Aug 11, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ​Emirates Stadium
Attendance: 59,387
LeicesterLeicester City
Lacazette (2'), Welbeck (45'), Ramsey (83'), Giroud (85')
FT(HT: 2-2)
Okazaki (5'), Vardy (29', 56')
Morgan (94')

Live Commentary: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City - as it happened

Live Commentary: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City - as it happened
© Offside
Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Arsenal's 4-3 win over Leicester City, as the Gunners kicked off their campaign with a thrilling victory.

Arsenal recovered from a goal down in the final 10 minutes to earn a 4-3 win over Leicester City in the opening game of the 2017-18 Premier League season.

The Gunners had earlier taken the lead through debutant Alexandre Lacazette, only for Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy to cancel out that early header.

Danny Welbeck and Vardy then shared a goal apiece either side of half time, before a dramatic finale saw Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud come off the bench to win the game for the hosts.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

6.45pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium. That's right - after a three-month break the English top flight is finally back for another year of thrills and spills, beginning with this tussle between two previous winners in North London.

6.47pmUnlike 12 months ago, Leicester no longer have the tag of champions hanging over their heads following a campaign that saw them crash back down to earth with a bang last time out. A far smoother season can surely be expected at the King Power Stadium, while at the Emirates it appears that only the title will do for the Gunners' frustrated supporters, many of whom wanted boss Arsene Wenger to walk in the summer.


STARTING XI: Cech; Holding, Monreal, Kolasinac; Bellerin, Elneny, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Ozil, Welbeck; Lacazette

SUBS: Ramsey, Giroud, Ospina, Walcott, Iwobi, Mustafi, Coquelin

6.51pmWenger refused to walk away despite those loud cries in the second half of last season, putting pen to paper on a new two-year contract in May. The Frenchman knows that he must deliver over these next two seasons, with any sort of slow start likely to see the pressure mount once again. A strong end to last season gives the Gunners hope, though, and Wenger has - as expected - stuck with the 3-4-3 formation that worked so well in the closing weeks of 2016-17.

6.53pmHector Bellerin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been given the nod at wing-back, while Mohamed Elneny will sit deep alongside Granit Xhaka in the absence of injured Welshman Aaron Ramsey. Further forward there is a chance for Alexandre Lacazette to prove his worth in English football after scoring goals for fun in Ligue 1 - 91 of them across the last four seasons, in fact!

6.55pmMesut Ozil, who is now into the final 12 months of his contract, will provide attacking support alongside Danny Welbeck. It is a fluid front three combo that could cause defences some serious problems this term, much like it did across Arsenal's final 10 games of the previous campaign. The big absentee from the side is Alexis Sanchez, who is still a couple of weeks from a return to action due to an abdominal injury (and nothing to do with the speculation over his future!)

6.57pmPer Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista also miss out due to a mixture of suspensions and injuries, while Shkodran Mustafi is only fit enough for a place on the bench due to his Confederations Cup exploits. It is essentially the strongest side available to Wenger, minus the injured duo of Ramsey and Sanchez, the former of whom does at least manage to take up a spot on the bench after sitting out last week's Community Shield win over Chelsea.


STARTING XI: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs; Mahrez, James, Ndidi, Albrighton; Okazaki, Vardy

SUBS: Chilwell, Gray, Iheanacho, King, Hamer, Amartey, Slimani

7.01pmIn terms of the visitors, boss Craig Shakespeare - now a permanent fixture after being appointed on a three-year contract during the summer - has stuck to his word by naming Riyad Mahrez in his starting lineup. The Algeria international rocked the boat somewhat right at the start of the summer by announcing his desire to leave the King Power Stadium, but the numerous bids made by Roma have so far fallen short of Leicester's rumoured £50m valuation.

7.03pmShakespeare has gone with his favoured 4-4-2 formation, or a variation of it, with Jamie Vardy - on Arsenal's radar this time last year, remember - playing just ahead of Shinji Okazaki. It is a very settled XI fielded, albeit with newbie Harry Maguire slotting into the backline after his summer arrival and Matty James coming into the middle. It is a Premier League debut in Leicester colours for both of those players.

