Premier League Game of the Week: Liverpool 0-2 Everton

The last week in the English Premier League was always going to be about the Merseyside derby, and it ended up being an historic one as Everton beat their city rivals Liverpool 2-0.

Just to put the victory into context this was Everton’s first victory of any kind over Liverpool in 11 years. But it gets better as the records tumble and this was also Everton’s first victory at Anfield since 1999.

The game as one would expect started at a frantic pace even without fans present. Liverpool had set up as a 4-3-3 with again Jordan Henderson being deputised in defence and with that alarming 3 at the front strike partnership of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Jurgen Klopp’s side had come into the game having lost their last 3 home matches, lose this and it would be the first time since 1923 that the Reds had lost 4 games at home in a row.

Everton were expected to be more cautious but still played 2 up front away from home in the form of Richarlison and James Rodriguez who had been pushed further forward. Manager Carlo Ancelotti understood about the looming threat of the hosts and deployed 5 at the back.

Everton got off to the best start possible as James threaded a beautiful ball through to Richarlison who made no mistakes with his shot and Everton were in the lead of the derby within 180 seconds of kick off. That was Richarlison’s 4th goal of the season. For his standards the Brazilian has been quiet in this campaign however in the last few weeks starting with the Tottenham victory in the FA Cup Richarlison has found his form.

Possession wise after the goal was scored Liverpool dominated but interestingly Everton seemed like they could deal with whatever Liverpool presented them- and it wasn’t much. The champions had just 2 shots on target, Everton away from home had one more in the first half.

In the end Liverpool would end up with 72% possession and had a further 4 shots on target and Salah looked to have broken through near the end but Jordan Pickford in goal made some fine saves. Michael Keane really stood out at the back for the visitors and while Liverpool were now creating the better chances Everton were containing them.

Of course it didn’t help that Henderson had to leave the pitch with a groin injury, though at the present time the club captain isn’t expected to miss any further games.

Everton sealed victory after Dominic Calvert-Lewin was sent clear his shot rebounded from Alisson but Trent-Alexander Arnold went for the tackle, he didn’t touch Calvert-Lewin but was adjudged to have impeded him in his run and Everton were given a penalty. There was a VAR call but the referee had made his mind up. Gylfi Sigurdsson made no mistakes in converting the penalty and that was his fourth goal of the season so far.

Man of the Match: Jordan Pickford

There were two Jordan’s on the pitch, one in blue and one in red. But Jordan Pickford for Everton was superb in goal. He has just come back from a rib injury and made some vital saves to keep his side in the game. Simply put if it wasn’t for Pickford’s display Everton could have lost the game.

Pickford only has 7 fantasy points this season because he has played 19 games and been injured and of course conceded goals early in the campaign. His value is 7m and this is the type of performance that could drive him to achieve more clean sheets. So far this season he has 4.

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Have Everton really progressed under Carlo Ancelotti, or is time running out for the Italian?

It’s still brilliant to think that one of the best managers ever in the game is in the dug out at Everton, a club who have struggled for the past few decades and haven’t won any silverware for the past 25 years. That put into context would make one wonder what Ancelotti is doing at the club. This after all is a man who has won everything at clubs like Real Madrid, AC Milan and Chelsea.

Ancelotti saw a challenge and ambition at the club and in owner Farhad Moshiri that means that Everton have some money too, not on a Manchester City level of course but they do have funds available.

Carlo Ancelotti is certainly the man and it would take something for the Italian legend to be sacked. Of course the word sacking and his appointment at the club are, at the moment, worlds apart and in general Everton fans must be happy with Ancelotti, but let’s face it if we are being critical maybe fans would have expected more from the club since Ancelotti got the job back in December 2019.

Ancelotti’s win rate feels like a problem, it is currently at 50% this is his lowest since managing Parma back in 1998. Though critics could point to the fact that when you are in charge of teams such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich you’re winning rates are going to be higher- this is true but the argument then surely exposes the manager’s overall qualities.

