EPL Game Week 31 – 2020/21 Season – Weekend Premier League Tips

John Newsome Football Betting Tips - everytip

The highlight games for this weekend’s action are MAN CITY versus LEEDS UNITED and TOTTENHAM versus MANCHESTER UNITED. Our feature columnist, John Newsome previews these as well as all game-week 31 EPL matches with his unique and insightful commentary. You can view all previous analysis from John’s regular column here: English Premier League Predictions For Saturday.

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Please note all prices quoted below were correct at the time of publication.

FULHAM v WOLVES

Friday 9th

BT Sport 20.00 in England

Football keeps on coming with Game Week-31 starting late Friday evening, all these fixtures being the reverse of Game Week-4, which took place back in early October 2020.

This is one of two fixtures, that sees both teams coming into the tie off the back of a loss from their Easter Weekend games.

The term ‘snatching a defeat from the jaws of victory’ pops up a couple of times in this week’s column, with Fulham suffering a defeat by a 3-1 scoreline against Aston Villa on Sunday after Aleksandar Mitrovic had given Scott’s Boys the lead on the hour mark.

That goal temporarily took Fulham out of the relegation zone but also kicked Villa into life, with Dean Smith making a couple of inspired substitutions, that lead to 3-Claret and Blue goals to ultimately inflict the defeat on Fulham who remain in the bottom-3, with the same 26-points as before the game but due to Newcastle gaining a point against Tottenham earlier on Easter Sunday, the Cottagers are now 3-points from safety.

In a space of 12-days from the 24th of March to Easter, the 4th of April, Big Mit has scored 6-goals, 5 for his National team Serbia and the 1 Easter Egg for Fulham.

If the Cottagers are relegated, the Meerkat Mitrovic will be a wanted man and may just stay in the Premier League, wearing a different Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday strip, (maybe Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday too!)

The added hurt to Ronald McDonald boy Scott is that his boys have played a game more than those nearest to them.

So with just 7-fixtures remaining, it’s touch and go whether Fulham will be again Yo-Yo-ing between the Premier League and the Championship and could just be replaced in the Top Flight by a certain Yorkshire club in Red.

Wolves were losing by 3-goals to nil on Monday, before they started to play, with Leander Dendoncker pulling a goal back just before the break.

Fabio Silva added a 2nd in the 68th-minute but the Hammers held on to inflict a defeat on Nuno’s Gold and Blacks by a 3-2 scoreline.

The loss leaves Wolves in 14th-place in the table with 35-points from 30-fixtures, 9-points more than today’s opponent and although not mathematically safe, the Molineux crowd should be back next term to watch Premier League football.

At Molineux back in October, a solitary strike from the Supermarket man, Pedro Neto, just after the break, gave Wolves the victory by a 1-0 scoreline.

The last time Fulham were in the Premier League, the season before last, in May 2019, Nuno’s Gold and Blacks also beat Scott’s Cottagers at Molineux by a single goal, with the game at Craven Cottage finishing in a 1-1 draw, so it won’t be a surprise if there aren’t many goals today.

Bet 365 offer Fulham at 7/5, the draw at 21/10 and 11/5 for Wolves to come away with all 3-points.

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MAN CITY v LEEDS UNITED

Saturday 10th

BT Sport 12.30 in England

Man City continued their dominance of the Premier League with a hard-fought convincing victory against Leicester at the King Power by a 2-0 scoreline.

After a goalless 1st-half that saw City have 62%-possession, with Leicester not registering a corner, shot on goal or even a touch in the away team’s penalty area, Pep worked his magic in the dressing room that saw an unlikely scorer getting the opener.

Benjamin Mendy gave City the lead after the break, with Gabriel Jesus, fittingly adding the 2nd on the Easter Weekend.

Considering Leicester were the home team and 3rd in the table, Pep’s High Flying City were head and shoulders above Brendan’s not so Wonderful’s.

Man City now have 74-points from 31-fixtures, a massive 14-points more than the Numpty Neighbours, who sit 2nd and 18 more than Leicester.

Pep’s Blues have 7-fixtures remaining, so in theory, will be crowned the 2020/21 Premier League Champions in 4-games time, providing Manchester United win their remaining games.
Obviously, if results differ, then that title could be at the Etihad sooner.

The next 4-Premier League fixtures are this one against Leeds United plus, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace then Chelsea at the Etihad. It would be a nice way to confirm the inevitable in that home game against Thomas’s Blue Engines.

In between those 4-fixtures, there are 2-games against Borussia Dortmund, in the Champions League, a tie against Chelsea in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup at Wembley and then another trip to the home of football to take on Tottenham in the Final of the Carabao Cup.

Before this game against Marcelo’s Whites, Man City host Dortmund at the Etihad, with the away leg allowed to take place in Germany, unlike the Quarter-Finals of Chelsea, who have to play both the home and away legs in Spain, which does appear strange but that is of the way at the moment under the current circumstances.

Sergio Aguero made a rare start for Man City against the Foxes, a few days after announcing that the Argentinian will be leaving the Etihad at the end of the season. There are only 3-players in the history of the Premier League that have scored more Top Flight goals than Mr Aguero.

Alan Shearer is at the top of the goal-scoring charts with 260 Premier League goals, above Wayne Rooney who has 208.

Andy Cole is 3rd with 187, which is just 6 more than Sergio in 4th, with 181 and counting with the possibility of another 7-fixtures to increase that figure before the end of the season and also, not ruling out the fact that the lad could still be in the Premier League in the coming years, as there will be several suitors that would love to have the striker in their lineups.

Jamie Vardy and Edinson Cavanni are still class acts and both aged 34, Sergio is only 32, so still has a lot to offer, it’s just whether the injuries have taken their toll. Sergio was once married to Diego Maradona’s daughter and although have now separated, has a son.

Imagine the talent of that lad, if he decides to play football with the genes of Diego Maradona and Sergio Aguero.

It’s rumoured the new future Mrs Aguero, is currently looking on RightMove at 3-bedroom semis in Barnsley after monitoring the Yorkshire clubs play-off hopes in the Championship that could see Barnsley FC promoted to the Promised Land.

