distract. Others who might be considered include Mertesacker and, well, we are running out of candidates if you are looking for inspirational players. It seems likely that Wilshere will become Arsenal’s youngest captain today.

There won’t be many changes from Wednesday; we don’t have the personnel. Mixed signals came with Emmanuel Frimpong’s loan to Fulham; is he just getting match practice or being prepared for sale? Moving out to make space for incoming players, Diame is still the man insists today’s papers, along with David Villa. Frimpong might be joined by Carl Jenkinson in going on loan with apparently Stoke interested. Yea Gods although he might return and be the only Arsenal defender capable of dealing with a corner. I can’t see that happening, the loan I mean, with too much pressure being put on the defence in the instant that injury strikes.

Thomas Vermaelen is out with Arteta and Coquelin not fit for return although Abou Diaby is. As harsh as it seems, Aaron Ramsey is the likeliest of the midfield trio that dominated West Ham to make way for the Frenchman. Whilst there might be a temptation for the manager to cast half an eye on the visit of Liverpool in midweek, his words suggested that Arteta is likely to make that match. It offers the chance of rotation, potentially with Oxlade-Chamberlain coming in on the right. There is still no depth on the bench in attack so maybe Theo Walcott dropping down to rest ahead of the upcoming Premier League games. I cannot see much advantage though in changing a winning team too much, especially in what is a tricky cup-tie.

The line-up I would expect to see is:

Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Diaby, Cazorla, Wilshere; Walcott, Giroud, Podolski

Brighton have come on a long and turbulent journey since the last meeting between the two sides, Liam Brady linking the two clubs currently and today’s tie resonates with history. For the Hove club, they hope history will repeat itself. Their third round victory over Newcastle will lead to a return to Wembley as it did thirty years ago whilst Arsenal want to emulate the feat of Terry Neill’s side who beat Brighton 2 – 0 at Highbury on this day in an FA Cup fourth round tie en route to meeting West Ham in the 1980 final. They definitely want to avoid their defeat at York City twenty nine years ago today.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

390 thoughts on “Brighton Preview: Is Jack The Lad?

  1. After tonight’s evidence, it is clear we need proper cover at LB…Theteam looks soooo much better with Gibbs in. It is pretty glaring…

  2. Not the most convincing, but a win nonetheless. Giroud’s confidence is building which is a huge positive. He is starting to look pretty lethal.

  3. Vice – it is huge – he looks like he believes he will score.

    Can’t overestimate the value of that in a striker.

    What happens if he picks up a knock or more serious injury though…?

  4. Relief! Roll on Arsenal… Next, a tough league match against Liverpool. I hope we are more solid defensively. Certainly Sagna and Gibbs should do better.

  5. Theo, JW and Gibbs = quality impact!

    Literally raised the quality and cohesion of the entire team.

    Well done, Olivier – excellent.

    Well done, Arsenal – job done.

    Let’s hope for a good home fixture!

  6. @Anicoll5

    I am not sure why you are trying to twist your original statement, other than to try and justify your changing point.

    You clearly stated that the money did not exist, whereas it does exist. That is the point, the interesting part is how people choose to mantipulate the facts to suit their own ends. The fact is that there is/was 154.6M in cash and short term deposits. Now you are right to say some/much of that money may be allocated elsewhere in time. Clearly the writer of the original article is using that money to suit his aim which is not any different than you are doing right now, in pretending it didn’t/doesn’t exist.

    Have you got it yet?

  7. @MA
    Maybe you have misread Anicoll? I can’t seem to find him denying anywhere that those 150m exist. Or was that from a debate on a different day?

  8. although this mainly our bench playing today there ar estill to many basics were falling short of. any win away from home in the cup is a good win but instead of players becoming interchangeable players comi9ng in are adopting the same errors as the first team.if we are going to acheive the consistancy we all crave alot of work on the training pitch is still needed

  9. Maceo

    I didn’t even consider of that! Imagine saying that a while back.

