Top Four Position, But Form?

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I enjoyed the first half of this game. I thought we made a lot of chances and could/should have scored 4 or 5, Lacazette missing an absolute sitter. It seems a bit mean spirited to moan, but once again we have up some easy chances and in truth we were lucky they were squandered by The Saints.

The second half was a disjointed effort and we seemed happy to allow that, cruise control on and with or upcoming fixtures, that was properly smart.

The introduction of Ozil seemed to give everyone a lift, he sparkled and purred, again we could have scored a few late goals.

Despite them having 5 in midfield Xhaka found time and space all afternoon and I thought he had a great game.

We have sneaked into the top 4 for now, but I think we will have to play a lot better than we did today if we are to finish the season in a Champions League position. But at least we are in the race.

Three points though, so can’t complain too much?

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52 comments on “Top Four Position, But Form?

  1. See my comments on the last thread. At long last we were good enough to play within ourselves and secure a routine and comfortable home win. Never ever in doubt and the lack of extra goals down to playing at three quarter pace. We will reap the benefit of that on Wednesday.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. so now Sarri is saying the whole kepa not coming off thing was just a misunderstanding, that he was only looking to bring him off as he had been wrongly informed Kepa had cramp, Kepa was alright to continue and thats all there was to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad you on the mend Ed and that it’s not COPD. My dad had that too and it really ain’t a joy I can concur.

    Lovely game of football that was and happy that we never had to over extend ourselves, after two relatively early goals, as the are coming in thick and fast. Would say I wouldn’t mind if we had a jog vs the Cherries too but that would be me tempting fate… so rather not.

    Kepa is a damn turd and he’s a lucky boy Sarri didn’t return the favour to humiliate him in world view too. Got a feeling it’s gonna be Sarri that will be sacrificed in this. With transfer fee and wages Kepa is too huge an investment to lose.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I really think some people are being I influenced by the result and not really looking at the performance. I thought we were very disjointed and decision making poor.
    Everyone felt comfortable because of the two early goals however it could easily have been 2-2 at that stage.
    We still tried the ineffective short corner, Leno was still waving at crosses, our full backs get beaten to easily and Alex and Miki provide very little cover getting drawn towards the centre of the pitch and leaving massive gaps outside.
    We cannot hope to beat the bigger teams with performances like this and we also have to go to places like Wolves and Burnley which will need very good performances to come away with points.
    The Kos substitution was strange as it meant we lost momentum on the right hand side and maybe putting a more mobile player at right back would have helped the dynamic of the team.
    Papa and Granit (apart from that pass) played well but I couldn’t pick out many others until Mezut came on.
    A wins a win and bounemouth haven’t been traveling well so onwards and upwards COYG

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Not seen it but pleased with result.

    Interesting that one commenter said players seemed to be enjoying themselves, as that tallies with their twitter posts afterwards, from which I got impression of them feeling happy beyond normal relief of getting a victory.

    Hard to keep track of all permutations but number of rivals took a hit on injury front, and Chelsea City put in a big effort in intense game today.

    Shame Rashford picked up a knock when England colleague showed distinct lack of concern for his wellbeing with a heavy foul from behind. Shame it was only a knock.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Maybe not perfect, but certainly an improvement with creatives on the pitch.
    Mik seems to add something resultswise, and always reassuring to see Sok available to play.
    Sometimes Wondered if they were conserving energy a little?
    Hoping for a strong finish to the season


  7. Good to see Poch moaning at Mike Dean of all people, he might want to check the Untold Arsenal archives and I am sure other sources for a little historical context on Tottenham and Dean, might change his mind. Let alone the number of pens they get against us from him for blatant dives.
    On another note, just looking at our run in. We soon will have played all the top 6 teams, but lots of away games against mid to lower mid physical teams that we tend to struggle against away. Hope UE has plans for this

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mandy could Poch’s rant be him covering his bases if as usual Dean gets the NLD, puts pressure on Dean to side with Spurs, after all isn’t Poch said to have told Dean “you owe us one now”

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It my Birthday so the Yorkie Show this week are all songs on my all time favorites list, For Those About To Rock We Salute You

    Have a listen and let me know what you thing, feel free to spread it about too.