7.05pmElsewhere, it is as you were - Kasper Schmeichel protecting the goal, while Wes Morgan, Danny Simpson and Christian Fuchs join Maguire in the four-man backline. City fans may be a little disappointed not to see another of their new recruits, ex-Manchester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho, from the off, but he is among the subs and will surely play a part from the bench. Vicente Iborra is out with a groin strain and both Robert Huth and Danny Drinkwater also miss out.

7.07pmArsene Wenger hands Premier League debuts to summer signings Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac for this evening's opening fixture against Leicester City. Two changes in all from the Community Shield win over Chelsea, as Mesut Ozil join Kolasinac in coming into the fold. Leicester City will be looking to pull off an upset, with boss Craig Shakespeare handing league debuts to Matty James and Harry Maguire.

Alexandre Lacazette in Arsenal training gear in July 2017© Zak Kaczmarek / Stringer

7.09pmAnother big year ahead for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal, then, having just about salvaged their previous campaign with victory in the FA Cup final over Chelsea. Defeat in that one and the Frenchman may well have bowed out, but the Gunners ultimately ended the term on a high thanks to that triumph - one of nine in their last 10 outings. All of those victories came after tinkering with the formation, going with three - or five, depending on how you look at it - across the back.

7.11pmThe Gunners may 'only' have finished one point off Liverpool in fourth place, but that was the absolute bare minimum for Wenger. A first season without Champions League football in two decades now awaits the North London outfit, which many would argue is actually a blessing in disguise - Leicester and Chelsea have both won the title in the past two years without European football to contend with. That said, Arsenal do still have the distraction of the Europa League.

7.13pmWenger admitted earlier this week that the drawn-out saga regarding his contract situation, which lasted what felt like an eternity before an agreement was finally reached after the FA Cup final, could well have had an impact on his players. It really did look like being the end of the road for the long-serving boss after the nadir that was the 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace, though that forced the change of system and with it came a completely different set of results.

7.15pmIt is the first time Wenger has tinkered in this manner for the best part of 20 years, but there is no doubt that the system gets the best out of individuals in his side. Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Holding all looked superb at times in the closing weeks of the campaign, particularly in the FA Cup final when Arsenal dragged themselves over the line with that extra-time winner from Ramsey - a season-saving result.

7.17pmWith the addition of Lacazette up top, and the 'one goal every 80 minutes' that Wenger predicts, plus the arrival of versatile Kolasinac at wing-back, Arsenal do look suited for a title challenge. It is certainly not the first time that has been said, though, with the Gunners making a habit of fluffing their lines when it counts to produce this groundhog day scenario - out of the title race, out of Europe at the last-16 stage and relying on the FA Cup.

7.19pmThe hope is that this year will be different, though one new signing would still be welcome. Thomas Lemar looked likely to join at one point, even if AS Monaco have stood firm, but rumours have gone quiet on that front in recent weeks. The most pressing concerns of late have centered around outgoing activity, in fact, with an array of fringe players to be shipped out in the remaining weeks of the window, while Alexis Sanchez is still being tipped to leave.

7.21pmArsenal have also made a habit of starting seasons slowly, having lost to Liverpool, West Ham United and Aston Villa, while also drawing to Sunderland and Newcastle United in five of their last six opening-day fixtures; a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in 2014-15 being their only curtain-raising success in recent years. They soon recovered last term and were well in contention with a quarter of the season played, before inevitably dropping off the pace.

7.23pmThere is not Champions League playoff to worry about this season, of course, so all focus is currently on league fixtures until the Europa League and EFL Cup begins. That is a good thing with Liverpool and Chelsea away in their first five league outings, though they may well have to make do without star man Alexis Sanchez for a large chunk of those. The Chilean is officially absent with an abdominal injury, but with speculation still ongoing over his future Wenger may simply want to get him out of the spotlight.

