129 Comments

Arsenal vs West Ham: The Sweet Bitter Taste of Victory

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Arsenal’s 4:1 margin of victory over West Ham while convincing was no easy romp in the park.  The game took place in the presence of a hugely, omnipresent emotional backdrop triggered by Arsene’s announcement last Friday of his intention to resign at season-end after 22 years. As the television cameras made obvious, the Emirates was filled to the rafters and the atmosphere was electric. Clearly every game, ‘til the last of the season, will be like a public viewing of the mortal remains of the great man. Obviously supporters will have the opportunity to show their respect and appreciation for Wenger, but unfortunately it will provide cover for those who reviled and disrespected him to pretend otherwise. So much of what is on display is maudlin and distasteful but it is typical of the auto-mourning by the Twitter and Facebook generation. Much of the hype and hullabaloo is the inevitable result of the marriage of convenience between professional football and the commercial broadcasters who now provide the lion’s share of Premier League revenue.

1st Half

It was evident from the start that West Ham were up for the occasion. They hadn’t come to North London to roll over and have their tummies tickled. Despite being without four (4) of their regular starters, the Arsenal team tried to impose their passing rhythm on the game from the off but the Hammers would have none of it. They pressed and harassed every player in red and to shutdown the passing lanes. Despite West Ham’s best efforts, by the 3rd minute, in a move that was ominous, Aaron Ramsey burst through the midfield to round off a passing move and fire away at goal. It was a statement; Arsenal was determined to create goal-scoring chances in contrast to the paucity of attempts at Newcastle, a week earlier.

As the game unfolded, the home team and the visitors traded blows. Hart must have been happy to see a headed corner by Koscielny sail over the bar in the 8th minute. Shortly after, the Hammers opened up the Arsenal defense with a slick series of passes letting their J. Maro get off a good shot. Minutes after being culpable for a defensive error, there was an outstanding last ditch tackle by Mustafi  to prevent Lanzini getting off a shot. On the 14th minute, Arnautovic in a 1 vs 1 with Mustafi, following a long ball down the side, as the German contested the pass but falling on his backside, the Swiss international moved inside and drove wide of Ospina.  Bellerin then blazed a shot over the bar in the 22nd minute. Two minutes later Welbeck let fly a fierce left-footed shot to left of Hart. 33rd minute, there is a foul on Danny 20 yards away on the right and Xhaka’s free kick is over the wall but straight at the keeper. 38th minute and Arnautovic slams Koscielny while backing-in but rolls around holding his ankle as if he is the victim. Happily, the rotund, corpulent Lee Mason, isn’t fooled and awards the freekick to Arsenal. One minute later, the obligatory red mist descends on Xhaka and he goes in for a 2-footed tackle earning him a yellow card. 40th minute, Elneny and Noble go for a 50:50 ball. In my view Noble is late and there is a clash of boots mid air and Elneny hits the deck with his ankle rolled under him. The usually calm, unruffled Egyptian demonstrates violently he is in great discomfort and the physio scampers on. No surprise he is taken off on a stretcher and is replaced by the now locks-free Maitland-Niles. (Couldn’t help but observe he is a handsome boy; no wonder his Mummy is so protective.)

Game resumes after 4 minutes and West Ham wins a corner which is easily defended as the visitors clearly put the ball out of touch. But the rotound Mason sees different and awards another corner. Happily the second corner is easily seen off and is the occasion for a counter attack culminating with a shot attempt by Ramsey, again. The half-time whistle goes sounds at the 49th minute.

Half-Time follies

Honors even at half-time and, based on my blow-by-blow, report it is evident that Arsenal had more attempts and more shots on target with West Ham posing the occasional threat. Yet the half-time analysis by the so-called experts is the usual bitching and moaning that Arsenal’s failure to overwhelm West Ham is a blight on Wengers tactics; too much passing (i.e. the ones that help players in position to get better shots on goal), insufficient shots from distance (i.e. those low probability shots that simply turn the ball over to the opposition) and too many defensive errors (i.e. it is Wenger’s fault Mustafi gets nutmegged or falls on his ass when he mistimes a tackle). It is the same narrative game after game that a majority of fans seem to lap up uncritically.