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy birthday Ed!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Could well be right Eduardo, though if he gets the NLD, so soon after this last game, questions should be asked- 2 of 3 Spurs games would look suspicious at worst, and should lead to questions on the size of the ref pool at best.
    But Dean or not, I am sure we will get a certain type of ref for the Spurs game, the type who will risk a hamstring in a rush to give them a pen when one of their player falls within 10 of any of ours.
    Son,Kane,Lamella will be positively lining up to hit the deck.
    Enjoy your birthday

    Liked by 2 people

  12. if not Dean then its almost certain to be either Atkinson or Taylor

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mike Dean has been removed from 4th official duty for the Tottenham Chelsea game this week, so as not to compromise him following his spat with Poch. He will work on another game instead.
    No word yet as to whether Poch will be charged, wont hold my breath on that happening


    Liked by 1 person

  14. Bloody hell the next three match days in prem look pivotal.

    Plenty of opportunities for top six rivals to drop points while with our Spurs and Utd games we have chance to make it a decent year, points wise, against top six teams, or another disappointing one.

    First job, Bournemouth ,though. Been a long while since I have taken any opposition lightly and certainly no different here. There are no gimme’s, any team can beat us on the day. Feel we just have to get the three points, though, anything else will be a huge blow.

    As for Spurs and Utd, pure fingers crossed territory for me. I am a long way from feeling bullish against top six teams.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. so Poch has a go at Dean and its Dean that gets side swiped out of his next game. No word of Poch facing any charges at all yet, says it all about the skewed disciplinary procedures employed by the FA and BPL,

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ah my mistake it seems poch has finally been charged with improper conduct

    Liked by 1 person

  17. some reports that Abou Diaby has retried from the game, a career sadly blighted with injury due to the cloggers in the game and officials willing to facilitate them

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Having now watched Adrian Clarke’s Breakdown I am encouraged to think that the game I thought I saw yesterday was the one he seemed to see. I had feared for a while that it was a slightly too liberal pre-match sharpener(s) that had caused me to see Arsenal’s performance so rosily.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Ed did you just nick my tweet about Abou,
    I don’t know whether to be hurt or proud.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. no ian, it has to be a case of great minds and all that

    About Diaby “It’s time. For a number of years it has been difficult for me to come back. I decided to stop simply because the body wasn’t following. It is a closing chapter. A new one opens.”

    i hope he can have a career as a great coach/manager, the career that was robbed from him as a player, one of my all time favorite Arsenal players, he had it all, except limbs that could take a good kicking.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. foreverheady, After being promoted by your post I thought I better go and check on AC to see if I’d been harsh.
    I to however am sticking to my original conclusions on the game. I cannot see how AC could describe us as calm when even in the clips he showed we were stretching to make the next pass. When you consider he was picking the best bits to highlight a good performance and even those clips were including bad passing, decision making and shooting.
    He also made a point about the left side, Sead and Alex, while excellent going forward defensively they are poor.
    I do agree Papa and Granit were excellent but I think it would be difficult to say anyone else was near their standard on the day until Mezut came on.
    I genuinely believe we beat a poor team when key moments went for us. That doesn’t mean to say we wouldn’t of won anyway but I just thought it was an average performance which left plenty to work on.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. Ed, just had a look and your comment on here was an hour before mine on twitter so I plagerised you I apologize perfusely.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Ian: I was genuinely surprised by your assessment of the game and in the cold light of dawn thought oh well, that’s how much I know followed by pissed idiot, why are you so easily pleased. I thought I’d seen a return to an Arsenal I recognised and also felt pleased that Ramsey and Ozil were being used again. It is an unfortunate part of my nature that despite the bleakest of personal thoughts I feel a desperate need to assure everyone else that things will be ok and that all is fine. So please accept my apologies if you felt I was trying to start a disagreement – I really wasn’t.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Watching the breakdown also made me think about the slender margins: concede that first goal and who knows? Weather the storm and score first and suddenly all is roses. And so, so many games (for most clubs) have those moments. But it also reminds me of how often we bemoan the fact.that we don’t have a player who can turn a game with a moment of individual brilliance – but tend to ignore those times when defenders or goalies do their stuff. Lichsteiner off the line on Thursday, Leno on Sunday: two brilliant signings by Emery? Well people would have said that had it been a worldy at the other end from Guendouzi or Suarez.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. .This by Tim Stillman sums up a lot of what happened to Diaby and others at AFC with the Refs fully aiding and abetting it to happen