7.25pmArsenal have made a habit of starting games slow in recent years, drawing three and losing two of their last six opening fixtures to a Premier League campaign. More of the same this evening and, as comical as it sounds, the pressure may already be on boss Arsene Wenger with fellow title hopefuls Liverpool and Chelsea away both to come in their first five games.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after the FA Cup final victory over Chelsea on May 27, 2017© SilverHub

7.27pmLeicester head into the season under far less pressure than their opponents, but they will still be hoping to improve on last term's 12th-placed finish. As it turned out, that was a pretty decent return for the fallen champions after being dragged into a real relegation battle at one point. If not for the work of Shakespeare, who controversially took over from Claudio Ranieri in February, the Foxes may well have gone down.

7.29pmShakespeare was very much the perfect man for the job, galvanising a group of players that he knew well from his time as assistant manager to both Nigel Pearson and Ranieri. It was a case of going back to the basics, using the 4-4-2 that served City so well during their title-winning season, while also reverting to a familiar XI. Of the starters in his opening match against Liverpool - a 3-1 win - 10 of the players were regulars the year prior.

7.31pmMake no mistake about it, though - City were in real trouble at one point, losing five in a row without scoring and looking in desperate need of change. Ranieri's sacking may have upset many, but it was an inspired decision and the Foxes so very nearly ended the campaign in the top half of the table. Based on results from taking over with three months of the season left, Leicester would have finished seventh under Shakespeare.

7.33pmLeicester did stutter at the tail end of the campaign, however, seeing their topsy-turvy year out with just two wins from eight after taking their foot off the gas. The job had very much been achieved by that point, as Shakespeare became the first British boss to win each of his first five Premier League games, while also helping his side recover in the Champions League to make it through to the quarter-final stage.

7.35pmDID YOU KNOW? Jamie Vardy, linked with a move to Arsenal 12 months ago, played a key part in Leicester City's revival by finding his scoring boots at just the right time. The England international finished the season with 13 goals to his name, the vast majority coming after Craig Shakespeare was appointed, and he will fancy his chances tonight after netting in his last three appearances against the Gunners.

7.37pmIt is a tough start for Leicester this time around, as they follow up this trip to the Emirates Stadium with games against Manchester United and Chelsea in their first four games - all the more pressure on their home tie against newly-promoted Brighton & Hove Albion next week, then! They have been bolstered by the arrivals of Iborra, Iheanacho and Maguire for a combined £52.5m, while Eldin Jakupovic and youngster George Thomas have also been added.

7.39pmPREVIOUS MEETINGS! These two sides have met on 22 previous occasions; Arsenal losing just one of those - a 2-1 reverse at Filbert Street in November 1994. In fact, the Gunners have lost just two of their last 33 in all competitions against tonight's opponents, including three wins in the last four encounters. A Robert Huth own goal proved the difference when they last faced off here four months ago.

7.41pmWith kickoff in North London now less than five minutes away, let us turn attention to some pre-match thoughts from both camps.

Arsene Wenger: "I had an impact on the season, because at some stage the players came to see me and said, 'What's going on boss? Where do you go?' I created, with me not deciding, a lack of clarity in the dressing room and there is nothing worse than that in the dressing room. When you are not completely in or the players feel you are not completely in, it is difficult to tell them we go [out to win]. At some stage, I had to tell them, "Look guys, I am with you, but we have to win games'."

Craig Shakespeare: "The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world and Arsenal are one of the best clubs in it, year after year they've shown their consistency. We haven't been able to beat them yet but there's always a first time and it would be nice to think it would be Friday night. The players are champing at the bit to get started. It will be difficult, with the quality of their players, their fan base and the money that they can spend, but that's the Premier League."

7.43pmBoth sets of players are now out on the field of play, as we welcome in another Premier League campaign. Plenty of new faces on show, headlined by Arsenal's club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette, but will he have the last word on his first taste of the Premier League? Two changes made by the Gunners this evening, bringing in Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac, while the visitors hand Prem debuts to Matty James and Harry Maguire.

A general view during the UEFA Champions League last 16 round match between Arsenal and PSV Eindhoven at The Emirates Stadium on March 7, 2007© Getty Images

1 minKICKOFF! Arsenal, in their traditional red and white home strip, get the new Premier League season up and running. The Gunners are favourites to get the job done tonight, but Leicester City have the more recent title-winning experience.