Sergio would certainly be welcomed at Oakwell to help increase his Premier League tally.

Leeds United beat their Yorkshire neighbours from down the M1, on Saturday, getting a professional victory by a 2-1 scoreline.

Sheffield United are rock bottom of the Premier League so a win for Marcelo’s Whites was predicted, however, Leeds had to put in the performance to beat a resilient Blades outfit who are under the stewardship of ex-Leeds United boss Paul Heckinbottom.

What was referred to before the game, by absolutely nobody, as the Paul Heckinbottom Derby, Jack Harrison had the easiest of tap-ins after superb work by Raphinha to give, Leeds the lead. It looked for all purpose that the Whites would go in at half-time in front, however, Leeds conceded an equaliser in 1st-half stoppage time. Mr Bielsa wasn’t happy and went on his 13-step march.

The home team started the quickest after the break and restored their lead when the legendary Sheffield United defender Phil Jagielka converted a cross past his own keeper following a superb move by the Leeds United attackers.

It looked like Jack Harrison was returning the favour to Raphinha who had an easy tap in if Big Phil hadn’t beaten him to it. After all of Game Week-30 fixtures were completed, Leeds sit 11th in the table with 42-points, from 30-games completed.

The same 42-points as Arsenal who are a place higher, having a superior goal-difference than the Whites.

A few of the Leeds United faithful, both cardboard and real wanted another couple of victories to cement their place in the Premier League for next season, however, in truth, Marcelo’s Whites were never in any danger of being relegated and with 8-fixtures remaining, could easily achieve another 12-15 points to finish their 1st-season back in the Top Flight with a healthy points tally.

A note of caution, however, is all connected with Leeds United should look at the fate of their Yorkshire counterparts, who themselves had a great 1st-season back but have suffered the dreaded 2nd-season syndrome and are going to be relegated. Marcelo, take note!

In Game Week-4, Marcelo’s Whites got a great result at Elland Rd, being one of only 7-teams to take points off Pep’s City, who were not so High Flyers at that particular time of the season. That doesn’t take away anything from Leeds United’s brilliant draw by a 1-1 scoreline, against Man City.

In the 30-games played so far, Leeds have only been involved in 3-stalemates, with draws against Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

As mentioned in previous columns, Marcelo goes for the victory and if a defeat occurs, so be it. For example, out of 4-games, to win 2 and lose 2, produces 6-points, whereas 4-draws, yields 4-points.

So when a manager says his team are unbeaten, it’s not necessarily as good as it possibly sounds.

In the 2003/04 campaign, Arsenal went the entire season unbeaten, now known as the ‘Invincibles’, which is a great achievement, however, to draw 38-games in a campaign, could quite easily get a team relegated, unbeaten but gone. Marcelo Bielsa’s footballing philosophy is by far, the best way to play.

The greatest Premier League manager of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson had the same philosophy and it didn’t do the Great Scot any harm.

Imagine Leeds United, in the Premier League next season, with a vaccine full, packed Elland Rd, all marching on together. Raheem Sterling scored in the 1st-half to take City in leading at the break.

Rodrigo equalised for Leeds, 3-minutes after being introduced as a 2nd-half substitute and with no further goals, the maestro Marcelo Bielsa was undefeated against the perfecto Pep Guardiola.

One point to add to that is, apart from Manchester United, none of the other teams (Leicester, Leeds United, West Ham, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Brom) have taken points from Man City in their rematch, with Pep’s Blues beating all of the above in the reverse fixtures.

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LIVERPOOL v ASTON VILLA

Saturday 10th

Sky Sports 15.00 in England

Liverpool earned a great victory on Saturday night, beating Arsenal at the Emirates by a 3-0 scoreline.

Jurgen’s Reds have struggled of late, however, it is the home form that has been the downfall, so the trip to the Capital, actually suited Liverpool. Mo Salah scored, in between a Diogo Jota brace, all in the 2nd-half to give the away team the comfortable victory.

Whilst it’s a certainty that Liverpool won’t retain the Premier League title, it’s less certain that Jurgen’s Boys will finish in the Top Six, as although a great 3-points were earned at the Emirates, Tottenham gained a point, as did Everton who have played a game less and West Ham getting all 3, meaning Jurgen’s boys remain 7th in the table, with 49-points from 30-fixtures completed.

What may be the Reds Achilles heel is that 4 of the remaining 8 fixtures are at Anfield, where Liverpool haven’t had a victory since December.

Before this home fixture against Villa, Liverpool head to Spain to take on Real Madrid in the 1st-leg of the Quarter-Final of the Champions League, then play the return leg at home after the visit of Dean Smith’s boys.

A scenario could occur that sees Liverpool fail to achieve a Top Four or even Six, finish but win the Champions League and still play in the top European competition next term.

There are a lot of games to play before that scenario manifests itself, however, it would mean that if Liverpool do win the Champions League but finish outside the Top Four, there will be 5-English teams in the premier European competition next term.

If Liverpool are successful against Real Madrid and Chelsea beat Porto, the two will meet in the Semi’s meaning a guaranteed English club in the Champions League final.

Luis Garcia is on tenterhooks awaiting the inevitable phone calls if that fixture materialises. If Man City are successful against Dortmund, Pep’s Blues have the unenviable task of then facing either Paris Saint-Germain or Bayern Munich for a place in the final, in Istanbul, meaning there’s a chance of an all-English Champions League Final. Everyone loves a lot of ‘ifs’ ‘buts’ and ‘maybes.’

Aston Villa, still without the excellent Jack Grealish, who was set to start at the weekend but suffered a setback, came from a goal behind on Easter Sunday against Fulham and inflicted a defeat on the Cottagers by a 3-1 scoreline.

Tyrone Mings, who is on for an International summer with England in the Euro 2020s, made an unusual error, allowing Fulham to score.

Dean Smith then made a couple of inspired substitutions, replacing Anwar El-Ghazi and Morgan Sanson with Trezeguet and Keinan Davis.

Villa then went on to score 3-goals, 2 from Big Trez and 1 from Ollie Watkins, to gain a 1st victory in 5-games and just a 2nd win without Mr Grealish, who has missed the last 7-fixtures.
The fine victory that dented Fulham’s survival hopes, leaves Dean’s Claret and Blues with 44-points, 5 behind today’s hosts but significantly, Villa have only completed 29-fixtures whereas Liverpool have played 30.