    So, yes, the “tackle” from Dan Smith was an assault that triggered his injury issues. But he actually recovered from that. In 2008-09, he played 38 games. In 2009-10, he played 45. He was pretty much over it.

    In September 2010, Arsenal played Bolton and Bolton’s Paul Robinson jumped on his ankle drawing a furious reaction, (as you can understand). A week later, Michael Essien did exactly the same to the same ankle. He had surgery a few days later and at that point, he didn’t recover.

    None of which is to absolve Dan Smith, but to point out that Paul Robinson and Michael Essien played their part too! The sum total of punishment for these 3 tackles was 2 yellow cards (1 for Smith, 1 for Robinson).

    The ‘Arsenal don’t like it up ’em’ stuff that was circulating inside English football during those years was incredibly damaging. It destroyed a few careers

    Liked by 4 people

  26. I think we had a good game. Yeah, sure, the Saints had their chances and it could’ve been different had they took it but they didn’t, as happened quite a few times with us in the past. The individual performances of Mkhi, Leno, Iwobi and Xhaka stood out too and it’s good to see them coming into some form as we’re about the play our toughest sequence of games in the run-in. And what a joy to see Özil getting to his best, on limited outings. He’s making it harder for Emery to ignore him.

    Think on the balance of play no one can deny that 2-0 was a fair result as, just like them, we too fluffed a few chances. All in all with games so on top of each others I’m most pleased that the Saints didn’t make us it work harder it, taking into account how much the weekend’s games took out of those teams around us with matches tonight and tomorrow; personnel both sides at Old Trafford, Ferdi for Mancity, the fun out of Chelsea and perhaps Pochettino from the dugout in the NLD.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. What must Alex iwobi to even get the least of compliment from fans. He was the main creative channel on the day and our two goals came from that too. He also helped defensively. But no, it was ozil who came on for him after he got injured that did well. In the period of the game when we were so poor. Nothing against ozil as he is by far our most creative player but last match isn’t his better one. Torreira didn’t put a foot wrong in the game as well. I just wish we should all take after arsene Wenger who said in team sport one should be weary of singling out players for praise and criticism.


  28. Lakesite, Iwobi did well, but we were poor 2nd half before Ozil came on and very good after he came on.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Brendans off to Leicester…..also really really sad to see that Mark Hollis had died-doesnt seem right.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I’m hoping for a better performance and a similar result against Bournemouth.

    Harder opponents then Southampton, so they’ll have to play better to beat them unless the strikers return to the rate of scoring every chance they get (they won’t) as seen October.

    You can’t escape from the arithmetic mean no matter how hard you squirm and wriggle. Or as one of the legendary football cliches enshrined in gold in the hall of fame declares: “goals win matches”.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I’ll take Tim Stillmans opinion on the football as an adult’s opinion when he can bring himself to finally comment on the “smashing” of global superstars at AFC over the last decade, along with the young careers destroyed.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. < Diaby was a star in that he is game was so highly rated within the sport and also by many fans, but you know what I mean.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. https://mobile.twitter.com/ZachLowy/status/1098342150805381121

    “Oblak: 5 years at Atleti.
    Juanfran: 9 years.
    Giménez: 6 years.
    Godín: 9 years.
    Luís: 8 years.
    Rodri: 6 years at Atleti’s academy.
    Thomas: 8 years at Atleti.
    Koke: 19 years.
    Saúl: 11 years.
    Costa: 9 years.
    Griezmann: 5 years.

    Brotherhoods of warriors aren’t built overnight.”