The Italian was able to earn Everton 32 points from 22 games managed last season, this would average out to around 55 points over the course of a season. It is only slight improvement of where Everton were before Ancelotti was appointed. Does his salary and the money he has been given justify the club to earn on average 5 extra points? If it was five extra for every season then yes, but the way the current one is working out he is due to arrive on about 60 points. So this could be good news, the problem is Ancelotti probably won’t be at Everton long enough to see the fruits of his labour.

There are many positives at the club and Ancelotti and his team have improved striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin from an average to poor striker to a very good one. Calvert-Lewin’s game has been brilliant under the Italian and he has scored 13 goals in the league so far that is off the scale to his usual meagre return and this has been one of the crowning glories of Ancelotti as a manager for the club.

He has been shrewd his buys too. Allan from Napoli has been solid in midfield. It’s true he only has 2 points in the fantasy rankings but he has missed quite a few games through injury. James Rodriguez was the big transfer for the club from Real Madrid. He can remain frustrating because one week he looks like he is amongst the best players in the world and the other seems to be auditioning for the invisible man role but still he has 25 points so far and has been involved in 8 goals- scoring 5 and assisting in three.

But the problems have persisted for Ancelotti, he is in favour of crowding out the midfield even when Everton play at home and there have been countless times when the club has started games very slowly. That is fatal in the Premier League and Everton have been badly exposed at home because of it.

Everton have won under 30% of their games at home and their recent loss against Fulham by 2-0 really underlined how Ancelotti is failing overall to motivate his players. Beating a team in 18th place whilst you are trying to finish in a Champions League one, one must wonder what motivation is needed to do that?

For now Ancelotti is showing his class but it does feel that it is in sprinkles and not full on. He has done well in moments and given Everton hope. They have two huge games coming up which could define their season. First up is the game against the likely champions this season in Manchester City and then it is the derby against Liverpool.

Can Ancelotti change the mindset for his team and get them over the final hurdle? Even a Europa League qualification would be welcomed at the club and let’s not forget Everton are also in the quarter finals of the FA Cup, however they will have to get past Manchester City to reach the semi’s.

Time may not be running out for Ancelotti just yet, but one has to wonder if Everton’s season peters out and the start of the next is a slow start Ancelotti could be facing the end of his Everton career by the end of 2021.

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Premier League Game of the Week: Manchester United 3-3 Everton

Was this the weekend when Manchester United were found out? The club were never expected to challenge for the Premier League title this season and it’s incredible to think of how well United have done when just 3 months ago manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job was genuinely under threat.

But this was a game for the Red Devils in which they were expected to win. Edinson Cavani was expected to score because the super Uruguyan had done so on two occasions against Everton this season, once in the Carabao Cup to knock Carlo Ancelotti’s team out of the competition and once in the league where United, playing at Goodison Park won the game 3-1. Cavani scored on the break which killed that encounter off.

Cavani as it turned out did not let anyone down as he opened the scoring. At that point it felt fairy predictable that United who have shown moments of great form this season would go on and win the game.

But this match would end up being a game of two halves. And it was all red in the first. United scoring early sensed that Everton were there for the taking. Although one should remember that the Toffeemen have played much better away from home and picked up more points on the road this season. Still it was only United creating all of the chances and they had several moments to double their lead. Everton did not have a shot on target in the first half and when Aaron Wan-Bissaka set up Bruno Fernandes to make it 2-0, surely there was no coming back from this point?

Everton previously and infamously did come back against United when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge of the club, from 4-2 down they drew 4-4. But coming back at Old Trafford was in Ferguson’s era as rare as hen’s teeth. At half time Everton looked doomed. And then suddenly just 4 minutes into the 2nd half it was 2-1. Abdoulaye Doucoure was the goal scorer and it has come moments after Dominic Calvert-Lewin had almost pulled a goal back for the visitors, but he would have his moment later in the game.

For Doucoure the new signing this season it was a special moment, not in the goal itself which was from a rebound in the box but Doucoure doesn’t score many goals and he knew right away that his side were back in this game.