    To think, Theo’s the old man of the bunch at 23!


    It’s a worry.

    After two confidence building wins, wouldn’t it be great if we refused to rest on our laurels and added to some quality to the squad.

    Giroud is coming good, which is fantastic, but he is our only genuine centre forward. Theo and Podolski are doing great at scoring in their positions as wide forwards in a 4-3-3, but they need to stay there and shouldn’t be presented as the preferred alternatives to the central role. Of course, they can/could do a decent job, and may even be a better option at a particular moment in a particular match, but why knowingly weaken a position of strength.

    Anyway, great week for The Arsenal and the gooner fraternity.

    Tick tock

  10. Good post MGK – this game highlighted our inconsistencies and, excepting the result momentarily, had as many negatives as positives.

    Like most I doubt we wil strengthen but then I lost faith in Theo and know AW well enough not to second guess him by now!

    Tick, and indeed, tock.

  11. We were not at our best but still an excellent win. We did what we needed to do. Best thing is to see giroud starting to score with his feet. Both goals were excellent. . If he can continue to play well and stay healthy we are a very tough team.

  12. well done to the red & white.
    No friggin’ replay thankfully.
    OG was my MOTM but credit goes to Mozart, Poldi & Rambo who all put in a good shift.

    on to the next round gooners!

  13. Bill, another positive for today was the performance of Rambo, again. If he can sort out his tackling stats then he could be competition / alternative to Arteta.

  14. Today’s victory over Brighton had me reflecting how terrifying it is that so many people on this and other blogs are better at assessing the Arsenal squad than Arsene Wenger? Of course none of the various proponents of the following views will take ownership but here were were some of the most popular opinions until lately:
    * Walcott will never be a good enough forward for Arsenal, he is just an athlete with no football brain,etc.
    * Oliver Giroud can never replace Van Traitor, only good enough for the French League, etc.
    * Aaron Ramsey has no future as a footballer at Arsenal, he should be sent on loan to another Premiership team or even on loan, etc.
    * We can never rely on Diaby, he will never last 90 minutes etc.
    * It is foolhardy to rely on return of Rosicky from another injury, etc.
    * It is too early to think of Gibbs as a replacement for Clichy, Santos is a better player, etc.
    * It is criminal for Wenger to believe this team is good enough to compete, we must make new signings this window, etc.

    Every one such respectable “opinion” this season contrary to that of the Manager, has been struck down with barely a whimper from the proponents, yet they continue. I suspect that sometime in the future YW will be forced to put up a warning prior to entering these pages: “Reading is bad for your mental health.”

  15. Shame we didn’t put enough work in during the first half again but we showed fight in the second half and it paid off. Ramsey had another solid one – one of his problems has been giving away possession cheaply, now he has all that responsibility in that deep lying role he seems to be much more considered with his passing, perhaps this could turn into a special role for him?

    Giroud was sex, that run he made, controlled the pass (was it Diaby or Rosicky who smashed it long to him?) and then got a decent shot off was beautiful, really would loved that to have gone in, a hattrick would have capped off a fine display.

  16. sahil you cant mention that twitter mate on this site anymore
    maceo its some little plonker who got a banner made saying goodbye arsene thanks for the memories

  17. Let’s all sing the song then….all together now.

    Olly Giroud….scoring two
    Olly Giroud …..scoring two.


  18. Gervinho “It’s amazing how good I play without people blaming me for the disappointment in their lives.”
    boo boys getting a kickin from alll sides today

  19. Shotta

    Your posts show you to be an intelligent person but to be honest, that post at 6.05pm was utterly daft.

    I am not sure how you claim a squad in 6th is competitive but we knew it wasn’t good enough to win the league. Judgement will be reserved but if they don’t finish top four, there’s a problem with your comment immediately. If winning at a lower division side is the definition of competitive, Houston we have a problem.

