Watford 0 - 0 Everton
From the highs of Sunday’s win at Leicester, Everton fell a little flat in what was, on paper, the more routine fixture of the two. Given that Leeds went down to a 3-0 defeat at Elland Road this evening, a win would have practically secured Premier League football for another season but the Blues inched closer to salvation with this rather pedestrian display and the point it earned.
Watford were on a club-record 11-match losing run at home and hadn’t kept a clean sheet at Vicarage Road all season so the script was there for Everton to oblige. Importantly, the Toffees didn’t allow disappointment to turn into disaster… not that that was really ever likely against a Hornets side missing a host of first-teamers and with nothing to play for but pride, having had their demotion back to the Championship confirmed on Sunday.
This did reek of an opportunity missed, however, and Frank Lampard’s decision to not only persist with some tired-looking players, chief among them Anthony Gordon and Demarai Gray, but also wait until the 77th minute to make the first of only two changes on the day was a curious one.
You got the sense that a Dele Alli or even André Gomes might have fancied a chance to make an impact on the season run-in, but neither got the nod in the second half and though Dominic Calvert-Lewin came on for a cameo and won a few headers, everything rather fizzled out along with the boisterous renditions of Spirit of the Blues from the packed away section.
Perhaps not surprisingly, with onus on them to attack and create, Everton found themselves in the familiar territory of the last couple of seasons where they lacked the creativity and guile to open up a side that had few designs on actually winning the game. Add in more than a touch of anxiety at not wanting to lose and you had the ingredients for the display that came from the Toffees’ players.
This was a far less open game than the one at the King Power Stadium on Sunday and though the Blues had far more possession, they had fewer chances. It didn’t help that the wing-back system was retained deep into the second half so that Calvert-Lewin’s introduction made little difference with so little service.
Lacking tempo and urgency, Lampard’s side started a little cagily but when they did get forward in the early stages, they found Watford’s back line in the way. Gordon’s excellent run led to an attempted cross that was blocked behind and from the resulting corner, Richarlison’s shot was charged down amid a melée of bodies.
Richarlison then sent Alex Iwobi into space down the channel but the Nigerian international elected not to shoot and his cross deflected behind for a corner before Gordon despatched a half-hearted volley high over the crossbar and Abdoulaye Doucouré had the only effort on target of the half when he looped a header that Foster comfortably caught.
Watford, who were without an almost a team’s worth of senior players, lacked conviction themselves and were reduced to pot-shots from distance from Samuel Kalu and Dan Gosling which were skied into the stand behind the goal. Meanwhile, Pickford’s only real involvement was to punch clear a dangerous free-kick from the right in the 17th minute and play sweeper-keeper early in the second half to snuff out a rare attempted breakaway by the Hornets.
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Everton came closest to scoring the one goal they needed to take themselves within touching distance of safety in the 53rd and 62nd minutes. First, Foster pawed Richarlison’s deflected effort wide with an impressive save; then, after Michael Keane’s shot off a corner was blocked behind, Gray played a one-two with Iwobi but dragged his shot across the face of goal and past the far post.
Lampard belatedly looked to change things with 13 minutes left when the threw on Calvert-Lewin in place of Gray and, later, Allan for Fabian Delph but apart from some fairly tame shots from Gordon, Doucouré and Vitalii Mykolenko, the Blues didn’t make much of a fist of a late push for a winner.
It has been an emotionally-charged 11 days, with two key wins over Chelsea and Leicester hauling Everton out of the bottom three so a less-than fiery performance was, perhaps, understandable but there was a smattering of complacency about the Toffees as well.
That won’t do against Brentford this Sunday, particularly if Leeds pick up anything at home to Brighton in the earlier kick-off so it will be incumbent on the manager to refocus the minds and ensure that they see the job through to its full conclusion.
Reader Comments (54)
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1 Posted 12/05/2022 at 01:17:08
2 Posted 12/05/2022 at 02:51:26
3 Posted 12/05/2022 at 03:39:46
4 Posted 12/05/2022 at 07:31:30
5 Posted 12/05/2022 at 07:40:23
Got to get it done against Brentford now. COYB.
6 Posted 12/05/2022 at 07:50:10
Rondon rather than Calvert-Lewin to batter them with would have been a better sub and good old fashion crosses would have been the tactic to unsettle them.