Aston Villa sit 9th in the table but will feel a victory against Liverpool plus a win in the game in hand can elevate them higher, even above the Reds, which after staving off relegation last term on the last day of the season, is a brilliant improvement and are easily safe this term with something to build on for next season.

The problem Aston Villa may find is, as Dean assembles a decent squad, players such as Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa, Trezeguet, Ollie Watkins and of course Jack, become sellable items and players that the so-called big boys will come hunting.

Man City will be on the lookout for a Sergio Aguero replacement, Ollie Watkins? Manchester United need an influential midfielder, Jack Grealish? Ole’s Trollies could certainly think about partnering England’s Tyrone Mings with England’s Harry Maguire.

Leicester, Tottenham and Chelsea, wouldn’t go far wrong in making enquiries for Tyrone and maybe Ezri Konsa too. Trezeguet is an Arsenal player in the making.

Whilst not wanting to upset the Villains and sell off their star men, if a Numpty from Barnsley can see it, the top clubs will be able to see it too.

The demise of Liverpool, as Premier League Champions, can be sourced back to this reverse fixture in early October, with Dean Smith’s Claret and Blues inflicting a humiliating defeat on Jurgen’s Reds, by a 7-2 scoreline.

England’s new boy, Ollie Watkins scored a superb hat-trick, before the half-time cup of tea, with John McGinn adding a 4th. Mo Salah had scored a Liverpool goal whilst the score was only 2-0, meaning the scoreline at the break was 4-1.

Ross Barkley and 2, from Jack Grealish, made it 7, with Mo adding a 2nd for the Reds, giving a final scoreline of 7-2 in favour of Aston Villa.

There’s a lot of reasons or excuses been given as to why Liverpool have been so poor in their attempt to retain the Premier League title, one being the omission of Virgil Van Dijk.

Even this column advocates that reason/excuse, however, what can partly dispel that myth is Big Virgil played the full 90-minutes against Villa and was part of the 7-2 drubbing.

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CRYSTAL PALACE v CHELSEA

Saturday 10th

Sky Sports 17.30 in England

Crystal Palace earned a great point against Everton, early on Bank Holiday Monday Night Football, coming from a goal behind with Michy Batshuayi, scoring in the 86th-minute, just 2-minutes after coming on as a replacement for Jordan Ayew.

An inspired substitution by Roy Hodgson that got the draw against his fellow old-timer in the dugout, Carlo Ancelotti, whose Toffees had scored just after the break.

The point gained, gives Crystal Palace 38, from the 30-fixtures played, a massive 13-points fewer than today’s hosts.

That said, Crystal Palace are relatively safe and will still be in the Premier League next season, hopefully with the real Eagle Ultras, cheering on their idols.

Thomas Tuchel hadn’t seen an opposing team score against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, until Saturday, when the Big German saw 5, go into his Blues net from West Brom who defied their league position, in the way they comfortably beat the home team.

Christian Pulisic scored first and settled the nerves of Chelsea with no real evidence of what was to follow. However, within 2-minutes of the Americans goal, Thiago Silva, who hadn’t played for 11-games due to injury, inexplicably decided to dive in on the West Brom attacker and having already been shown a 1-Yellow Card. In the opening 5-minutes, was shown a 2nd and subsequent Red, to finish the Brazilian’s comeback after just short of half-hour on the pitch.

West Brom saw their chance and took it, scoring twice when the 45-minutes were up, both from the same player.

After the break, the Baggies then scored 2 more and although Mason Mount, who came on at the start of the 2nd-half, pulled a goal back, West Brom added a 5th to inflict the stunning, Acca destroying, coupon busting result nobody saw coming.

Thomas’s Blue Engines were simply outplayed by Big Sam’s relegation fighters, who have certainly given themselves a slim chance of survival. West Brom have now scored 8-goals against Chelsea this term.

The surprise defeat leaves Chelsea with 51-points from 30-fixtures and following the subsequent victory for West Ham, TT’s Blues drop down to 5th in the table, out of the Champions League places.

It could have been a lot worse if Tottenham had won too but Chelsea’s ex-two time gaffer, Jose Mourinho decided to help out his old boys and informed his Spurs team to only draw against Newcastle, leaving Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea ahead of Dracula’s Spurs by 2-points.

Chelsea head to Spain, before this fixture against Palace, to take on Porto in the Quarter-Final 1st-leg. Most will be thinking, ‘Porto is in Portugal?’ Correct.

However, the tie is in Seville’s Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, due to the Coronavirus quarantine procedures in place, that allows the London club to return to England after the game. Portugal won’t allow any flights in and out of the country.

That also means the 2nd-leg, will be played in Seville too, giving both teams the equal chance to progress to the Semi-Final, where potentially, a meeting against Liverpool is on the cards, if Jurgen’s Reds win their respective Quarter-Final tie against Real Madrid.

A Frank Lampard Chelsea comfortably beat Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.
After a goalless 1st-half, Ben Chilwell, Kurt Zouma, and 2-Jorginho penalties gave the Blues the victory by a 4-0 scoreline.

At the time, Frank was the darling of the Bridge, now it’s Big Tom who’s at the helm, one of the youngest managers in the Premier League, up against Big Roy, definitely the oldest.

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BURNLEY v NEWCASTLE

Sunday 11th

Sky Sports 12.00 in England

The term ‘snatching a defeat from the jaws of victory’ is often used when a team is comfortably winning then lose.

That is exactly what happened on Sunday when Chris Wood and Matej Vydra scored early against Southampton to give Burnley a comfortable lead after 28-minutes.

The defeat was then snatched when Sean Dyche’s Clarets conceded 2-goals before the break then a 3rd in the 2nd-half to go from 2-0 in front to lose the game by a 3-2 scoreline.

The Gravel Voiced Gingerbread Man was not happy and it would have interesting to be in the away dressing room at the end of the game. The voice would have been in overdrive.

With both teams on 33-points before the game, the Saints move 3-points ahead and virtually guarantees them a Premier League place next term.