    Gibbs? Most are horrified with Santos’ inclusion – I’m really confused now. Rosicky has made 2 substitute appearances all season and has a history of problems. To deride anyone who is nervous about relying on his fitness is utterly foolish, as is relying on Diaby’s fitness for the rest of the season. You would take both but if you think that they have proven they are ready for two games a week, there’s something wrong with your judgement.

    As for the Walcott and Giroud observations, they are the preserve of the likes of Waddle and Burley. Don’t be so stupid as to believe those who chirp them are Arsenal supporters.

    The only one you got right was about Ramsey.

    The problem is you’ve made yourself look rather silly by making such statements.

  20. Well, it wasn’t Macclesfield but Accrington Stanley. Never mind, still a bloody awful 0-0 draw. Still, a live crap game is better than a streamed good game.

    Well done the lads. Haven’t seen any of the action just following the score at Home Park. I just love the FA Cup though.

    Bloody brilliant.


    Looking at your point, it seems you don’t rate Santos. That’s OK, if I look at the standard of your posts, I’d suggest you are the Santos of blogging. Perhaps we ought to deport you somewhere else?

  22. yogi i think your being a little naive i have heard “ARENAL supporters” say all the quotes shotta was pertaining to todays win might not have been the nail in the coffin for these people but recent events have moire than highlighted their hypocracy

  23. A far from convincing result, but in context the win is what matters.

    I feared a bit of a disjointed performance, but it was the “switching off” that worried me the most.

    On the positive side, Giroud is really starting to find his feet, Ramsey looks like he’s back on an upward trajectory, it was great to see Rosicky back out on the pitch, and it looks like we have several options now, Wenger must just implement incremental rotation to keep the squad fresh and strong.

    That said, I suspect I hope in vain, but we really do need another genuine striker before the window closes.

  24. Even if they did it would have been a few but Shotta being Shotta comes in with his sweeping high horse brandishing statement condemning everyone as doomers.

  25. Yogi
    I’m afraid I’m with Sol on Santos – his best contribution was giving away the corner that led to a Brighton goal.

    Giroud was excellent again. He lacks out and out pace but has everything else – both goals were outstanding and he was unlucky not to complete the hat-trick

  26. yw in the time between shottas post and yours i doubt you could of checked many comments but as i cant prove that ill have to take your word however even if they wernt on here the gist of the post was correct

  27. What a miserable git you are Shotta,,, after a win too. Shame on you.
    And for your information the main advocate here for Walcot not being good enough was you main man George.. He is gone so I really don’t get what you on about at all.

  28. Ah, well, duke. My excuse is that, when I was a regular Argyle watcher, which I was for many. many years, we never played the likes of Macclesfield, Accrington Stanley or Dagenham and Redbridge. In fact Argyle spent most of it’s time in the old Second Division.

    Therefore all these teams are unknown to me. They mean nothing and do not figure in my history or experience.

    Ergo, they’ll all the bloody same. Rubbish.

    Unfortunately, these days, Argyle, who were founded in the same year as Arsenal but celebrated their 125th birthday by going bankrupt, are also rubbish.

  29. @Yogi
    But then again, Shotta first of all said “on this and other blogs” as well as “some of the most popular opinions until lately”. He doesn’t specify a time frame (for example the bit about Gibbs not being good enough/Santos the better player is so 2011/2012 season) but I am confident of seeing all the points he has made surface at some point on here or the Arseblog comments section.

  30. Bob I remember watching Fulham v plymouth at craven cottage in what , it must have been early nineties. Both were in the 2 nd. Div Then.

  31. So what if they did evil? I have had a lot of run ins with people saying Walcott is not good enough and now they say he is, same with Gibbs nearly everyone on here said Santos was better now they know he is not but who cares who was right or not. it’s opinions they can change it does not bother me I’m not going to be a smarmy git and then call others out on it.

    Shotta is obsessed with trying to prove he is top of the class. It’s childish.

  32. @ least Sagna & Santi got some rest…Jack, Theo & Gibbs a litte less…TR, Jenks, Santos & AD some major minutes…and we still came up trumps!