Hopefully this is the expected downer after two resets we normally get. The next game being the one to start of the sequence of another two results.
7 Posted 12/05/2022 at 08:12:12
Watford had a depleted team, hadn't kept a clean sheet all season, and a win would have practically guaranteed survival, it was criminal that we didn't show the same commitment that we showed at Leicester and against Chelsea.
Brentford, with Erickson dictating the game in the middle of the park, will be a handful, so will Palace. We have forgotten that we are now part of these tier 2 and tier 3 teams where, when we see the name, we start counting the points. That's all in the past.
We are still in a dogfight. It's not over till we are mathematically safe. There has been plenty of final-day drama in the past, let's hope we don't have to endure that this year.
8 Posted 12/05/2022 at 08:40:45
I watched the game, we looked tired. Gray and Gordon look out on their feet after a run of tough games that we needed something from. Bringing Allan on as sub, doesnt work, he couldnt get into the game and looked lost.
Do we stick with the same starting eleven or change it? Thats the conundrum Lampard has. My gut says he will start against Brentford with the same eleven as against Watford, ask for a hard 60 minutes from the tired players, then, change it.
Toney and Ericsson are their danger men, we need to be on our game for this one. A win for us and a Leeds loss, would do it for me.
9 Posted 12/05/2022 at 08:58:44
Puts us in a precarious position when a win would have all but guaranteed safety.
10 Posted 12/05/2022 at 09:10:30
It highlights the limitations of the squad. We need better players. I bored everyone with that during Ancelotti's reign. Doesn't matter who the manager is within reason. We need better players.
Howard Kendall is Everton's most successful Manager. When he had an inept squad, he almost took us down. Now, as always, he would have been the fall guy for mismanagement above, but it comes down to what you do on the pitch first and foremost. Look at Manchester United. Ferguson built the team before they rebuilt Old Trafford.
We can argue this over the summer, but we need better players and a more coherent strategy. Sorry to be repetitive of myself over the past few years.
But right now, we need to physically, emotionally and whatever way get these players we have across the finishing line. They are showing the desire despite the failings in ability and mentality. Let's take them there with us, because I am not accepting that we are going down.
If we do, I'll be there to see us back up, but right now, we control our destiny and that is in the top flight of English football.
11 Posted 12/05/2022 at 09:21:01
I think the Relegaton dogfight will go to the wire and a few favourable results from Leeds and Burnley will be needed to get Everton over the line.
12 Posted 12/05/2022 at 09:51:58
13 Posted 12/05/2022 at 09:53:52
If we'd been offered 4 points over the 2 away games before we went to Leicester we'd have taken it.
We are now in a situation where if we better Leeds' performance at the weekend we are safe. If we equal it we need a draw v Palace on Thursday.
If the 12th man fails to inspire and we lose ground, we still have a game in hand which could take us back above Leeds before we go to Arsenal.
Living in West Yorkshire I know a lot of Leeds supporters. They are convinced they will be playing in the lower league next year. You think we have problems. Their response to adversity has been to try to kick their way back and they now find themselves short of players due to suspension and injuries.
Even if Leeds win at the weekend we need 4 points from 3 games and 2 are at home.
Cheer up guys.
The future is Blue
14 Posted 12/05/2022 at 10:02:21
I think we have to be realistic this is a very poor Everton team, that will need major surgery in the summer whatever league we are in. I think Lampard was between a rock and a hard place yesterday, did he change a side that had beaten Chelsea and Leicester and knew he would come in for some almighty stick if he did and it went wrong. I have been saying for over 12 months this side lacks goal scorers and that was again evident last night. We also don't create a lot of chances and a little surprised that Lampard hasn't had a bigger impact in that aspect of our game.
Anthony Gordon is improving which is great to see, but its no use being able to go past people like he does without either picking out a pass in the opponents box or taking the opportunity to score. The exact same argument is also true of Demarai Gray who looks a shadow of the player he was earlier in the season.
I could understand playing Iwobi at wing back against Chelsea and Leicester, but did we really need a wing back against a very poor Watford team. Going back to my point about lack of goal scorers despite not playing for weeks Andros Townsend is still 2nd in our list of goal scorers this season. We get practically nothing from any of our midfield players as far as goals and they arent that great in creating much, that includes Delph, Allan, Doucoure, Gomes or Davies when fit. So basically if Richarlison doesn't score we really struggle for goals.