3 minThe perfect way for record signing Alexandre Lacazette to introduce himself to his new supporters - a goal inside the opening two minutes of his Premier League debut! It was an impressive one, too, heading home Elneny's cross from 12 yards out to make it one in one.


6 minBrilliant response from Leicester City! Mahrez blasted wide from a controlled volley and, from pretty much the next attacking move, a corner was won. It went short and was finally worked to the back post by Albrighton, where Maguire was waiting to glance back into the middle. Okazaki was there to head past Cech from close range.

8 minThe two sides of Arsenal on show with just a handful of minutes of the season played. Impressive in attack but shaky in attack, setting up what should be a real thriller here. Oxlade-Chamberlain bursts forward but sends his shot high and wide.

10 minTen minutes played in North London and the game has still yet to settle into any sort of rhythm. Credit to Leicester for bouncing back immediately, having fallen behind to Lacazette's early debut goal in front of his new supporters.

12 minThe match has now finally settled down a little following that frenetic start. Not a bad way to start the new Premier League season - a couple of goals inside the opening five minutes! Arsenal still looking nervous at the back.

14 minSome slick interplay on the edge of the Leicester box breaks down. Arsenal have had just the one attempt, which Oxlade-Chamberlain blazed over, since being pegged back by their opponents in this entertaining opener.

16 minSHOT! Ozil lays the ball off for Oxlade-Chamberlain on the edge of the box, but this time the effort is weak and it looked to be heading wide before Schmeichel pounced on it. From the next move, Ozil drifted offside.

18 minCouple of stats for you during a quiet spell in the match: Alexandre Lacazette is now the seventh Arsenal player to score on his Premier League debut; just 160 seconds separated his goal and the leveller from Shinji Okazaki.

20 minThe Gunners' best moments coming down the flanks through Bellerin and Oxlade-Chamberlain so far, with the latter crossing into the box but failing to pick out a teammate on this occasion. Arsenal the side on top at the moment.

22 minArsenal beginning to build some pressure now, pegging their opponents back a little without asking too many serious questions of the visitors' backline. Again, the wing-backs proving to be the most dangerous options.

24 minBLOCK! Leicester appear to be happy to sit back, knowing that they can hit their opponents on the counter It almost backfired, though, as Maguire was needed to produce a big block in front of goal to keep out Welbeck's sweeping effort.

26 minCHANCE! Big chance for Welbeck to get off the mark for the season. The Englishman saw his initial shot brilliantly blocked in front of goal by a Leicester defender and then, after delaying a second bite of the cherry, saw his cross cleared away.

28 minSAVE! Arsenal have really stepped things up over the last five or 10 minutes. Flying wing-back Kolasinac was picked out inside the box and put his foot through the ball, forcing Schmeichel into a good stop down low.


31 minLeicester, against the run of play, bag themselves a second goal of the evening. It came following a mistake at the back, which Albrighton made the most of by sending in a superb cross for Vardy to tap home from close range. Arsenal's back three look very disjointed.

33 minLeicester so nearly in again, but Mahrez's cross from the left towards Vardy was overhit. Wenger may want to change his system at the interval because, while it had much success last term, it is not working against this speedy City attack.

35 minCLOSE! Groans around the Emirates Stadium - the Premier League is officially back! A good cross from the left is met by the head of Okazaki, who directs the ball narrowly wide of Cech's post. City closing in on a third goal.

37 minMaguire holds the line well to catch Welbeck offside. After dominating for large parts of the game, the Gunners are now having to focus on defending a little more because Leicester have finally found their attacking groove.

39 minMaguire has done well at the back in this first half and Vardy has also been very good up the other end of the field. Shakespeare will be delighted to have seen his gameplan come off thus far, albeit after going an early goal down.

41 minHolding required to sweep up at the back, with Okazaki breathing down the back of his neck. Bellerin has absolute acres of space to run into when Arsenal turn possession over, but after a succession of passes there is no way through.

43 minMaguire is required to nod the ball behind for a corner following an awkward, deflected Oxlade-Chamberlain cross towards the back post. The corner is eventually worked to Elneny, whose back-post cross is well dealt with by Morgan.