The game seemed to have swung in Everton’s favour and the underdogs for this duel came out fighting and within less than 10 minutes of Doucoure’s goal it was 2-2. And it was Doucoure again who used his magic setting up James Rodriguez who slotted nicely past the keeper. In just 13 minutes of the re start Everton were back on level terms.

The game was end to end now and it was certainly up for grabs, but it would be United taking the lead once more. A Luke Shaw freekick found the head of Scott McTominay who directed the ball home from about 6 yards out. McTominay has been in brilliant form lately and the script looked all set up for him to be the winning goal hero.

As time was running out Lucas Digne hit the post for Everton and the game looked like a huge 3 points for United. But football usually surprises with a few twists and there would be another one for United. Calvert-Lewin prodded home in the area as the ball ran through and United could not quite believe that they had conceded so late, literally the last kick of the game. As expected Everton were ecstatic. The game had ended in a draw but for Everton it had felt like victory.

In league terms it was a blow for United who fell 5 points behind league leaders Manchester City but are still in 2nd place. The problem for United is that City also have a game in hand. Everton are in 7th place but the club have 2 games in hand over most of the teams above them and in theory could go 4th with victories in those games.

Manchester United: man of the match: Bruno Fernandes

What an incredible player Bruno Fernandes has been this season. He scored a world class goal to make it 2-0 to United and that was his 13th goal of the season. In the fantasy rankings he already has 80 points and out of the major leagues in Europe he would be ranked 2nd.

Everton: man of match: Abdoulaye Doucoure

Doucoure ran the show for Everton in the early stages of the 2nd half to bring his club back into a match they thought they had lost. Not only did he score a goal but he also assisted in another. Doucoure has been involved in 5 goals this season in the league and has earned 17 points so far.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players from Week 23

The Premier League title looks like it is returning to Manchester City after they beat the champions 4-1 at Anfield. It was a crushing victory and a huge statement and City have gone 5 points clear of Manchester United at the top and have a game in hand. Pep Guardiola’s side have gone 10 points clear of Liverpool, and their title hopes look over.

Chelsea have looked like a different team under new manager Thomas Tuchel and they have climbed to 5th place after winning 3 games in a row. Everton made an incredible comeback against Manchester United. At one point Everton were losing the game 2-0 but it ended 3-3.

Let’s take a look below at which players made the final 11 cut for this week

Goalkeeper: Damien Martinez- Aston Villa 7pts

Martinez kept yet another clean sheet his 11th of the season as Aston Villa beat Arsenal 1-0. It was a week that saw only 4 other goalkeepers in contention but Martinez made some fine saves and against a very difficult team.

Defender: Thiago Silva- Chelsea 5pts

Thiago Silva has been one of the Chelsea players who has really thrived under new manager Thomas Tuchel and Silva was solid in his performance. Chelsea beat Tottenham and Sheffield United this past week and the club have only conceded 1 goal in the 4 games that Tuchel has been in charge and even that was an own goal.

Defender: Aaron Cresswell- West Ham 5pts

Aaron Cresswell is having a fantastic season with West Ham. The player has really come of his own and is leading the defence superbly and that is key as to why the Hammers are doing so well this season. Cresswell has managed to keep 8 clean sheets so far.

Defender: Serge Aurier- Tottenham 5pts

Serge Aurier has had to prove himself once again under Jose Mourinho and it hasn’t always been easy. But Aurier was part of a defence that kept a clean sheet against West Bromwich Albion as Tottenham won a must win game 2-0 at the weekend.

Defender: Reece James- Chelsea 5pts

Reece James has maybe been an unsung hero at the back for Chelsea this season. But the player has amassed 26 points already and has helped the club to keep six clean sheets.

Midfielder: Ilkay Gundogan- Manchester City 6pts

Ilkay Gundogan was the key to unlocking Liverpool as Manchester City ran out 4-1 winners in one of the biggest games of the season. Gundogan had an eventful match as he missed an earlier penalty but then opened the scoring with a scorching goal and added a 2nd.