2nd Half

At the resumption,  Gary Neville, who is doing color commentary on my feed,  also feels the need to pile-on with his studio “experts” whinging about “same old” Arsenal for failing  to score and letting West Ham back in the game. Like many in the Arsenal fanbase, Neville believes Arsenal should be rolling over West Ham. How dare the East Londoners successfully put up so much resistance. Apparently nobody told him, and the many other relics from the nineties and noughties, that Arsene no longer has the cream of French talent at his disposal. Since 2005, when Arsenal began selling off the Invincibles to pay for the new stadium; City, Chelsea and United each spent nearly 1 billion on transfers while Arsene was left to scrounge for bargains in the 2nd and 3rd tier bins.

As if to make mockery of Neville and his ilk, the Arsenal begin the 2nd half at high tempo putting the Hammers under immediate pressure. A 47th minute shot by Monreal is on target. In response West Ham counter attack but Arsenal recover the ball and Danny Welbeck breaks away forcing Zabaletta to make a 2-footed tackle to bring him down. Only a yellow card. Lucky bugger in my opinion. In the ensuing two minutes Arsenal are able to pin West Ham into the final-third resulting in corner after a corner and they finally break in the 51st minute. From what seems to be a training ground routine, Xhaka loops the ball in the region of the penalty spot for Monreal to drive home.  Arsenal go in search of the 2nd goal, and on the 56th minute Ramsey blasts a shot from just outside the box to the left of Hart.

As is evident most of this season, the current Arsenal team is not set-up nor does it have purely defensively-oriented players who can hold out for 40 minutes and eke out a 1:0 win. It was therefore predictable that once West Ham decide to release the proverbial handbrake they had a good chance of getting an equalizer. Around the 60th minute mark Moyes brings on Chicharito and there is a palpable uptick in the offensive pressure. For nearly two minutes the Arsenal defense is under sustained pressure. A shot on goal is fisted out by Ospina but the ball is recovered by the Hammers and is pinged to Arnautovic who drives home low and hard to the left of our Colombian.

Six minutes after the equalizer Wenger makes an offensive substitution, Aubameyang for Iwobi who did not have the best of games operating from the wide right midfield position. Arsenal’s attacking game begins to overwhelm West Ham’s valiant defending. 71st minute, Xhaka’s long range effort forces a save from Hart. 7 minutes later Danny’s fierce curling shot, from the left just outside the box, brings the best save of the game from the former England number one. At the 81st minute, Ramsey lets fly from a similar position, and between keeper and defender, they conspire to let the shot sail uncontested into the back of the net. Four minutes later, a neat build up play in the box (involving a series of short snappy passes that the English pundits love to criticize) results in Lacazette getting a good look in the whites of Hart eyes and he makes no mistake. To rub salt in the wound another repeat of those short passes and Ramsey assists Lacazette to his 2nd and Arsenal’s 4th.

How this win fits in the bigger picture

So in summary, Arsenal had to work very hard and be patient to eventually hand a clear defeat to a very spirited West Ham team. In the process the much reviled Arsene Wenger, who the Arsenal super-bloggers and podcasters are now happy to confess they are glad to see him gone, has led his team to a new record in the PL era, the most points at home in a season, 44 so far.  So despite not having the budget of City, Chelsea and United, who for 13 years have consistently and conspicuously outspent Arsenal and in the process recruited the best possible players available, Arsene was still able to put out a competitive team who, this season, for some reason was only able to excel at home.

Yet none of the critics, who constantly criticize and undermine Wenger, whether they are from the mainstream media or bloggers and podcasters, never ever mention how unfair the competition has been. Discounting United who can legitimately claim they generate their wealth from their commercial operations, both City and Chelsea have been allowed by the PL to flout financial fair-play by allowing their owners to use their non-football wealth (a Russian oligarch who captured his countries metal resources by unseemly means and a Gulf Emirate using their sovereign wealth fund) to spend infinitely on buying players and paying huge salaries. This is not only a danger to Arsenal but to all clubs in the PL; as we witness the increasing division of the league into a system of haves and have-nots with the title a realistic prospect for only 2 clubs year-in, year-out. City won this year’s title by early April. If Pep has his way with more money from the Emirs, he will win it again next year by mid-March.  As long as this spending disparity is allowed, Arsenal will find it hard to compete, whoever is the new manager.