Obviously we are stuck with this group for the remaining games and we will need to find a better system to help create and score goals in the remaining games. I am not a big fan of DCL but seeing Rondon couldn't last for 90 minutes he is the only option to play down the middle which lets Richarlison return to his most effective position which is wide left. Again the back 4 played well last night but will face sterner tests in the next few games. I think all the players have put a shift in over the last few games and some seem to be running low on energy. I am far more positive about us staying up than I was a few weeks back.
Finally yet another magnificent display from the supporters who were at Watford, if it was just down to the effort of these guys we would be nowhere near the relegation battle. But I think if we had just been a little bit braver last night their magnificent support may have been rewarded with a win.
15 Posted 12/05/2022 at 10:09:10
Last night, you could see that they thought they are safe. Maybe they are and maybe a close escape will transform the club. But without a total clear out at Finch Farm, we will be here again.
16 Posted 12/05/2022 at 10:37:58
The negativity is due to a lack of confidence is the Everton Squad. There is always the possibility of a apathetic performance which would be dangerous in a relegation dog fight.
17 Posted 12/05/2022 at 10:46:06
Last night's result has given Sunday's game even greater significance. We - the crowd, the players and everyone connected with the club- have to intimidate Brentford out of the stadium, so that all they will want is to get back on their coach. It has to be more intense than any game that we have played in recent memory.
And come on. We slaughtered them in the cup. That has got to give us some psychological edge.
Coleman's comments last night did not indicate any complacency. The last thing we should do is patronise Brentford and provide them with their team-talk.
Every game becomes our biggest ever until we are safe.
18 Posted 12/05/2022 at 10:57:39
As for the future, I would keep, Pickford, Richarlison, Keane, Mykolenko, Iwobi, Godfrey, Gordon, Mina and Gray. The rest can go, and Lampard can build his team for next season, in the Premier League of course?
19 Posted 12/05/2022 at 10:59:11
20 Posted 12/05/2022 at 11:18:21
I too think weve got to take a punt on DCL starting in place of one of Gray/Gordon at the weekend, and maybe 1-2 other changes too for a bit of freshness (even tho its still ‘rock and hard place as you said!)
Assuming they are fit maybe:
Coleman Keane Holgate Mykolenko
Allan Iwobi Delph
Gordon DCL Richie
Will need Gordon and Richie to put in another monster shift, but its now or never really so get the points then get a rest.
21 Posted 12/05/2022 at 11:26:57
Hopefully the 12th man will do the trick on Sunday!
It's not easy being a blue and I for one will be glad of the rest when the season concludes.
22 Posted 12/05/2022 at 11:30:56
Our number of wins is not much different to any club below 8th. The thing that's really killed us is losing games we should have at least drawn.
And we've long struggled to break down teams who don't come at us - basically because we're not very good and it's easier to score on the break against a more ambitious team.
So last night was OK. Leeds lost, got another player sent off, another injured and took their goal difference towards the -40 mark.
23 Posted 12/05/2022 at 11:52:56
In my view, if more than a half-dozen re-appear we shall do no better whomsoever is managing them !
24 Posted 12/05/2022 at 11:58:00
Assuming we get NO points from our three remaining games, they need one win to overtake us. Their two remaining games are home to Brighton then away at Brentford. To those Blues worried about the Bees when they visit Goodison on Sunday, just how much more worrying are they to Leeds as a proposition on their home patch in West London? They have had the single most stellar season in their history, and will want to celebrate with their home fans by delivering a win over Leeds.
I think Leeds will at best scrape a home win over Brighton, meaning we require only one point from three games; and I fancy that (and likely more) will be coming our way on Sunday. If Brentford do provide an upset in Liverpool, then how much more likely is it that they will give Leeds a slapping when they play them in West London!
Then there's Burnley. Their three remaining games are Away to Spurs. Away to Villa (Note: a team that beat them at Turf Moor 1-3 in their most recent outing), and then home to Newcastle. At best, I see them getting 3 points on the season's final day, with their goal difference taking a battering in the meantime, perhaps as much as 4 or 5 goals worse off than now.