    He’s talking about Teams, boot rooms etc.

    The basics.

    So that’s how a great Spanish team was built over the last ten years.
    We know how good they are as we saw them in an epic semi final contest where Oblak’s saves in the first leg where the difference for me, most impressive of the keepers out there in the last few seasons.

    Compare that record with the intitial team building efforts following the Takeover* by Raul the Hutt and the Boyz from Brazil.

    *Billy Big Blagger doesn’t appear to have the footballs required to describe a simple observable objective Takeover as a Takeover. Which tells us more about them then the topics they are supposedly covering.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Fins

    Atleti fascinate me in all sorts of ways : the total dedication to their style, the toughness, the defensive quality, the way it is underpinned by a lot of players with sound or excellent technique; number of key signings for what proved to be tremendous value.

    They sure are a hard club to read on the financial side,though. Extensive involvement with Kenyon and Mendes, plus other tpo schemes and operators, massive debts, continuous refinancing, now not one but two large investors (one China, forget other). They are near enough the polar opposite of us. They push it to the limit in every aspect to compete with naturally richer clubs.

    Interesting,too, that I’ve seen twice in recent weeks the claim Simeone is highest paid manager in the world. Think that’s probably right and a wise move from them as can’t see anyone else doing the job he does for them.

    Allegedly, in football leaks book, huge number of their players are part owned by investors, including Saul. Was always obvious to me Costa ,for instance, was never on open market at time he went to Chelsea.

    As an extra kicker in terms of comparison to us over years, they have that advantage of being able to use South American market in way we couldn’t contemplate, thanks to work permit laws that allowed them to bring in Giminez on cheap as a youngster.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Had a look back at it and allegedly Atleti sold 40% of Saul’s rights when he was a 16 year old, and have or had more than a dozen such deals for other players.

    In Saul case they were sold to a company registered in Ireland, owned by Kenyon and Mendes. Pretty sure his agent is also Mendes.

    Atleti understandably fought hard to obscure from fans the nature of their business, as no fan likes to think of fates of their best players not being in club’s control.

    Following is contract they signed with Doyen for a third of Falcao’s transfer rights in 2010 :

    ‘Atletico Madrid requires financial assistance for its ordinary activity, for which it has addressed [sic] several financial entities. At present, given the current financial crisis and market situation, the Club is finding it extremely difficult to access this bank financing, which is why it has resorted, ultimately and as a last resort, to Doyen in order to obtain this assistance.’

    Was always my understanding that as well as competing with the few clubs who naturally generate more than us, and the few sugar daddy clubs with no effective budget, there were no end of clubs from big to small stretching themselves with debt, shady practices etc.

    Maybe the most annoying thing of all about it is that some of them not only do much better than they would otherwise have done (and make our life harder) through these practices but by no means are guaranteed to end up being clobbered in the end (as an ordinary individual who resorts to desperate measures is). Even Inter, who were running at something like 160 mill debt a year to get that champions league, didn’t pay terribly afterwards.

    I’ve a sneaky feeling Atleti may be in better shape now, thanks to those big outside investors who have stake in club. In other words it may have all worked out fine for them. The book notes they were in more than 500 million debt at one point.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Rich

    Not forgetting the new stadium.

    The less I know about how their owner juggled the club accounts with whatever he has upnin the air, the better!

    None of that changes the simple logic and process of making strong teams with strong identity. You can be a crook, or Brian Clough’s, or both, but you can’t Magic up a great team from nothing. Because nothing comes from nothing. Gazcorp and the UAE government took years of overspending before their teams were strong enough to even partially return on the owner’s over-spending (juggling).

    All of which allows us to understand and appreciate the uncredible reportage of the Takeover at AFC Billy Big Blagger for the gibberish that it is.

    You could time travel through the ages but you’ll never ever hear as much shite on the football as that pumped out by Billy Big Blagger over recent years. From an inability to count defenders (they’re focusing on the old complex numbers and counting on one hand now though eh!), through to ignoring the Takeover of the club and unrequired demolitions, if you’re looking for clowns then they would be the people who’ve been tripping up over their own clown shoes not people like George or Shotta who’ve been posting accurate descriptions of what they have been observing since last summer (though the Takeover began the year before as we were informed by the old gaffer).