Not only is the financial disparity a fundamental obstacle to a more competitive Arsenal, but none of the mainstream media or the bloggers and podcasters are willing to discuss the role of poor and biased officiating as a factor in Arsenal’s poor results on the road in particular. I have spent copious hours researching and publishing evidence of referee bias vs Arsenal particularly in Penalties-Against. Just last week, it was brought to public attention that it took nearly two seasons for Spurs, to have a penalty-against. In comparison, in 2016-17 season alone, Arsenal had 10 penalties against. Despite one prominent referee publishing a book describing his use of game-management to avoid making the tough calls and another ref disclosing publicly the use of hush money to keep referees quiet when they retire, none of the mainstream media, nor our bloggers and podcasters have given Wenger an ounce of support in his call for VAR to make the refereeing more transparent by using modern technology. The fact that the PGMOL could reject use of VAR for the next season without a voice of protest from the media tells you how useless most football journos are. To me they are very much in bed with the referees and the PL establishment and have no interest in changing the status-quo.

Thank heavens, the rotund, corpulent Lee Mason was not as terrible today as most PL referees have been this season. Apart from that phantom corner awarded to West Ham as well as letting Zabaletta off with merely a yellow card for stopping Welbeck’s arguably clear goal-scoring opportunity, he decided to referee a game of football rather than trying to manage the game in favor or against one team or the other. No thanks to our bloggers and podcasters who have done nothing to support Wenger in overcoming the resistance of the PGMOB to fair and transparent refereeing.

Yes, it was sweet to see West Ham get a beating but at the end of the day the bastards in the PL, the PGMOL and the media (mainstream and other-wise) won the battle vs Arsene and Arsenal Football Club. They have succeeded in keeping alive a dreadful system of unfair financial competition and of biased, incompetent refereeing. The bitterness of this defeat will not go away easily but hopefully we can turn turn it into an awful weapon for the club going forward.

129 comments on “Arsenal vs West Ham: The Sweet Bitter Taste of Victory

  1. eduardo792
    My outside bet is much more outside than yours
    That is hardly out side anything

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarri has certainly had an interesting week, but not sure Naples gives up its own treasures easily , having watched Gomorrah, it might take a very brave man to prise him away!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Think you’d need incredibly strong belief in a person’s capabilities to give the role to a managerial first-timer.

    They’ve seen Arteta first hand for a number of years behind the scenes, so it’s not impossible they’ve seen qualities that have given them that belief.

    I don’t feel in any way qualified to make a guess on it though. Liked him as a player and person, landed an intriguing and presumably valuable (experience wise) job immediately after retirement, but that’s it. Don’t know anything beyond that.

    I’d feel more comfortable with someone who has done a good job in management, even for a short while, than a total newbie.

    Seems pretty crucial what the actual circumstances are of Wenger finishing now. If it was completely his choice, the board can be forgiven for not being in an advanced state of preparation for a successor.

    If there’s truth in it that it was driven by them, not only should they be much further along, they should have someone, or options, they are highly convinced by; not just a good bet, surely, but someone they believe strongly is a better bet than Arsene would have been for next year/ the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I see, despite Ivan Gazidis clearly stating the criteria for our next manager, that the likes of Gary Neville and his SKY cronies are spreading their usual bullshit and saying Diego Simeone is the perfect fit. No one could be more opposite to what we are looking for. But of course Gary and co know this, and it is the very reason why they are saying it, as its a sly way of saying everything at Arsenal is wrong and its all Wenger’s fault. They have never liked that we played Wengerball, the boring boring Arsenal dig was redundant and they did not like it one little bit. the media can’t be having Arsenal playing better football than swashbuckling Man Utd, or of course their darlings spurs.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m with Ian. The best man for the job at this time is still Arsene Wenger. But since his position has been made untenable by a relentless media onslaught and ‘game-management’ tilting the playing field against us all aided and abetted by the brain-dead element in the AFC fanbase, we are where we are.