45 minHandball appeals against Ndidi are waved away, perhaps correctly judging by the replays. Up the other end, Albrighton's cross towards Bellerin is glanced behind by Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the corner coming to little.

45+2 minFuchs's long throw caused some real panic at the back, but in the end the free kick was awarded due to the illegal pressure Cech was put under. Just seconds of this entertaining first half left to play at the Emirates Stadium.


45+4 minA huge goal for Arsenal, so early into the new season. With seconds of the first half left to play, Lacazette rolled the ball through for Kolasinac - possibly offside - who in turn squared for Welbeck to roll home. The Gunners back on level terms here.


8.35pmA cruel end to the first half for Leicester City, but a quite superb opening 45 minutes to begin the season for the neutral! Four goals and plenty of talking points, with Arsenal doing enough to level things up right at the very death.

8.38pmLacazette was off the mark in Arsenal colours with just his second touch of the ball - the first being from the kickoff - as he nodded home from a first-time Mohamed Elneny cross from 10 yards out. It took all of 160 seconds for Leicester to get themselves back on level terms, with debutant Harry Maguire heading a deep Marc Albrighton cross back into the path of Shinji Okazaki, who was in the right place to turn the ball past Petr Cech.

8.41pmArsenal started to take more control of the game as the half wore on, coming close through an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain drive and a blocked Danny Welbeck shot from inside the box. Flying wing-back Sead Kolasinac and Welbeck saw another couple of chances come and go as the Gunners pressed for a second, but it was Leicester who found the game's next goal against the run of play 29 minutes in.

8.44pmArsenal never truly looked settled at the back with their now familiar three-man backline and, after a mistake passing it out from the back, Albrighton pounced by sending in an inch-perfect cross for Jamie Vardy to convert in front of goal. Groans could be heard around the Emirates soon after when Okazaki glanced a header wide, but those groans turned into cheers on the brink of half time when Danny Welbeck rolled home after being picked out by Kolasinac alongside him.

8.47pmA thrilling first half at the Emirates Stadium, then, and another 45 minutes still left to come. Will either manager be tempted to make a change at the break?

ARSENAL SUBS: Ramsey, Giroud, Ospina, Walcott, Iwobi, Mustafi, Coquelin

LEICESTER CITY SUBS: Chilwell, Gray, Iheanacho, King, Hamer, Amartey, Slimani

Alexandre Lacazette celebrates scoring the opener during the Premier League game between Arsenal and Leicester City on August 11, 2017© Offside

46 minRESTART! Leicester gets the action back under way at the Emirates Stadium. No changes made by either manager at the break, as the reemerging Leicester players have a word or two in Mike Dean's ear, presumably over the amount of time added on.

48 minArsenal seeing more of the ball in the early stages of the second period, looking to build on that goal scored late in the opening 45 minutes. Ozil is given a chance to shoot but drags his attempt a yard or so wide of the target.

50 minFuchs picks out Mahrez out side, but the Algeria international completely wastes his chance by sending the shot/cross high over the bar. Mahrez has looked half-decent tonight, incidentally, showing no signs of discontent at being made to stay.

52 minPetr Cech takes the risk of his life by charging out, which caught Vardy by surprise. Mahrez superbly sent his teammate free but Cech was there, all of 40 yards from his line, to tackle the striker before he could compose himself.

54 minSAVE! First game of the season but you will not see many as gripping as this. Mistakes galore at the moment, allowing Leicester to turn over possession; Mahrez the man to capitalise as his shot is tipped over by Cech.


57 minWhat a game! This has been the Jamie Vardy of 2015-16 - a real nuisance to the opposition defence. Leicester win themselves a corner and that man is there to glance home at the front post, climbing highest and picking out the far corner.

59 minSAVE! Just short of an hour played and Wenger will now be looking to his bench. Oxlade-Chamberlain's shot was well saved by Schmeichel - although he may not have known too much about it - before Lacazette was flagged offside from the rebound.

61 minVardy so very nearly through for a hat-trick but Monreal stuck out a leg to deny him. This has been a game that you simply cannot takes your eyes off, with Arsenal now the side largely in the ascendancy in search of a third goal.