That said, Burnley remain on 33-points, in 15th-place in the table and following all of the Game Week-30 fixtures being completed, Sean’s Clarets are still 7-points above Fulham who sit in the final relegation place. Luckily for the Clarets, the Cottagers also snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory, so no real damage done.

Along with this 6-pointer against Newcastle, Burnley have to face Fulham and Sheffield United in their remaining 8-fixtures, however, also have a trip to Old Trafford and Molineux along with home games against West Ham, Leeds United and a revengeful Liverpool who will be wanting to avenge the defeat at Anfield that started the 6-run home defeats for the Reds.

Probably, the only positive thing that the Burnley faithful can cling onto is Fulham have played a game more so Sean will feel it’s still in their hands as to whether his Clarets want to remain in the Premier League.

Newcastle ruined a few Sunday Accas with a creditable point from a draw by a Desmond 2-2 scoreline against Tottenham on Sunday.

Joelinton opened the scoring against Spurs after 28-minutes but whilst the Magpies were still celebrating, Tottenham immediately equalised, then scored a 2nd to give Jose’s men a lead at the break.

Steve Bruce made an inspired substitution bringing on Arsenal loanee, Joe Willock, who scored 6-minutes after his introduction, against the North London rivals to earn a valuable point in Newcastle’s attempt to stay in the Premier League for another season.

Knowing that Fulham were about to kick off in their Game Week-30 fixture at Villa Park, it was vital for the Magpies to get something out of the game against Tottenham.

With Fulham subsequently losing against Villa, Newcastle, with 29, stay out of the relegation place by 3-points and have only played 30-times not the 31, the Cottagers have.

Newcastle head to Craven Cottage in the final fixture of the season so will want to keep ahead of Fulham and maybe play out a final day winner takes all Premier League survival game, which will definitely have the travelling cardboard Toon Army reaching for the gaffer tape.

There may even be the possibility of a few actual real-life members of the Toon Army being allowed down to London with the cry of, ‘Hoo much?’

When a round of 4-pints have been requested and the Australian bar-person replies,
‘That will be £30, please’ Hoo much?

At St James Park, Newcastle got a rare victory by a 3-1 scoreline. Allan Saint-Maximin scored 1st to give the Magpies a half-time lead. Callum Wilson added a 2nd, minutes after Ashley Westwood had equalised for the Clarets. Callum scored a penalty to make it 3-1 and give Steve Bruce the win over Sean Dyche.

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WEST HAM v LEICESTER

Sunday 11th

Sky Sports 14.05 in England

West Ham were hit with a blow before their Monday Night Football at Molineux, with the news that the Hammers influential midfielder, Declan Rice had sustained a knee injury and will be missing for around a month.

A big loss to the West Ham team, however, does give Mark Noble the chance to partner Tomas Soucek and give the Bubbles Club Captain some much-needed game time, which has been limited of late. It could also mean that Doctor Declan could miss out on an England place at this summers Euro 2020.

A West Ham-less Mr Rice, produced another great performance, away at Wolves on Monday Night Football, with Jesse Lingard scoring his 6th-goal in a Hammers shirt, since joining on loan, after just 6-minutes.

Pablo Fornals added a superb 2nd, 14-minutes later, with Jarrod Bowen adding a 3rd, in the 38th-minute, 2-minutes after coming on as a replacement for the injured Michail Antonio, who will be another big loss for West Ham if the lads out as long as Declan.

Wolves pulled a goal back just before half-time, then added a 2nd, just after the restart that gave the cardboard Bubbles a nervy final 20-minutes or so.

In truth, David Moyes Boys were in control but must have been conscious of what happened in the previous game against Arsenal, when West Ham were leading 3-0 but drew 3-3.

The Hammers move back up to 4th in the table, the final Champions League place, above Chelsea who lost against West Brom and Tottenham who only managed a draw against Newcastle. With 52-points from 30-fixtures played, it’s a point more than Thomas Tuchel’s Blues and 3 more than Dracula’s Spurs.

This game against the Foxes will see the 3rd and 4th place go head-to-head, if West Ham can get the home win, there would just be a point separating the two, however, if the away team gets the victory, it would move Leicester 7-points ahead of West Ham.

Leicester lost against Man City on Saturday with Pep’s Paisleys inflicting a defeat on Brendan’s Blues by a 2-0 scoreline.

After a goalless 1st-half, City scored twice to beat Leicester that leaves the Foxes still in 3rd-place, with 56-points, now 4-points away from Manchester United and a massive 18 adrift of Man City. There is still a gap of 4-points between Leicester and today’s opposition in 4th.

After this tough ask at the London Stadium, Brendan’s Wonderful’s stay in the Capital and face Southampton in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup at Wembley. Lennon the pooch was shirt free on Saturday night, with Rod Stewart in a happy mood due to Leicester losing.

Rod was wearing the very fetching Paisley Print Man City away shirt with ‘Stewart’ and ‘76’ on the back and Lennon was curled up in front of the log-burner, with a handful of treats laid out in front.

At the same time as Leicester were losing, Sir Roderick’s beloved Green and White Hoops from North of the Border, beat the mighty Falkirk (who?), not in the Scottish Pub League but the Scottish Pub Cup, Scotland’s equivalent of the FA Cup.

Mr Stewart and the rest of the Celtic fans are dreaming of a Cup Final trip to Hampden Park but will have to overcome the arch-enemy Rangers, who beat the mighty Cove Rangers (who?) in their subsequent tie and have now been paired together in the last-16 of the Scottish Pub Cup.

Lennon will be nowhere to be seen that particular weekend, when the Glasgow Blues face the Glasgow Greens, with the possibility of the game taking place at the same time as Leicester’s Semi-Final.

As Rod was pouring Penny and himself a nice glass of wine before settling down to watch Ant and his mate, the puppy was humming the tune to one of Mr Stewart’s iconic tunes, ‘He’s Celtic, United but Brendan has decided that Leicester is the best place to be.’ Woof Woof!

The Foxes suffered a home defeat back in October with the Hammers getting the victory by a 3-0 scoreline. Michail Antonio scored the opener with Pablo Fornals adding a 2nd to give West Ham a 2-0 lead at the break. Jarrod Bowen added the 3rd late in the game to give the Bubbles an easy away-day win.