    As for replacements, I have no idea who half of these names are or what tactics they employ, so I can’t really add to the debate. Although Arteta could be a dream signing given his history with AFC, I’m not sure that he has sufficient experience. Coaching alongside Pep with his bottomless pit for buying the top talent is nothing like making a winning team from a few top quality players, strong second tier squad players and a core of young academy graduates. Nevermind about dealing with the anti-Arsenal factor of the media and referee cabal.

    Based on the crap I have to listen to at most home games, I would suggest that a large number of AFC fans have been brainwashed by years of negativity from the MSM and the ignorant sound-bites that pass for ‘analysis’ by the punditry. I’m sick of them regurgitating the shit they have picked up from Talkspite etc about how none of our players are good enough, or strong enough or ugly enough (really, apparently they care more about their appearance than being good at playing football!) or care enough etc etc. They are constantly harping back to some golden age of Adams, Bould et al, who never made a mistake or had a bad game and certainly never finished in 12th place the season before Arsene Wenger. What would have become of the early TA of the ‘donkey’ days if there were 24/7 internet coverage back then? I doubt if he would have been given the time to develop into the great player he became.

    As long as this is the context in which we operate, I don’t see much changing at the stadium. Some people are in need of a serious reality check. Balance, realistic expectations, accepting that no amount of money stops someone being human might be a start. But since Arsenal is held to a different standard than anyone else in the EPL (3 FA cups in 4 seasons is failure, despite not being fuelled by dirty money!) and too many are too stupid to see it, I don’t hold out too much hope.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Rich I would be of the opinion that talks about Wenger leaving have been on going for at least a month or two, even if for the most part it was hypothetical.
    It was a question I was going to ask on here – when do you think the new man will be announced
    1. within a week
    2. when we know if we make the EL final or not
    3. after our last home game
    4. after our last game of the season
    5. end of may or later

    for me Arsenal know who they want, might even have a verbal or better deal agreed, and out of respect to Arsene will not announce it till after season finishes, or till Arsene gives the ok for it to be announced before end of season.

    Like

  7. of course the man we want might still be working for another club till end of season, so to respect both AW and the new guys current club, no announcement till season ends

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Might be leaks but would be very surprised to hear anything official before seasons end, or if loew is their choice, may have to even leave it until after the WC, though for that very reason, and a few others, would be surprised if it is him

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ha ha ha, the mail reporting that the new guy will have as little as £50M to spend on transfers this summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. mandy it can’t be low, the BPL is starting four weeks after the world cup, and the transfer window shuts then too. Wenger said one of the reasons he stood down was so new man can be in place early so at to get transfers done with the world cup causing problems this summer

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Media – AFC only got £50M to spend

    simple – Horn, Evans, Meyer, Fredricks for a combined £10M, leaves £40M for one more CB and no need to sell any of our better players

    Liked by 1 person

  12. So, what a massive carrot for PIGMOB next year, if they could somehow conspire to relegate us in our 100th year that would surpass game 50 surely

    Liked by 3 people

  13. ed

    I think Wenger said the club could start looking/decide on the new man. BUt he said transfers usually happen after the World cup and then they’ll need to move quickly with a shortened window. In any case, I think Mislintat will be driving transfer policy now, and any new manager (Low included) can do like Wenger did in telling the club to buy Garde and Vieira.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Who is Fredrciks?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Fredricks even!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. They’re not going to relegate us markyB. For one, they will lose money if one of the biggest clubs in the world goes down. For another, this would vindicate Wenger. They can’t have that.

    My guess is they’ll calm down for a bit like they did when Ferguson left (in the opposite direction) They had to make Ferguson look good, and they have to make Wenger look bad. Don’t be looking at them doing us any favours, but the 10 point or so handicap might be lifted (unless and until we actually stand a chance of winning)

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Ed

    on lastnight’s q: struggling to make a guess on that one.

    Supposing it’s done before season’s end, pretty sure ideal would be to wait till after last game till any announcement, and they’d be particularly keen not to see buildup to Europa League- semis or, everything crossed, final- disturbed by any big new distractions.