So, in that scenario, I see us needing at most 2 points.
We're now unbeaten in the last three, having conceded just once. Burnley have won two and lost one, four goals for, and four against. Leeds, who have admittedly had perhaps the harder games, have lost all three with a goals for of one, and nine against. So. we're perhaps the form team too.
I think Leeds will go down, and we have an outside chance of overhauling Southampton whose goal difference – on the back of a 0-3 defeat away at Brentford (watch-out, Leeds) – is worse than ours, and they have to face Liverpool at St Mary's and Leicester away at the King Power. Nul points for Soton, I fancy!
COYBB, play as you can and let us sleep easy in our beds come Sunday!
25 Posted 12/05/2022 at 11:59:45
26 Posted 12/05/2022 at 12:00:12
We'll beat Brentford and/or Palace and be safe before the final game against Arsenal which is perfect. In fact I see Leeds losing to Brighton, us beating Brentford and it's game over with 2 games so spare. Their goal difference is effectively an extra point to us.
Burnley will lose to Spurs and probably Villa so they're not a threat now either.
We got through our so called 'tough' games and we're the form team of the 3.
I think we'll win both home games.
27 Posted 12/05/2022 at 13:13:54
28 Posted 12/05/2022 at 14:41:47
Not that long ago, we used to compete with our neighbours twice a year. Nowadays, they can play kids against us and still smack our arse.
29 Posted 12/05/2022 at 16:52:26
30 Posted 12/05/2022 at 16:58:48
Burnley have 9pts from 12 in their last 4 games, they have had a week off to prepare for Spurs who only have 2 days rest. They will believe that this is a good chance to get a result.
I never think like that and always think the opposite, my mind Leeds and Burnley to finish on 40 pts, we need 4 more pts and we stay up on goal difference.
31 Posted 12/05/2022 at 17:20:19
I would have been tempted to take the last 20 with both Calvert-Lewin and Dele last night. Just needed a moment of quality.
Allan was a waste of a sub.
32 Posted 12/05/2022 at 17:50:42
However, stop the negativity.
Leeds are imploding like headless chickens.
I fancy Brighton to draw on Sunday, and Brentford to beat Leeds at home. Therefore 1pt to Leeds.
However, with that scenario a win/draw from our next 3 games will be more than enough to stay up.
If Spurs win tonight, Burnley will get roasted on Sunday, if Spurs lose tonight, they could get something!, and then home to Newcastle, draw at best 1pt. Possibly 2pts. Which puts Leeds on the bottom end of the slippery slope.
Although it is 1 from 3 mathematically, its Burnley or Leeds for me.
Undoubtedly the 12th man faithful will do their part before and during the match on Sunday.
Have faith and be positive!!!
33 Posted 12/05/2022 at 17:55:47
It doesn't matter what we would have been happy with 3 games ago, that isn't how sport works. As things had turned out, we had a very good opportunity to really ramp up the pressure on Leeds, who are crumbling, but not dead yet.
I wouldn't have chosen a different starting XI but you would have hoped we had some real options to throw on for a charge in the last 30 minutes.
The 1 point gained could still be significant, but I think the extra benefit of 3 points at this stage of the season made it worth going all out for the win. If that was us ‘going all out' then perhaps the players have run out of steam which doesn't bode well for picking up points in the last 3 games even with home advantage and the backing of the fans. Even if they have reserves of strength and energy left, I think it is quite insulting to both Brentford and Crystal Palace to dismiss them as capable of beating us.
As things stand, Leeds and Burnley know they can still put huge pressure on us and will presumably be throwing everything into this weekend's fixtures.
I'm not predicting anything, but I'd be much happier on 38 points right now.
34 Posted 12/05/2022 at 18:10:31
We did not want to be cavalier last night, but we did want to be much more positive and driven than we were. I also feel a certain vital momentum was lost too.
35 Posted 12/05/2022 at 18:14:03
Just beat Brentford and Palace.
36 Posted 12/05/2022 at 18:28:26
And we've long struggled to break down teams who don't come at us.”
Sorry, Robert, but that reads as a non sequitur to me, and for me, the prevalence of losses below 8th shows the small margins between the teams in that third tier that mean any of the three results are of similar likelihood when they meet.