Midfielder: Mason Mount- Chelsea 6pts

It’s been a good week for Mason Mount who scored a vital goal for Chelsea to open up the scoring as they beat Sheffield United away from home 2-1. Chelsea have now moved into 5th and are suddenly Champions League qualification contenders.

Midfielder: Jorginho- Chelsea 10pts

Jorginho has had a fantastic few days, he is certainly the penalty king right now. Jorginho scored the only goal of the game to beat Tottenham 1-0 and then scored the winner against Sheffield United to win that game 2-1. He has collected 10 points over those games.

Midfielder: Abdoulaye Doucoure- Everton 6pts

Abdoulaye Doucoure earned 6 points as Everton came back from a losing game and drew 3-3 with Manchester United at Old Trafford in a very exciting spectacle. Doucoure was brilliant as he was the key man to bring the club back into the game making it 1-2 and then assisting for James to score the 2nd to equalise. He has 17 point so far.

Striker: Dominic Calvert-Lewin- Everton 4pts

There were plenty of strikers who managed to earn 4 points for their goals, however Calvert-Lewin’s felt more special. The scene was set as Manchester United were winning 3-2 with just moments left and Calvert-Lewin was able to prod the ball home from an Everton chance. The game finished 3-3, it was a draw but would have felt like victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s team

Striker: Phil Foden- Manchester City 6pts

Phil Foden was absolutely brilliant as he stepped up in the biggest game of the season and helped his side Manchester City beat Liverpool by an incredible 4-1. Foden assisted in the 2nd goal to put City back in the lead and then scored a goal himself. Foden now has 5 goals and his value is 7m.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players of Week 9

Tottenham are the new league leaders after they beat Manchester City 2-0 at home in a huge game for Jose Mourinho’s team. It was the 4th win in a row for Spurs and they lead on goal difference from Liverpool who overcame Leicester 3-0.

Chelsea are in 3rd place and just 2 points behind Tottenham as they remained undefeated for their 10th game in a row in all competitions and got a 2-0 victory over Newcastle. Everton won for the first time in four games against Fulham and Manchester United have crept up to 10th place after they got a narrow 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion. It is a concern to see Manchester City so far down in 13th place though.

After another exciting weekend in the Premier League did any of your players make the team of week 9? Let’s take a look.

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris- Tottenham 7pts

Given that Tottenham were playing Manchester City this was always going to be a busy time for Hugo Lloris and he made some good saves and communicated well with his defence to keep a clean sheet as Tottenham beat City 2-0.

Defender: Andrew Robertson-Liverpool 7pts

Andrew Robertson assisted in Liverpool’s 2nd goal for Jota and then helped to keep a clean sheet as Liverpool won a very important game against Leicester beating them 3-0. Robertson now has 3 assists already for the season.

Defender: Angelo Ogbanna- West Ham 5pts

West Ham have been putting together some impressive results lately and they kept another clean sheet at the weekend by beating Sheffield United 1-0. Angelo Ogbanna had a great game at the back and he has helped to keep four clean sheets this season.

Defender: Eric Dier- Tottenham 5pts

Huge game for Tottenham and Eric Dier shone through with a commanding display at the back as Tottenham beat Manchester City 2-0. Dier earned another 5 points in the process and he is currently the highest ranked defender in the team in the fantasy points.

Defender: Hector Bellerin- Arsenal 5pts

Hector Bellerin arguably put in his best performance of the season in defence as Arsenal head on to a 0-0 draw away to Leeds. Arsenal were under a lot of pressure and Bellerin kept focused throughout the match.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 6pts

Bruno Fernandes keeps being the difference when Manchester United do win games and his cool head to convert the penalty won a narrow game 1-0. Fernandes has scored six goals already this season and has 30 points in the United midfield, 22 more than the 2nd placed player.

Midfielder: Diogo Jota- Liverpool 6pts

Diojo Jota was arguably the best summer transfer in the Premier League, his switch from Wolves to Liverpool has added another layer for the champions. Jota was on hand to score Liverpool’s 2nd goal as they beat Leicester in a crunch encounter 3-0.