    World cup really puts squeeze on everything.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. The man who ticks several boxes for me is Eddie Howe: Premier League experience wedded to attacking play but with a pragmatism borne of the need to survive. He’s worked with a reasonable budget but doesn’t seem to need to rely on the chequebook alone. Young enough to be full of ideas, wise enough to learn from others, tough enough to make unpopular decisions. The only thing he hasn’t done yet is manage top-class superstars. Think the UK media would be keen enough to get behind him – and the added bonus for me is that it would upset quite a lot of people!

    I have a horrible feeling we will have quite a lot of money to spend as I can imagine all too easily Ozil being sold for a fair bit of cash – and I suspect that all concerned were aware of that when his new contract was negotiated back in the depths of winter.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. I have chipped in a modest £5 – any takers from the PA crew ??

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Grisly old result for u18’s today but as team selected is no reflection of real strength, nowt to worry about. Though you wouldn’t think so on Jeorge Bird’s report

    Feel for lads involved though. 9-0 against Spurs.

    Like

  21. Anicoll. 1.11
    Done

    Liked by 2 people

  22. shard, Ryan Fredericks 25 year old Fulham rightback who is on a bosman this summer

    Like

  23. Are you vouching for Orpheus then Andrew?

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I should not have watched ‘The feud’. It’s been nearly 14 years and I still get incredibly angry about the cheating in game 50. And the way it is passed/laughed off as just one of those things makes it worse. You would think the acknowledgment by Phil Neville and Graham Poll that they had the referees on their side, and that the Neville’s just kicked Reyes, would help. But no, they are shameless, and the so called journos say Arsenal FELT they’d been cheated. The worst was Paul Scholes talking about how Arsenal lacked class. Yeah right. Cheating, kicking the opponent, having the referee win for you is ok, but complaining about it is classless.

    Also, even supposedly Arsenal fan journos like Amy Lawrence and Cross want to portray Wenger’s latter years as failure. Something to feel sorry about for Wenger and Arsenal. Ferguson won the feud they say. He handled the rise of Chelsea better than Arsenal they say. And then they show a clip of that cap wearing tool from Aftv saying Wenger is intentionally destroying the club so the next guy doesn’t do as well.

    Fuck the lot of them. A pox on all their houses.

    Liked by 5 people

  25. Dan Critchlow
    ‏ @afcDW
    6h6 hours ago

    Bellerín said in Arsenal’s latest YouTube video that he wants number 2 and he’s going to ask for it in the summer.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. That is what I expected Shard, so I’m glad I gave it a miss

    Liked by 2 people

  27. I see eduardo. So we’re all giving up on Jenkinson then?

    I admit I had forgotten he was on loan. Last I checked he hadn’t played much (due to injury I think) So probably the right thing to do to let him go. But as a backup RB he’s not the worst option as long as he’s fit again, just in case we don’t get this Fredricks from Fulham.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. fredricks is also a former spurs player.

    jenkinson has been fit for a few months now, but neither him nor bramhal are getting a look in at brum

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Pass and Shard

    The gibberisms erupting from these failed novelists and frustrated writers are all too predictable. They have all the craft and subtlety of Mike Rikey on crack (please refer to “Gollum Gollum”).

    You won’t ever encounter a less talented more ignorant, venal and entirely useless collection of prized idiots. And I haven’t even mentioned the Football! But at lease we now know how Steve Coogan understandably found his inspiration way back in the day.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Jenkinson’s a gooner but he’s done being a gunner. We must accept that Pep has upped the ante completely and we must compete intelligently with as little emotion as possible.

    We need absolute class to complement the players we have. So no, only the best possible should be looked at and signed within our budget.

    Like

  31. On to file alongside the “Kane is as good as Messi” is rubbish.

    Without a glance, straight into the recycling bin! Alongside the rest of the junk.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. a new name being mentioned is Ralf Rangnick, which is a bit left field as he is currently the Sporting Director at RB Leipzig, Ralf has previously managed Hoffenheim and Schalk, he has a record for bringing clubs up through the divisions in Germany, he has moved between manager and sporting director in recent years, as it seems he suffers from exhaustion

    maybe some journo actually got him mixed up with the current leipzig manager Ralph Hasenhüttl who last summer said Arsenal had approached him about becoming manager

    Liked by 1 person

  33. as things stand this summer the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 and 19 will all be available in the AFC squad, Bellerin has already said he wants to change to no.2.