I agree that we seem to have a particular problem when we get the opportunity to dictate the tempo in games but can you quantify how many games we lost against teams that don't come at us? How many of those losses would have been changed into draws by 1 goal? That is what it would take to change any of our 6 draws into wins.
There is also a more significant points advantage of wins versus draws. 12 points if we improve those 6 draws (including last night) by one more goal in our favour whereas we'd need to do possibly more in 12 of our losses to get the same benefit.
37 Posted 12/05/2022 at 18:45:00
The constant light of hope, BMD, touch wood is taking shape, and will in time be a magnificent stadium befitting of the best football club in the world.
A month ago, many had resigned to the fate of Everton, going down, but the spirit of the Evertonians, guts, passion, desire and fervour to see their club succeed, has been the decisive factor in turning the form around.
So last night, bloody frustrating, a point is a point, and hopefully by Sunday night, Everton will be secure, if Burnley and Leeds loose and Everton win.
38 Posted 12/05/2022 at 19:00:05
I think a lot depends on how motivated Brentford are.Obviously they will not consciously be taking it easy but they have nothing to play for really.It has been a fanastic season for us and good to go into the last few matches with no worries.
The idea that the likes of Pontus Jansson, Ivan Toney, Christian Eriksen etc will be intimidated by the atmosphere is fanciful. They will love it.
Every Bees fan wants us to relegate Leeds on the last day, preferably with a dodgy last minute penalty, so you don't have to worry about Leeds being given a free pass.
Incidentally,this is by no means the club's best ever season... in the late 1930s they were regulars in the old Div 1 top 6.
I think Everton will survive in the end...the more interesting debate is to how they got into the current mess. It's been several years in the making. Perhaps they could learn something about player recruitment from Brentford.. the team that will appear on Sunday cost c.£40 million in all, with Ajer being the most expensive (c£12 million).
Let's hope that Toffees' fans do not have to go through this again. I first saw them at Fulham c1961 when they won 3-2 and a club with this wonderful tradition and history should never be faced with such doom and gloom.
Look forward to playing you again next season!
39 Posted 12/05/2022 at 19:06:49
40 Posted 12/05/2022 at 19:09:14
41 Posted 12/05/2022 at 19:12:01
As for us, thanks for the consideration and consider yourself one of the club, yours will likely be up for a while and that is a good thing. It will be ugly since we will be going for a point but, if the Bees could go forward a bit much and give us a decent break or two, that would keep our more concerned segment of support from hurling insults of incompetence. Keep it going, man.
42 Posted 12/05/2022 at 19:32:23
I coached for many years down here in West London for Hayes and then Hayes & Yeading and saw many of the Brentford youth teams. Sad that it has disappeared as I understand??
You caught a good one with your current manager and his connections to Denmark. Absolute steal. I hope you hold on to him. I suggested him when I was saying Hail Mary's when the Benitez rumours surfaced in the summer.
The way Brentford has built their club is a fine example. Yes, they invested and that cost money, but as Everton has shown, simply throwing money at it recklessly isn't the answer.
Well done Brentford, but give us the points at the weekend please!!
43 Posted 12/05/2022 at 19:52:19
I find it refreshing that you have posted a complimentary tribute to Everton. I could never understand how a sport that used to brings fans together could be the cause of hatred and violence.
I first experienced it in the late 60s when Manchester United fans visited Goodison Park (no crowd segregation in those days). Everton won 3-0 and when the third goal went in we were bombarded by coins. It was the beginning of a long period of football violence, that has not yet been eradicated.
I can remember when we could go to away games, share a drink with home supporters, and walk to the ground saying "May the best team win". Here in Liverpool, fans of both clubs could share a drink with each other, and stand side by side in the ground.
I'm afraid that friendly banter has now become hatred, and that's why I congratulate you for bringing a degree of sportsmanship to this site.
44 Posted 12/05/2022 at 20:09:33
45 Posted 12/05/2022 at 20:26:02
When you look at the cost of Brentford's squad and the way they were beginning to really fall like a stone, then what Duncan says @39 is something that will probably only be rectified properly, with a few good signings for next season, which is also something we need to do ourselves really.
I thought Brentford were on their way back down, and then suddenly they introduced real quality in Ericksen, haven't looked back, and definitely deserve to be playing premier league football again next season, so I just hope we can join you, mate!