Midfielder: Roberto Firmino- Liverpool 6pts

Roberto Firmino rose to the occasion and had more chances in the game than usual possibly owing to the fact that Mohamed Salah was unable to play. Firmino put himself in more attacking options and his hard work paid off as he scored Liverpool’s 3rd goal as they eased to a 3-0 win over Leicester.

Midfielder: Giovani Lo Celso- Tottenham 6pts

Giovani Lo Celso was the unlikely hero as the ex Real Betis player scored Tottenham’s winning goal against Manchester City. That was Lo Celso’s first goal of the season and his value is 7m.

Striker: Dominic Calvert-Lewin- Everton 8pts

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is having the best season of his career so far and scored 2 goals as Everton beat Fulham 3-2. It was an important victory for the club who had lost their previous three games in a row. Calvert-Lewin took his goals well, scoring his first after just 42 seconds and has scored 10 goals this season already.

Striker: Sebastian Haller- West Ham 4pts

Sebastian Haller was the hero for West Ham as he scored the only goal of the game as the Hammers overcame Sheffield United 1-0 away from home. Haller has scored 2 goals in the league and his value is 7.5m.

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Fantasy Premier League Gameweek 4 Picks

Leicester City, Liverpool and Everton are the last remaining teams with a 100% winning record as we head into the fourth round of Premier League fixtures, whilst Fulham, Sheffield United and Burnley all remain pointless.

In some of the most-anticipated games of the weekend, Leeds United host Manchester City on Saturday and Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford as his Tottenham Hotspur face Manchester United.

Here are our recommended picks for your fantasy team this weekend:

Goalkeeper: Alisson (Liverpool)
Clean sheets have been at a premium to start the 2020-21 Premier League season and Liverpool have kept just one in their first three. However, a trip to Aston Villa on Sunday should be a good opportunity for Alisson to double that tally.

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Premier League Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 2

Heung-min Son scored four as Tottenham Hotspur thrashed Southampton 5-2 and Dominic Calvert-Lewin grabbed a hat-trick as Everton beat 10 man West Bromwich Albion by the same score.

Clean sheets were hard to come by in the Premier League last weekend, with only Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea and Aston Villa keeping one.

Here’s a look at the players who made a real difference in the fantasy football last weekend:

Goalkeeper: Emi Martinez (Aston Villa) – 7pts
Aston Villa’s new signing introduced himself to the fans by saving a penalty and keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Sheffield United on his debut. Emi Martinez was one of only three goalkeepers to keep a clean sheet on matchday 2.

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James, Allan, Doucoure – Everton predicted XI vs Spurs

Everton fans head into the 2020-21 Premier League season with a little more optimism than usual.

The Merseyside club have splashed out more than £50 million to bring Allan, James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucoure to the club this week.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side will now be looking to challenge for the European places this season after a disappointing end to the last campaign which saw them finish 12th.

The Toffees begin their campaign on Sunday away to Tottenham Hotspur, who themselves underachieved last season.

A number of players can be expected to make their debut this weekend and here’s how I see Ancelotti’s side starting the match:

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford
Jordan Pickford put in a number of below par performances last season but doesn’t have much in the way of competition for the number one role at Goodison Park. The England international could certainly do with a better campaign this time around though, now with Dean Henderson competing for the a starting role at Euro 2021.

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Were Everton wrong to turn down Barcelona’s €100m bid for Richarlison?

This week Barcelona made a surprise bid for Everton striker Richarlison and reportedly offered the club €100m euros. It is thought that Everton immediately rejected the offer, but were the Premier League side wrong to do so?

Barcelona have been panicking of late after the news that striker Luis Suarez will miss four months of the season which will effectively rule him out for the rest of it. The Catalan giants have been looking to secure a striker, but finding a good one is always traditionally hard in the January transfer window. Not many people would have thought the club would be asking Everton for one of their players, but according to many reports that is exactly what they did.

Everton want to build with what they have and it is obvious that manager Carlo Ancelotti was having none of it, and the thought of selling Richarlison was rejected. There is no clear news about what happened behind the scenes, would the Everton board have sold the Brazilian if they didn’t have such a strong headed manager like Ancelotti in charge? If as expected Ancelotti was against the sale and yet Everton had gone through with it that could have started a snowball effect with the Italian manager which could have led for many problems for the club.