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TOTTENHAM v MANCHESTER UNITED

Sunday 11th

Sky Sports 16.30 in England

Tottenham were surprisingly held to a draw against struggling Newcastle on Easter Sunday.
Harry Kane scored a quick double, cancelling out a Magpie opener to give Spurs a lead at half-time.

Unfortunately, the bad dog walker was on show and Tottenham couldn’t hold on to the lead, conceding a 2nd-half equaliser that resulted in the game finishing in a Desmond 2-2 draw.

What will have irked Dracula is the fact that his LilyWhites fixture was played after watching both Leicester and Chelsea suffer defeats, the day before and knew that a victory would put Tottenham, above the Blues into 4th-place with the same 51-points but having a better goal difference.

Unfortunately, due to drawing the game against Newcastle, Spurs have 49-points and remain 6th in the table, a place above Liverpool who have 49-points too but have conceded 4 more goals than Tottenham, having both scored 51-times.

Gareth Bale was afforded 2-minutes game time at the end of the match, which, if the Tottenham faithful are wondering why the lad is off back to Spain at the end of the season, that’s one of the reasons.

Spurs conceded the equaliser in the 85th-minute so Dracula, after the horse had bolted, threw GB on with 2-minutes to go, to try and snatch the victory. He’s Gareth Bale, not Paul Daniels.

Why didn’t Jose introduce Gareth earlier to cement the lead instead of waiting until Newcastle had equalised, effectively throwing Mr Bale under the bus? Mr Mourinho introduced Erik Lamela in the 64th-minute, whilst Tottenham were in front. Couldn’t GB have come on too?

Granted Erik and Gareth are similar left-footed players but it appeared Mr Lamela was ahead of Mr Bale in the pecking order.

After Erik came on, Steve Bruce introduced 3-players but Jose didn’t react until the Newcastle equaliser, asking Gareth to try and influence the game in the 88th-minute. It was a big ask.

Gareth did enhance his position at the top of the Barnet of the Year competition, with 2-minutes to showcase his lovely locks, whilst his main rival, Andy Carroll was nowhere to be seen.

Manchester United left it late, late on Easter Sunday to get the victory against a resilient Brighton team who matched Ole’s Trollies for the 90-minutes and maybe will feel aggrieved that they came away from Old Trafford with nothing.

Brighton scored in the 13th-minute to give the Seagulls a half-time lead. United then started to play after the break with Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba becoming more involved in proceedings, even Fred being a bit more assertive.

Marcus Rashford equalised on the hour-mark to settle the cardboard Red Devil nerves before Mason Greenwood scored in the 83rd-minute to give Ole’s Wheels the victory by a narrow 2-1 scoreline.

Somehow and it’s still not fully known, Manchester United are 2nd in the Premier League table, with 60-points but still a massive 14 away from the Noisy Neighbours.

Due to said Noisy Neighbours inflicting a defeat on United’s nearest rivals, Leicester, Ole’s boys are now 4-points above the Foxes and 11-points ahead of Tottenham in 6th. With 8-fixtures remaining, that effectively means, United have to win 5 more games, from the 8, to be in the Champions League next season.

That’s providing that Manchester United don’t win the Europa League that it appears, Ole is targeting.

Before this tie against Tottenham, United head to Spain to take on La Liga side Granada, who are in the last-8 of the Europa League after achieving a narrow victory over 2-legs against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s previous team, Molde.

If United do progress to the Semi-Finals of the Europa League, Ole’s Trollies will face either Ajax or Roma.

Ex-Manchester United player, Chris Smalling will be hoping his new club Roma, can beat Ajax and set up a clash with his old club. However, Chris is injured at the moment and hasn’t played in the last 5-Roma fixtures, so will be hoping for a return before the season finishes.

During the current lockdown restrictions, the TV is the go-to entertainment and whether it’s Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube or the council telly, there’s loads of football content out there.

One of the shows that was stumbled upon was a great interview with Roy Keane in front of an audience that must have been made before the social distancing measures were put in place. Mr Keane was in fine form and had the excellent Gary Neville at the side of him, to keep Keano in some kind of order.

It reminded this EveryTip contributor that during the first lockdown last April and May, when the Premier League was suspended, a couple of columns were published on April 13th 2020 and May 1st 2020, that were entitled ‘Manchester United‘s All-Time Premier League Best Eleven’ and ‘Top 10 Roy Keane Most Memorable Moments’

No apologies are offered for reprinting this part of the first column and a paragraph or two from the second, about the enigmatic Roy Keane.

‘Manchester United All-Time Premier League Best Eleven’ ‘6. Roy Keane

It’s probably inconceivable to think that a Manchester United Premier League Best Of, doesn’t include Paul Scholes. Unfortunately for little Paul, Roy gets in ahead of the Ginger King.

It was a tough decision but like any great manager, there are only eleven that can start and Roy just pips Paul for the midfield jersey. If the faithful can remember prior to Roy’s arrival at Old Trafford in the summer of 1993, where United had just won the 1st-Premier League title and United’s 1st-Top Flight title in 26-years.

Sir Alex had Paul Ince and Bryan Robson as his midfield generals and it wasn’t sure Roy would get into the starting line-up. Roy probably just had to play 15-minutes on the training pitch for Sir Alex to say, ‘Roy’s starting Saturday’

The other mitigating factor, Bryan was now 36-years old and although a true United legend, the years had taken their toll on Big Bryan so Sir Alex knew Roy would simply slip straight into Captain Marvels shirt.

Sometimes you would think that Sir Alex Ferguson just got lucky. Like the legend just made it up as he went along. Bryan Robson coming to an end, Roy Keane available. Sir Alex!

Roy Keane ingratiated the United faithful early in his career by scoring the winning goal in the Manchester Derby against City, when Big Keano got on the end of a Denis Irwin cross to score the 3rd goal in a great comeback by United who were 2-0 down against their Noisy Neighbours and following Eric Cantona’s double, Keano became an instant legend with the Red Devil’s.