46 Posted 12/05/2022 at 21:16:58
47 Posted 13/05/2022 at 03:33:17
Beating Arsenal would be a bonus and could move us further up the table.
Just thinking of the positives. COYB
48 Posted 13/05/2022 at 09:09:29
49 Posted 13/05/2022 at 12:11:29
He had a small "new boss" bounce but that has really disappeared and keeping eleven men on the field seems too much for them. I can not see Brighton losing there as this is The Tykes' last chance to give themselves some hope.
Those of us who were subjected to some of the most violent and cynical play seen at Goodison in the sixties will have no regrets to see their current bunch of fans, thugs and divers back where they have belonged for most of their history. I hope Revie is spinning uncontrollably in his grave or is his spirit offering back-handers to the Brighton team.
Sound bitter? Yes! After the 1964 game when the ref took both teams off the pitch, my Dad would not let me go for quite a time afterwards.
50 Posted 13/05/2022 at 13:52:20
My mate's mam lived in Chiswick, very close to the Thames, and there's a couple of lovely bars we used to drink in many years ago. John Thaw was a regular drInker in one of them on a Sunday. My mate's sister also lived in those apartment blocks right next to Brentford's ground so I know the area well and had some great nights in West London.
It's been a breath of fresh air this season to have Brentford and Brighton doing really well and I look forward to playing you next season when you try to avenge this weekend's loss to Everton. 😁
Hopefully Frank makes a couple of changes for the Brentford game to freshen things up a bit because it was mental fatigue that cost us against Watford, I think. I'm not a big fan of his but I think Calvert-Lewin has to start now to try and hold the ball up. Let Richarlison get back to his normal game of cutting in from the wing.
Allan may also be the player who drives us forward that bit more too and Doucouré can hopefully do something useful and mop up given that he has no great strength doing much else.
How true is that about our midfielders not scoring goals. Shocking really and this should be high on Frank's list of future players.
I'm hopeful the Goodison faithful can drive us to victory with a comfortable 2-0 win. COYB
51 Posted 13/05/2022 at 14:05:25
Everton and our crowd will have to bring it all to the table to get a result, it won't be easy. I think we will have a couple of changes for the game but the emphasis will still be on keeping it tight and winning by the odd goal. Can we get results playing any other way?
We need a win and a draw in these next two games, as Arsenal will need a win on the last day for Champions League qualification. To get a result there in those circumstances will be very difficult. Sunday's match is a massive one for the club.
52 Posted 13/05/2022 at 14:57:11
It would be good to get a regular column going with opposition fans posting before each game.
53 Posted 13/05/2022 at 19:14:07
Could I reply to a few points?
Danny,42:Yes BFC scrapped their Academy about 5 years ago.This was because it got too successful and started beating much bigger clubs and getting boys in national teams like England.At this point,some of the best boys suddenly disappeared and went to these same "big " clubs.Unkind people even made the extraordinary suggestion that underhand inducements might have been a factor!It was costing £2 million for no return,so the decision was made to scrap it and start the Brentford B team,aimed at recruiting unnoticed players in the 17-19 age group.This has been an outstanding success.
Incidentally,Thomas Frank is Head Coach,not Manager.Bees no longer have a Manager.
John,43:Yes I remember when hooliganism started.Younger fans probably do not realise how close it came to destroying the game in the 70s and 80s;
Tony,45:Even when they had their inevitable slump,I don't think the number crunchers at BFC were ever worried by the threat of relegation.They really know their stuff and were working on the premise that Bees would finish 14th/15th;
Dave,46:I'm too young to remember the 50s;first Bees match Sept 1961;50 + years of enjoyable mediocrity before the amazing last 6 or 7 seasons which has been almost unbelievable for a cynical old git;
Pete,50:Bees line up will tell you what you need to know.If the front 3 is Toney,Mbeumo and Wissa,it's 433 and a very open game;If Wissa drops to the bench,it's 532,but Bees will still attack.Incidentally,Eriksen is a wonderful player and story and deservedly gets the plaudits but many Bees fans would agree that the man who makes it all tick is Christian Norgaard.
Anyway,looking forward to a momentous encounter.I think Everton should win as they have all to play for.
See you next season!
54 Posted 13/05/2022 at 19:26:14
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