    Like

  34. watched a bit of lfc v roma, and must say that I really don’t get the fuss over Manolas of Roma, he is slow as fuck, and getting taken to the cleaners here.

    Like

  35. Mo Salah is the truth.
    Both goals absolutely top class.
    Roma down @ ht
    Been a great game

    Like

  36. He’s a big guy and good in the air. Not sure he reads the game very well though. Salah’s first goal. How can you not at least try to close him down when he’s on his left foot there. If those were our defenders doing that they would be slaughtered.

    Roma a bit unfortunate though. They made a couple of errors in midfield under pressure and both were punished by Liverpool. There was another when Mane was through and that should have been a warning, but I suppose these things happen. Credit to Salah. What a magnificent season he’s having.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. The pace and intensity of a Klopp team is amazing – but not sustainable for.long without burning out players.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Liverpool are amazing. What intensity. They should have burnt out by now (73 min) but they haven’t. What are the6 smokin up there?

    Liked by 1 person

  39. So Liverpool is beating Roma with a fast high press game. Don’t get carried away guys. None of Klopp’s teams have lasted more than 2 years playing at such intensity.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Story of The Ox a bit of good form,then injured

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Kevin Friend has been appointed the referee for Sundays match away to Manchester United.

    Like

  42. We have signed a global agreement with the world’s best-selling electric vehicle manufacturer, BYD Auto. BYD becomes our official car and bus partner.

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    The deal with BYD represents a further step forward in how we work with our partners to build a greener future, following our work to power Emirates Stadium and all other Arsenal sites with 100 per cent renewable energy.

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    Liked by 1 person

  43. Nothing short of dread from me at prospect of Liverpool winning champions league (by no means favourites against Bayern Real, but reaching final far too close for my liking) but I’m genuinely intrigued by how…let’s say, hard they can be to play against.

    The quality of front three is clear, with Salah incredible, Firmino not too far behind, and Mane not quite as good as him but still a huge danger. Speed in abundance, skill, dribbling ,finishing, and not a traditional striker to be seen.

    Still, though, there has to be a lot more to them than that. Drawing directly from Arsenal experiences, I’ve seen many times when a good two, three, four, five attacking players can struggle to exert the sort of basic influence their quality would suggest they should. Typically, against best, we concede first and they have us where they want us

    Maybe I can put plenty of it down to Roma getting it very wrong, plus Liverpool having a definite asset with their crowd and utilising it to its full potential with a super fast aggressive style of play… maybe they just lucked out with the front three and Salah especially.

    I don’t like it anyway. Truth is, I feel it’s probably a better model of play for us with our budget than a City style of play, which works best when you have by far the biggest budget in your league and preferably an unlimited one.

    But I don’t want to be copying those bums, the remodelling job on the team would have to be huge, we can’t count on that intense support from crowd, plus the front three needs a very specific collection of skills.

    Ah well. Fuck. Rely on Barca Bayern, and hope Salah isn’t there for too long.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Just watching a delayed broadcast of Liverpool vs Roma in time to see Salah’s 2 brilliant goals. Are we still having that debate about the value of an inverted winger? Just wondering.

    Liked by 3 people

  45. Rich, they Liverpool are impressive. They are riding a wave of good form, media love, fan love and a decent manager, plus, most importantly, an exceptional player at the top of his game, they visibly dropped when he went off.
    It also helps if you don’t invariably get drawn against Barca or Bayern first knockout round, after a winter break for some, but that’s another issue.
    but watching certain teams fitness levels with constant pressing makes me wonder, Liverpools, Spurs, City, Leicester a couple seasons ago, if it’s legal, all I can say, we need to upgrade our fitness staff, actually we have done so, but some of it looks suspicious to me.
    As Wenger said, hang onto values, no matter what

    Liked by 3 people

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