Roy was an enforcer in the United dressing room, famously refusing to call Paul Ince ‘the Governor’

Although a fierce figure in the United fraternity, Roy did have a soft spot for Ryan Giggs and couldn’t show any authority towards the Welshman who, if taking a rollicking from Roy, would simply smile.

Roy Keane was a fierce competitor that Sir Alex knew how to use to get the best from not only Roy but from Roy’s teammates.

With 7-Premier League titles and 4-FA Cups for Manchester United, the Irishman is up there with the most decorated player of his nation.

It is stated that Roy won the European Champions League in United’s Treble Winning Season of 1998/99 yet Keano didn’t play in the final against Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp, after receiving 2-Yellow Cards in the 2-legged Semi-Final against Juventus.

Roy received the 2nd of his 2-Yellows early on in the 2nd-leg but instead of wallowing about the fact that he would now miss the final, Roy produced one of the greatest displays of his career to drag United into that final, even scoring a great header in the tie.

The irony in missing the final is that Roy’s rival for this midfield slot in a Best Of, Paul Scholes, also missed that historic night in Barcelona for the same reason as Roy. Sir Alex, at the time, had the luxury of choosing anyone of Roy Keane, Paul Scholes or Nicky Butt.

Paul Scholes was a one-club man and won 11-Premier League titles, spanning nearly 20-years, with his 1st in 1995, to his last in 2013.

3-FA Cups, 2-League Cups and finally a well-deserved European Champions League in 2008, following the hurt of missing the 1999 final.

Paul’s career at United far outshines Roy’s and most would include Paul ahead of the Irishman but football is built on opinions and with only one shirt up for grabs, Roy just, just gets the seat in the dressing room, however, Paul is a very credible stand-in, should Roy pull an injury in the warm-up.’ ‘Top 10 Roy Keane Most Memorable Moments’ ‘3. Mick McCarthy

In life, scenarios are thrown up that no one really has control over. Roy Keane, following his brilliant playing career, was appointed manager of Sunderland in 2006, who were languishing at the bottom end of the Championship.

The Black Cats had just returned to the Championship following relegation and were under the guidance of Roy’s former international teammate Niall Quinn. Niall had decided to give management ago as well as being co-owner of Sunderland following the sacking of Mick McCarthy the previous season.

However, the new campaign in the Championship had not got off to a great start so Big Quinnie brought Roy in early doors.

Back in 2002, just short of Roy’s 30th-Birthday, the Republic of Ireland, under Mick McCarthy, reached the World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea.

Following a qualifying campaign that included games against Portugal, Holland and Cyprus, Mick’s Men surprisingly finished runners-up in the Group, eliminating the Netherlands and faced a 2-legged Play-Off against Iran to get the chance to go to Japan and South Korea.

In Tehran, The Greens suffered a 1-0 defeat but fortunately, 4-days earlier, the Republic of Ireland beat Iran by a 2-0 scoreline thus qualified for the World Cup. Significantly, Roy Keane, who was the Irish Captain, didn’t play in the game in Iran but was pivotal in the victory at Lansdowne Rd.

Roy played 10-out of the 12, qualifiers and was the joint leading scorer with 4-goals. Keano was at the peak of his career and a true World Class footballer on the scale of France’s Zinedine Zidane and Portugal’s Figo, as well as rivalling any of the players in the England, Germany, Italy or Brazil squads and literally the World Cup in Japan and South Korea should have been Roy Keane’s stage.

Mick McCarthy played international football for the Republic of Ireland and then followed the great Jack Charlton as the manager of the international team.

Although Mick played in the Green shirt, unlike Jack, who was a World Cup winner in 1966, with England.

However, similar to Jack previously, Mick wasn’t born in Ireland and was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

Whilst Jack had given Roy Keane his debut for the National team and wasn’t in any way Irish, this didn’t seem to affect Roy too much but Mick McCarthy’s non-nationalist seemed to be the catalyst to the now legendary incident in Saipan before the start of the World Cup in 2002. Without being on the inside, it’s difficult to know exactly what happened but one of the main reasons, is, Roy is a winner.

Roy believed that his Republic of Ireland team should go to Japan and South Korea with the intention of not just taking part but to win the World Cup and as of his tremendous self-belief, thought that they could.

In Roy’s opinion, he thought that the FAI, the Football Association of Ireland, were just going on a jolly-boys outing to the Land of the Rising Sun and the preparation wasn’t professional enough.

Roy Keane played at Manchester United under the greatest manager ever, to go to a World Cup is a dream for any player, however, Roy Keane is not just any player, Keano had reservations about the Irish set-up and vented his views to a newspaper before the start of the tournament.

Mick McCarthy decided to question Roy on the interview, plus querying Roy’s decision not to travel to Tehran, which resulted in a verbal attack by Keane on Macca. The words Keano used were very Anglo Saxon, which is ironic really.

Without detailing the transcript, it’s fair to say that Roy didn’t rate Mick, either as a player or manager and used a few industrial narratives in his verbal abuse against the Yorkshireman.

There weren’t any fisticuffs, just words and although Roy was a fierce competitor, if punches had been thrown, it would have been a fair fight that Eddie Hearn could have got involved in and put on Sky Box Office.

Mick is a tough old Barnsley lad who would not have backed down against the Cork boy. It was decided that in the best interest of the Irish squad and team harmony that Roy should leave the group and return to Manchester.

The following week was basically just spent watching Roy walk his beautiful dog. Well, it got him out of the house.

The Republic of Ireland, without Roy, drew 2 and won the final group game in Japan and South Korea, meaning qualifying for the Last-16.

One of the drawn games was 1-1 against Germany, who reached the final of the tournament.
In the Last-16, Mick’s Boys took on Spain and after another 1-1 draw, lost the penalty shootout resulting in the Greens returning home.

No defeats in the 4-games only the shootout loss, imagine those 4-games with a certain Roy Keane in the midfield.

Maybe Roy was right and the Republic of Ireland could have gone far in the tournament. The camp was split on the incident between Mick and Roy, with several players sticking up for Roy but more importantly several higher-profile players backing Mick.

The FAI did conduct an independent study after the team returned and several issues raised by Roy in the initial newspaper interview were backed up by the inquiry.