    ..a handsomely rewarding game that was.

    next stop the Scousers.

  33. @dukey
    I guess Shotta isn’t happy with people not eating their fair share of the humble pie being served to them and I can understand him in that.

  34. Evil, aob

    It was a lame attempt at being divisive and provocative, all in all a flawed, pointless and altogether naff post.

    But of course, Shotta can argue his case, as indeed YW his, so I should shut up.

    Nevertheless, I do find it strange how people get off telling YW what the deal is in his own gaffe. Jonny got accused of ass licking for making a similar point the other day: the irony being those saying such things were more than happy to do so (kiss ass, that is) when the comments suited their own particular rhetoric.

    If humble pie is to be served, it’s perhaps best that it’s not half-baked, lukewarm slop.

  35. @mgk
    My intention was solely to point out to Yogi that Shotta’s post is not only referring to this blog or posts made in the last couple of days.

  36. Right, Evil. Well I’m sure YW appreciated your assistance in helping him to infer what was written in Shotta’s post.

    That humble pie needs a little extra custard or something; as well as being undercooked, it’s quite dry and bitter.

  37. Agree with SV. Best wait to the end of the season before dishing any form of pie. Then those with a point can make them either way.

  38. First you’ll have to go and find these straw men you have invented, Shotta. Apologise to them and I imagine all will be fine. 😉

  39. Spot on, Jonny!!!!

    Some people, somewhere, at as some point, have said …

    Doesn’t really work, does it?

  40. Yogi, it would seem that the illusion of your being a Stanley Mathews bench- warmer for The Arsenal and match winner forsooth, has not gone to your head! An early season hatching from the spawn of a toad?

    Anicoll5, you are correct and the other geezer is way, way out.

    Note 16 of the last accounts, reveals under “accruals and deferred income” as £86 millions. Note 17 reveals “deferred income” was £12.699 millions. Both sums net of Value Added Tax.

    Stuart Wisely would have kept the financial books open well into June 2012, to reduce the “accruals” to a minimum.

    Deferred income is of course Advance Season Tickets sales for the new season 2012-2013, and perhaps advertising and sponsorship with the digiboards and match programmes to set up, for the new season. Why any company would pay in May 2012, escapes me.

    The deferred income in Note 17 can be ignored, as this is payment in advance for the executive boxes for 2013-2014 season and perhaps, beyond. We are not told.

    My VHV is that a conservative £80 millions advance payments for tickets for the season 2012-2013, emphasizes what a great job Tom Fox and Ivan Gazidis are doing.

    Adding the £80 millions, the £12.699 millions and the VAT on £80 millions, over two thirds of the Cash at the Bank is for tickets sold, for games yet to be played. The £80 millions is held in a clients’ account, to be drawn on as the league and ALL the cup matches are played.

    Further, on Page 20 of the 2011-2012 Financial Report, we are told that the Barratt money is being paid in installments over 2 years, beginning 2012-2013. The costs, estate agency, solicitors will be recognized in the 2012-2013 Financial Report.

    Any accountant will tell the world, that the £70-80 millions for The Arsenal transfer budget is “bunkum”. It is at least £50 millions overstated! See above.

    The Financial Report 2011-2012 is available to download from, free of charge. Check it out and “smell the real coffee”.

  41. I`ll stick my hand up over Santos v Gibbs.

    Last season I thought Santos did pretty well & I remember the consternation when he was unnecessarily injured in Europe. I felt Gibbs had under performed a little & needed to up his game.

    This season however Gibbs has come on leaps & bounds whilst Santos for whatever reasons has stank the place out.

    That`s football

    Nice Reading gag Yogi btw

  42. The straw man is real enough Johnny. He simply gets a new name daily. Diaby, Ramsey yesterday; who tommorow?

  43. Paulie

    Not quite as good as the one on Twitter just now or so I thought:

    ‏@DmitryMD Dick Law in Italy?
    ‏@Yogis_Warrior Yes, that’s what got Berlusconi in trouble…
    @DmitryMD never expected that Dick Law is so powerful


  44. Shotta

    Diaby? You can’t rely on his fitness, you take each game as a bonus. We’ve seen this season alone that he can’t last a full campaign at the moment.
    Ramsey? I agreed with you.