    The clown shoes, the falling over, the red noses and running make up behind the tears at the shite football:
    these are things that help us to objectively identify the Clowns.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. FH, I didn’t think you were trying to start an argument, indeed I was taking your lead and trying to look at the game again.
    My problem was in virtually every clip AC showed although there was good play there were also errors. Basically there were errors all through the game and knowing AC has been watching ARSENAL for 30 years it is difficult to say we were fliud, that wasn’t Fluid ARSENAL.
    I like Alex Iwobi and he certainly is positive and carries the charge forward however his decision making is awful and defensively he gets lost and his mind wonders, you can see him drift across the pitch if the play is on the other side. I am aware he is still a you g player and I’m confident he will get better at those aspects of the game. When he does he will be excellent.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Fins

    Aye, I was thinking more in terms of us in comparison to Atleti and others through later Wenger years, and how those comparisons tended to be made, unfairly, around more official budgets/ income, rather than with all the murk and shenanigans in mind.

    I’m presuming it’s much the same now, though my assumption remains that anyone following Wenger is likely to be more open to getting involved with Mendes and the likes. My sense is that individual deals rarely enough for Mendes, unless there is absurd money in it for him, and he always seeks relationships with clubs.

    Comically, both Mendes and Ronaldo pulled a version of the Redknapp defence in Madrid tax courts. When grilled on image rights, offshore accounts and companies, they claimed to be useless on that stuff, not their area of expertise, don’t understand it, trusted someone else. Got away with it, just about. Wouldn’t have even got that far were it not for a local judge (in rich area of Madrid where most stars live) who isn’t interested in football and so couldn’t be assuaged in normal ways

    Simple fact is, to his credit i think, Wenger never once did a deal with the guy. What comes next I’ve no idea. Monchi for instance may well have done plenty of shadier stuff, things outlawed here, or players who wouldn’t get work permits here in past.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. Rich

    Let us record and observe the differential in the vitriol towards the two highest paid footballers at the club, Ozil and Miki. The angle of the Blaggers and their potential relationship with the person now running the club who has spoken to the fans twice since July, once on the BBC for about five minutes wa-hey! Luck is plebs eh? It is vaguely satisfying to objectively observe and record for posterity where the allegiance of Billy Big Blagger lies in this multi-million pound industry, in case there was ever any doubt (there wasn’t).

    There she blows!

    Liked by 1 person

  40. We should not conflate the club’s previous policy with Arsene Wenger’s personal ethics, though Billy Big Blagger has spent twenty years pretending to do exactly that!

    There’s a reason why he likes of Pat Rice or Bob Wilson would also talk about “values”.

    Yet you won’t find a single sentence from Billy Big Blagger ever describing what these apparently ineffable “values” were before this Takeover. Not one!

    These ****s have been treating the average Arsenal fan like ****s. Because they are ****s? It’s a fair question. Apologies for the foul language reflecting the foul behaviour from these foul entities. Red cards all round no need for any VAR.

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  41. As the season progressed the key moment on match day for a huge proportion of the Arsenal fan base had been the team sheet an hour before kick off. For 500,000 and more reasons.

    A good game after a break for Kolasinac on Saturday, but I don’t think that Iwobi and Miki will both start again, Iwobi’s late niggle making him a doubt for KO today. A little bit tinkering will therefore be necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Well, he was quick to apologise post match, and now his further apologies are being looked upon kindly by media…will it be enough to save Poch from a touchline ban?

    Ridiculous if it does- means precedent is set that you can behave abysmally and get away with it so long as you grovel afterwards- but I’m half-expecting it now.

    FA have seemed reactive to media coverage quite often in past to me.

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  43. Been noticeable in recent years how many French youngsters come through, that talented 18/19 year olds generally get 1st team opportunities there, and even that fairly often bargains can be picked up among French clubs ,with players like Ndombele moving for cheap prices before hitting it big.