The real losers in the Saipan scandal were the football fans, not only the Irish but the footballing faithful that were denied a chance to see a World Class player, compete on the World Stage.

The eventual winners, Brazil, with the 4-Rs, the original Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos, defeating Germany by a 2-0 scoreline in the final.

Imagine if Roy Keane had been in the team that played Germany earlier on in the tournament, the Republic of Ireland could quite easily have beaten the Germans, progressed through to the Last-16 as Group winners and taken on Paraguay instead of Spain.

After Paraguay, Roy Keane, now up to full pace and his Ireland team, take on the USA in the Quarter-Finals, then, after easily beating the Yanks, take on South Korea in the Semi-Final of the World Cup.

The 4-Rs would still have reached the final in their side of the draw, with Ronaldinho still scoring that goal against England. David Seaman !!

Maybe Roy Keane wasn’t wrong to think big, maybe if the Irish FA had backed the team more and not thought they were Del Boy, Rodney and the rest off to Margate. Maybe if Mick and the rest had just believed in Roy more and maybe, if Roy himself, had just backed down from his verbal attack on Macca, stayed in Asia and not gone Dog walking, the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea could have had a different outcome. ‘If’ ‘buts’ and Keano!

Whilst they would never be the best of friends, Roy did praise Macca for the tremendous work Mick had done at Sunderland, before Roy taking over. Later Roy and Mick shook hands before a game between Wolves and Sunderland which probably is a mark on the professionalism of both men.’

Tottenham inflicted a humiliating defeat on Manchester United by a 6-1 scoreline when Dracula went back to his old haunt back in early October.

The strange anomaly to that disastrous result for Ole’s Trollies is Bruno Fernandes gave United the lead after 2-minutes from the penalty spot.

That just kicked Spurs into life, with Tanguy Ndombele, Son Heung-Min, Harry Kane and a 2nd from Nice-One Son, gave Tottenham a comfortable half-time lead.

United were reduced to 10-men with the sending off, of Anthony Martial midway through the 1st-half. In truth, although a man light, Spurs were already in front, when Tony headed to the showers.

Serge Aurier and Big Harry added further goals in the 2nd-half to give Jose Mourinho a victory over his Old Trafford successor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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SHEFFIELD UNITED v ARSENAL

Sunday 11th

BT Sport 19.00 in England

This is the second of the two fixtures, that sees both teams coming into the tie, off the back of a loss from their Easter Weekend games.

Sheffield United suffered yet another defeat on Saturday, this time against their Yorkshire rivals, Leeds United at Elland Rd.

After conceding 1st, Ben Osborn, equalised for the Blades on the stroke of half-time to take both teams in level. Unfortunately for the ex-Leeds United boss Paul Heckinbottom, his team conceded just after the restart that ultimately resulted in a loss by a 2-1 scoreline.

The defeat, which is Sheffield United’s 24th of the season, leaves the Blades rock bottom of the Premier League table with 14-points from the 30-fixtures completed.

The current FC Oostende manager, Alexander Blessin, who has guided his team up to 5th in the Belgium Jupiler League, is being lined up to take over from Chris Wilder before the season finishes.

Giving Alexander the chance to oversee the Blades transition from the Premier League to the Championship.

It’s then assumed that the interim gaffer, Paul Heckinbottom, will revert back to his role as Under-23 manager at Bramall Lane.

James, from Swinton, nowhere near Bramall Lane has mixed emotions. On the one hand, the little Blunt is gutted that Sheffield United will be relegated, however, on the other, the one Jim uses when he’s pretending to mend cars is over the moon that his first footballing love, Barnsley FC, are cementing their place in the Championship play-off places.

Little James lovely girlfriend has virtually finished sewing the half Sheffield United shirt, to the half Barnsley shirt, for next season’s visit to Oakwell, if the Super Reds don’t achieve promotion to the Promised Land.

The lucky lady received a Haribo Easter Egg, which was assumed that an engagement ring was inside, unfortunately, the little Blunt didn’t get a ring and the girl was left to chew on some Tangfastics.

Arsenal also suffered a defeat over the weekend, losing against Liverpool at the Emirates by a 3-0 scoreline.

Mikel’s Gunners matched Jurgen’s Reds in the 1st-half with both having a goalless half-time cup of tea. Unfortunately, Liverpool came out stronger after the break and scored 3-goals to inflict the defeat on Arsenal.

Arsenal sit 10th in the table, with the same 42-points as Leeds United but a place higher, due to a slightly superior goal difference.

Arsenal host Rangers conquerors in the Europa League Quarter-Final 1st-leg, before the journey up the M1 to Bramall Lane, with the 2nd-leg coming immediately after the trip up North.

After a goalless 1st-half, Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe scored to give Arsenal the lead at the Emirates.

David McGoldrick pulled a goal back for Sheffield United but it wasn’t enough and the Gunners held on for the victory by a 2-1 scoreline.

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WEST BROM v SOUTHAMPTON

Monday 12th

Sky Sports 18.00 in England

West Brom undoubtedly got the result of the Easter Weekend, going to Stamford Bridge, where no away team had scored, let alone achieved a victory since Thomas Tuchel took over and smashing 5-past the Chelsea ‘keeper resulting in a great victory by a 5-2 scoreline.

The Baggies fell behind to a Blues goal, after 27-minutes and it just looked like another defeat was on the cards for Big Sam. Two minutes later, the game turned on its head with West Brom being handed a lifeline following the sending off of Thiago Silva.

The extra-man took its toll on the Blues and with the 45-minutes up on the clock, Matheus Pereira, not only equalised but added a 2nd before the half-time whistle that gave West Brom the lead at the break.

Ex-Chelsea defender, Branislav Ivanovic, who has just turned 37-years old, started on the bench for the Baggies, then was brought on to face his old club, in the 24th-minute following an injury to Dara O’Shea.

After only 13-minutes on the pitch, the old-timer’s legs were gone after a lung-busting run and challenge against the much younger, Timo Werner.

Fair play to Big Branny who kept up with the 25-year old German but was gone after the challenge and was substituted himself with 8-minutes of the 1st-half to go. Time definitely catches up on everyone.