  45. So, in a nutshell, what have we realistically got to spend then Notoverthehill?


    That maybe true, but I bet you didn’t dismiss people as being stupid for thinking differently. I bet you didn’t present your preference for Santos as fact, using his experience and Brazil caps as certification of an opinion. There’s a palpable difference between saying what you believe, and believing that everything you say is 100% right.

    For the record, I’ve always opted for Gibbs 😉

  46. Moaning for tomorrow too now eh!
    At least you got all your bases covered.

    What has happened to Santos? I remember him being rather good last season.

  47. I haven’t seen any poster on here, whom I take remotely seriously, slag off Ramsey. A few cunts but none of them are here now and we’d all agree with you there anyway.

    Again most people love and sympathise with Diaby and Rosicky but if AW is gambling on them then it’s a big gamble based on past evidence.

    Today’s game does nothing to change that.

  48. Pistol

    “Walcot not being good enough was you main man George.. He is gone so I really don’t get what you on about at all.”

    Top call! I reckon our lad who can’t do owt but run could make close to 30 goals and 20 assists (in all comps, admittedly) by the end of the season.

    Theo, Theo!!!

  49. @mgk
    In all honesty, I expected better from you. I know that the fishy guy can’t let any opportunity pass by to have a cheap shot at George, probably courtesy of having his confidence crushed in a discussion with him long in the past, but to you to join in?
    Well, if you are intent in participating in “Lets take cheap shots at those who aren’t around any more”-week please point out where George said anything along those lines of Theo not being good enough. Because last time I remember George arguing that Theo is not our best player and there shouldn’t be our highest paid player, but I think you fully well understand that this is different from saying that a player is not “good enough”.

  50. YW,

    Poor Dmitry – that one went 30,000 feet over his head.

    On Ramsey,

    I remember the gut wrenching feeling I had when he broke his leg. He`d looked a real talent & an absolute star in the making but it was obvious when he came back that the wounds were not just physical.

    A couple of years on & his form has been patchy at best with fans, particularly at home getting on his back.

    People have to remember that with some players these things take time.

    If his very recent upturn in form is the start of him becoming the player we thought he was going to become it will have been be worth the wait.

  51. I would confirm that the gist, if not every detail, of Shotta’s points as a true and accurate record of many, many previous themes in debates on ACLF.

    Ramsey was indeed a popular candidate for “send him out on loan”, early this season, and that despite his unrecognised shift last season. A small majority seem to have concluded that Walcott was not up to consistent standard, as a forward, until recently. Giroud’s early spell attracted derision as a potential first choice central striker this season, although many started to notice “potential”. Gibbs was regarded as an injury risk and a long way off the level of Cole and Clich, until this season. Diaby and Rosicky are moot points, one way or other, they have been injured. His fifth game back, Diaby is understandly not 100%. I suspect like Jack we will see him by about his 8, 9, 10th game. That assist was memorable though. It just seems like any loss of form is quickly taken as proof that player X or Y is simply not good enough, usually to show that AW refuses to spend the 150m that some here “know he has”, the same 150m that NOTH shows is more like 20m; or up to 50m if we use borrowing rights. There are others, notably Jenks when he arrived, Gervinho of late, Santos.

    The point is, simply, that a poor or ineffective game or a little spell of poor form does not automatically reflect a player’s level of overall contribution. Santos looks way off his form of last year. What does it mean? I have no clue. Maybe he has the flu. Maybe he lost his girlfriend. Gervinho had a terrible game or two in November. What does that mean? I haven’t the foggiest.