However Barcelona’s bid did seem like a fair one. Everton bought Richarlison for £40m 18 months ago and they would have doubled their profit on the player. Whilst Richarlison has shown promise he has failed to be consistent enough. True the club started to struggle under Marco Silva this season but Richarlison wasn’t able to lead the team as they nosedived near to the bottom three.

In 57 league games Richarlison has scored 21 goals, that isn’t by any means terrible but neither is it good for a player that another team are willing to spend so much on. This season he has scored 8 goals from 22 games. Dominic Calvert-Lewin who is the same age as Richarlison has played the same games and scored 10, and really looks to have grown as a player since Ancelotti came in.

It’s a tough one for Everton then. Because Richarlson let’s face it on his day is the clubs best player, a piece of star dust that can turn the game. But at the same time Barcelona offered a lot of money. There are really many ways of looking it. Imagine if Everton were in the bottom three or 17th and needed his goals, then it would make sense to reject the offer. But Everton are 7 points clear of the relegation zone and they will almost certainly be safe this season. The club need the extra funds too after posting a year end loss of £110m.

But the club also need to be run properly, and had they sold him they would be a man down for the rest of the season, they wouldn’t have found a decent replacement with just a couple of days left.

Does this mean that Richarlison could leave in the summer though? You could forgive him for having his head turned at the thought that Barcelona wanted him, and if the club still feel the same way at the end of the season then Everton will have a huge battle on their hands to keep him.

Perhaps the best solution has already been made. Keep him until the summer and if there is interest and the money is good don’t let this one run and run if the player wants to leave, make it happen and invest wisely.

So Everton could have taken the money now and sold him, but you can see the clubs point of view, and perhaps they have, for now, made the right decision.

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Everton finally playing with passion under Duncan Ferguson

Sure it’s only been one game but whose hearts didn’t melt at the sight of Duncan Ferguson, Everton’s caretaker manager running down the touchline and embracing not one but two ball boys as he saw his side score against Chelsea?

True Chelsea fans would have hated the spectacle as Everton went on to win the game 3-1 but anyone who simply loves the passion of the game which is seemingly buried deep under a mountain of business and investment but rose like a phoenix at Goodison Park must have loved what they saw.

The victory over Chelsea was Everton’s first in over a month and took the club out of the relegation zone and into 14th place. This was a match that at least on paper looked like it would be another loss for the club who have suffered greatly this season. Marco Silva was finally and inevitably sacked after a series of poor results ending in a 5-2 defeat to city rivals Liverpool. Enough was enough for the board, but with no manager yet ready to come step in the club had to turn to caretaker Duncan Ferguson to oversee the clubs fortunes for the next few weeks at least.

Ferguson’s appointment was great news for long standing fans. He is a club legend with Everton. But also he is an old school warrior so to speak. True he got himself in lots of trouble both on the pitch and off but he will always remain a club legend with fans, so to have him in charge of the club is, in a sense, a dream come true.

Of course one must remain with caution, Ferguson doesn’t have any first team experience and in the long term you would expect that to come back and haunt Everton. But for now there is sheer jubilation and it is clear that the players stepped up for Ferguson against a very good Chelsea side. Ferguson ticked every box in the dressing room and also believed to put Dominic Calvert-Lewin up front on his own with Richarlison sitting behind him as attacking midfielder. Whilst Silva was also prone to play Calvert-Lewin up front, he would also drop the player to the bench for no reason and his tactics seemed to be one of panic and shuffle.

Already some have suggested that Ferguson should be getting the job full time. This is a surprising thing to say after just one game. But what is refreshing is having someone in charge of a club that genuinely loves being there and sees it more than just a stepping stone and another job. Ferguson is part of Everton and Everton is part of Ferguson. How long the relationship will last is anyone’s idea, but right now having the Scotsman in charge feels like an early Christmas present for the fans.

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