Mr Ivanovic’s replacement, Callum Robinson then added the Baggies 3rd in the 63rd-minute, with Mbaye Diagne scoring to make it 4-1.

That wasn’t the end of the goals, Chelsea pulled a goal back, however, Callum scored his 2nd and West Brom’s 5th, in added-on time to inflict the Acca destroying defeat on Thomas’s Blue Engines.

The Baggies have only scored 25-goals this term, the 4th-lowest in the division, however, 8 of those, have been against Chelsea.

West Brom are still Odds On to be relegated but the victory against Chelsea does inject some hope into all connections at The Hawthorns.

Big Sam Allardyce has never had a team relegated from the Premier League and although it looks like this being the first time, it’s still possible that West Brom can avoid the drop.

The Baggies have 21-points and sit 2nd bottom of the table, still 8-points from Newcastle in safety, both having played 30-times, with 8-remaining.

Newcastle also have a better goal difference at the moment so it basically means West Brom have to win 3 more games than Newcastle, out of the 8. Whilst not mathematically impossible, it is a big ask for Me Allardyce to prevent the unwanted stat on his CV.

The Hawthorns host Southampton today, plus Wolves, Liverpool and West Ham. The Baggies then have away trips to the King Power, Villa Park, the Emirates and a final trip up the M1 to Elland Rd.

Realistically, West Brom could quite easily beat Southampton, Wolves and Aston Villa but to get a victory against, Brendan’s Wonderful’s who are in 3rd, Liverpool, who are better away from Anfield, West Ham, who are trying to get into the Champions League places, then to beat Arsenal at the Emirates and Marcelo Bielsa’s Boys at Elland Rd, will be the toughest of tough asks.

Newcastle have to play 4 of those teams too, West Ham, Liverpool, Arsenal and Leicester but also face Burnley, Man City, Sheffield United and a final game against Fulham that probably could seal all 3-teams fate.

Southampton came from 2-goals behind early on Easter Sunday, to get a great victory against Burnley by a 3-2 scoreline.

After conceding 2-Claret goals before the half-hour mark, Stuart Armstrong and Danny Ings scored to take both teams in level at the break.

Nathan Redmond scored the winner in the 2nd-half to complete the comeback and give Saints the win. Wreck-It Ralph’s boys sit 13th in the table with 36-points, from 30-fixtures completed and whilst not mathematically safe, shouldn’t be relegated, with the added bonus of playing against Leicester in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup at Wembley after this trip to The Hawthorns.

That could work two ways, one being the players won’t want to get injured and miss the game at Wembley, or B, the players will want to put in a great performance to get the nod for the game against Leicester. Human nature may just favour the 1st option.

At St Mary’s, a goal by Moussa Djenepro in the 1st-half and a goal by Oriol Romeu in the 2nd-half gave Southampton the victory by a 2-0 scoreline.

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BRIGHTON v EVERTON

Monday 12th

Sky Sports 20.15 in England

Brighton put up a great fight, late on Easter Sunday at Old Trafford but ultimately fell short succumbing to an away-night defeat by a 2-1 scoreline.

Ex-United striker and a true Mancunian, Danny Welbeck scored to give the Seagulls a lead, early in the 1st-half. Despite the subsequent defeat, that would have pleased oh Danny Boy.

Born in Manchester and starting his career at Old Trafford, Danny Welbeck somehow just didn’t train on and like so many youngsters, the weight of a Manchester United shirt sometimes weighs too much. The same can be said about Jesse Lingard!

Danny went on to play for Arsenal and is now plying his trade on the South Coast at the Amex, for Graham Potter’s men and the Red Devil faithful wish the lad all the best for the future.

Brighton conceded 2-goals after the break to ultimately lose the game. The defeat leaves Harry’s Seagulls with 32-points, sitting 16th in the table, 6-points more than Fulham in the final relegation place.

Graham Potter does have to keep one eye on the teams below, as Brighton have some tricky fixtures in the remaining 8-games.

As well as this visit of Everton, the cardboard Seagulls will also see Leeds United, West Ham and Man City visit the Amex, along with away trips to Stamford Bridge, Bramall Lane, Molineux and a final-day visit to the Emirates. Harry will be hoping that his team are safe before the fixture against Arsenal.

Everton took the lead after the break on Bank Holiday Monday at Goodison Park against Crystal Palace.

James Rodriguez scored in the 56th-minute and it looked for all purpose that the Toffees would get the victory until the Eagles equalised in the 86th-minute to give both teams a share of the points.

Everton sit 8th in the table with 47-points, a place and 2-points adrift of the Merseyside rivals Liverpool but significantly, have played a game less than Jurgen’s Reds so will feel they can jump above. However, as mentioned a few times, it’s considered better to have the points on the board than games in hand.

There was a goal-fest at Goodison Park with the home team getting the victory by a 4-2 scoreline.

Sheffield Superstar 2, Dominic Calvert-Lewin opened the scoring, with Neal Maupay replying for the Seagulls.

Yerry Mina added a 2nd for the Toffees to give Everton the lead at half-time. James Rodriguez scored twice after the break to give the Blues a comfortable lead. Yves Bissouma scored a late consolation for the Seagulls in added-on time, to round off the 6-goal thriller.

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Ex-professional footballer known affectionately as The Beast, Jon Parkin continues to offer his input and has kindly given his predictions for Game Week-31.

Fulham 2 v Wolves 1
Man City 3 v Leeds United 0
Liverpool 2 v Aston Villa 1
Crystal Palace 0 v Chelsea 2
Burnley 1 v Newcastle 0
West Ham 2 v Leicester 2
Tottenham 2 v Manchester United 1
Sheffield United 0 v Arsenal 2
West Brom 1 v Southampton 2
Brighton 1 v Everton 2

JP had 5 correct results from the 10 fixtures last time out but significantly, Jon had 1 correct score.

John Newsome had 5 correct results from the 10 games also, with 0 correct scores.

A quick tally was added up and since Jon started giving his predictions, the Beast has 55 correct results with 13 correct scores from 114 games played.

John Newsome is slightly behind with 52 correct results and 11 correct scores from the same 114.

Cheers JP!

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