    It cuts both ways too. Ox, ever popular, actually still has quite a lot to learn. Santi, widely praised, has a tendancy to drift in and out of games. Mikel, hugely respected, is human and gets injured. Kos has dropped a tad and Per allowed a shocker of a goal today, Chewie too made a youth team mistake after a superhuman save. Sagna has been topsy-turvy and certainly culpable in the Chelsea loss.

    It’s the Arsenal fan inferiority complex. This team cannot be good enough because it’s not and we don’t have the big names any more, we lie in sixth, we are inconsistent. Fact is, it’s not too shabby, and there are grounds for optimism we will get there. Transfers in now might assist the process but highly unlikely that will be the deciding factor. I think Giroud, Lukas, Theo, Jack, Gibbs and Santi amongst others are showing what is going to be the deciding factor.

  52. first point..i thought the problem we had with ramsey wasnt actually ramsey but was arsene playing ramsey on the wing..??

    so all ramseys recent form has shown is that arsene was a tactical none genius for the first half of the season and the fans who were discussing the ramsey debate (the sensible ones) had a point..

  53. I’m sorry Evil, but is it not George who frequently refers to Theo as “forest”? You can probably add to that he still thinks that he wasn’t worth the contract that he has secured, but I’m not trawling through previous posts to find a quote, and as you rightly point out, he isn’t here to defend himself.

    Pistol was right-Shotta was, perversely and ironic as it may seem, was inadvertently referring to George when he was calling out the Theo bashers.

  54. second point
    isnt that the first time diaby and rosicky have played in the same team for 100 years??

    if i were playing the lottery and my numbers finally all came in together at the same time after years of playing and i won a zillion quid i’d feel vindicated and id show everbody my arse and tell them to sniff my nuts..

    but if im following a football club and my players finally come in at the same time after years of waiting and we beat brighton in the cup, thats still not going to change my opinion we need more players who have better fitness records..

  55. JJ,

    Agreed – consistently playing Ramsey wide hasn`t worked. He`s too one paced. Much more at home centrally.

    Also agree about Diaby & Rosicky. Is there a solar eclipse happening today ?

  56. Yogi

    How can you allow JJ to invite people to look at his arse and sniff his nuts? That’s inflammatory stuff and not anodyne enough for ACLF of late…

  57. Been here befor re Ramsey JJ, he’s a midfielder we all knowe that. He’s played a few game out of position for specific tactical reasons. He does an awful lot of hard yards according to the stats. That means he runs not just long distances but runs at his maximum or close to it for alot of the distance he covers.This means when we face some of the most athletic full backs and wingers in the league you will see Ramsey deployed on the wing. You can of coarse disagree with that descision but that “nontactical” descision JJ is not taken on a whim.

  58. Not really, ZP.

    This site is not a home to those who habitually belittle our players, nor do I recognise shotta’s view of it.

    This squad is decent. Very good players, could do with a couple of special additions to lift it up a level. That’s about the sum of it.

    Really, that’s all the most critical here are saying. Many are not enamoured of the ownership and senior management but then, why should anyone be of millionaires and businessmen with no Arsenal in their make up?

    All this, ‘right fan, wrong fan’ stuff is just precious.

  59. @ZimPaul at 10:11 pm

    What a wise and observant chap you are ZP. Love it. Keep up the great posts…

  60. @MGK
    I am sure George isn’t the only one that thinks that Theo shouldn’t be our best paid player. but that’s how the club values him. I remember that particular “Forrest” quote, but was that unfair on Theo? Isn’t that his main role in the club, at least for now? To run fast, so he can beat his marker with pace, set up chances for others and score goals himself? If Theo wasn’t the fastest footballer in the world, he wouldn’t have made it at the top. Now, thankfully, he has added clinical finishing to his skills (or rather: he added that last season, but back then the popular trend was to call for Ox to be given a chance instead of Theo), but that still doesn’t make him a versatile player. He has, in essence, still only one dimension to his game, which is why the CF experiment was so short-lived. He might add a bit more to his game and become a more complete striker, but for now, he is a runner. But then again, being a really good runner and finisher can be better than being a “complete” footballer.

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