63 minSAVE! Schmeichel has kept his side in front with another trademark stop, quickly reacting to save Bellerin's shot down low when he was slipped through. Leicester holding on at the moment; Arsenal looking good value for a third.

65 minSixty-five minutes on the clock and still yet to see a change. Wenger does appear to be readying a couple of players to come on, though, as a breakdown in communication ends with the Gunners' latest attacking move come to a disappointing end.

67 minARSENAL SUBS! Mohamed Elneny and Olivier Giroud are on for Mohamed Elneny and Rob Holding, meaning that Wenger has presumably altered his system slightly. Still plenty of time for the Gunners to bag themselves a couple more goals.

69 minCLOSE! Almost an instant impact from Ramsey, as he charges up the field to get on the end of a cross into the box. Fuchs done enough to put him off, and the Welshman appears to have picked up an injury in the collision.

71 minXhaka with the shot from range, which Schmeichel is easily able to deal with. Ramsey has managed to shake off the injury, so no need for Wenger to make his third and final change just yet. We are now into the final 19 minutes in North London!

73 minLEICESTER CITY SUB! Arsenal completely dominating this match now, with Ozil picked out inside the box but failing to make the desired contact with the ball. Shakespeare has made his first change, bringing on Amartey for Okazaki.

75 minIt has now been 20 minutes since Leicester took the lead and, while Arsenal have been well on top since then, they have been unable to find a way through. Shakespeare is ready to shut up shop with the introduction of an additional midfielder.

77 minCLOSE! Oxlade-Chamberlain's shot takes a slight touch on its way through, ending just inches wide of the far post. Ozil was then spotted at the back post but blasted into the side-netting. Walcott is on for Welbeck - Arsenal's final change.

79 minArsenal with some nice passing between the lines, but after the ball was worked to Oxlade-Chamberlain the Englishman horribly blasted wide. Another couple of minutes eaten up as far as the visitors are concerned, as they seek a rare win in this fixture.

81 minXhaka with another long-range drive, which takes a big deflection on its way through. Schmeichel was panicking for a minute but it ended wide of the target for a corner, which Ramsey was unable to turn goalwards. Time fast ticking down.

82 minLEICESTER CITY SUB! Kelechi Iheanacho is brought on for his Leicester City debut, taking over from Matty James - a brave change. Shakespeare clearly not happy to see his side so deep, so that sub makes sense.


84 minThe substitute makes the telling difference, as Aaron Ramsey controls Granit Xhaka's pass and smartly tucks past Kasper Schmeichel to level things up once again. Great finish from a player who has thrived in Arsenal's new formation.


87 minUNBELIEVABLE! Schmeichel produces a stunning stop to turn Lacazette's shot over the bar. From the corner, super sub Giroud somehow stretched his neck to guide his header off the crossbar and over the line. Time for another twist?!

89 minLEICESTER CITY SUB! We are into the final minute of normal time at the Emirates Stadium and, rather incredibly, Arsenal lead 4-3. On comes Demarai Gray for Albrighton, with Leicester desperately trying to wrestle back control of the ball.

90+1 minSchmeichel races half the length of the pitch and is unable to win the ball. There is an open goal to aim for but Arsenal fail to make the most of the chance. We are now into the first of five added minutes, as Cech collects a cross into the box.

90+3 minThree of the five added minutes now played and it is Arsenal who have looked the more likely to score. On the basis of what we have seen so far, you would not put it against the Foxes to pick something out of the bag in these remaining seconds.


9.43pmWhat a way to kick off the new Premier League campaign - one of the game's of the season, without question! Arsenal trailed heading into the final 10 minutes, having earlier taken the lead two minutes in through debutant Alexandre Lacazette, but Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey proved the difference from the bench to earn a thrilling 4-3 home win.

9.45pmThat concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events at the Emirates Stadium. We will be back tomorrow with another batch of top-flight matches, including Premier League debutants Brighton & Hove Albion's home clash with Manchester City. See you then!

Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez in action during his side's Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at the King Power Stadium on October 22, 2016
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