    Mostly, I’m sure it is a consequence of money- most French clubs have relatively modest budgets, smaller squads, and so pathways are pretty clear for talented youngsters.

    Stats are pretty resounding though. While it looks like that it doesn’t matter too much how good England’s young national teams do, France will keep bringing through more top young players.

    Total minutes played by homegrown Under-23s

    League Minutes
    Ligue 1 77,975
    La Liga 45,585
    Bundesliga 37,959
    Serie A 34,212
    Premier League 25,191

    Liked by 2 people

  44. Rich its down to money, and competition in those leagues, France mainly a one horse league, Spain a two horse league, Germany a one horse league, yes italy is mainly a one horse league too, when you expand it out to CL places, again all are fairly closed shops,
    the massive money to just be in the BPL means even middle of the table sides won’t blood youngsters, look how they even go full on second string in the FA Cup, something that they could possibly win if they went for it full on, but they are so scared of a drop in form and losing their BPL place they will not do it.

    Rich would you have the minutes played by U23 players from these leagues in the CL this season, that might actually be more revealing, or in the EL.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. 12 years ago, when many of us were at ACLF, if I stated that it was Arsenal’s policy to sell it’s best players I would have been the isolated and made the most unpopular person in Goonerverse. This month Arsene Wenger disclosed it was a deliberate policy to pay for the stadium, every last sale. Today I stopped beating around the bush. It is Kroenke’s policy to cut wages at the expense of our best players at https://uniteforvar.com/?p=1787

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Bournemouth s away form is crap our home form is good so it would be nice to get three points wrapped up nice and early so we can chill abit for the weekend. Yeah I know actually they are a good side and if you allow them possession then they’ll run you all over the place but I think we can impose ourselves tonight.
    Obviously in an situation Chelski and the spuds will beat the crap out of each other and get points deducted.
    I would love to see the fluid football everyone is talking about tonight and plenty of goals and a clean sheet, just the fillet for the weekend COYG.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Ed

    Agree it’s almost entirely a product of finances in each league.

    Haven’t got figures you mention as lifted mine from an article which didn’t include that info.

    I have something like sympathy for prem bosses and the pressure they are under, which means temptation always great to use money available and pick experienced players over youngsters.

    Way things are poised should certainly be good news for France national team in years ahead, though.

    Where we are concerned, I’m extremely keen for our youngsters to get opportunities but at the same time know how hard it is, and haven’t missed my own reactions when we do play youngsters and the game doesn’t go well, i.e i don’t get much/any joy from it and don’t naturally feel much/any positivity on the day. Apply that logic or whatnot over a season and i have to be sceptical over exactly how keen I am, in practice, to see them play. Would I accept probability of losing points for it?

    Our record remains pretty good, however, mostly thanks to how much involvement Gunedouzi has had, plus Iwobi and Maitland Niles. I give us a B on that front this year. Maybe should be an A- with Guendouzi but I prob don’t quite rate that in same way as if youngster from youth ranks gets really good minutes.

    Lot of youngsters I like with us and the crunch has to come sooner rather than later, I figure, over whether we are going to make big effort for it to work here for them. I see Nelson for instance only giving it the opening months of next season before deciding whether he is getting enough time or will agitate to move on.

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Plenty nervous about tonight’s game. Feel like we normally have at least one unexpected home loss each year to lower side and not sure we’ve had one this time.

    Don’t know if I’m right on that, mind, as Watford the only name that springs to mind. Swansea as well but that might have been a draw (2:2?)

    Newcastle and Villa as well, but they’re back further than I have in mind.

    Anyway, not tonight lads! And not for rest of season please!

    On that note, rough guess over how many points we can drop from hereon in for top six? Without looking at respective fixture lists, maybe 6-12, given we have to finish top between us, Chelsea and Utd?

    Liked by 1 person

  49. 79, 70,66, 76,75 been the tally last 5 years to make it. We have 53 now with 11 games (33 points) to go.

    Will almost certainly be higher end of 75

    Liked by 1 person

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