Posts Tagged ‘ EPL ’

Manchester is Blue… For Now

-by M

it has taken an utter humiliation to Manchester United to revive this dying site. As United fans wake up today hoping it was all just a very bad dream, it is still early days yet for the title to be decided. City have an outstanding goal difference and are now 5 points clear at the top but have yet to play the teams around them apart from United. A clearer picture will emerge after the busy weeks of Christmas and New Year, but yesterday belonged to the blue side of Manchester.

There is no doubt that the better team won on the day. City went to Old Trafford with a game plan and executed it to perfection in the first half. United had the bulk of possession but did nothing productive with it. Nani and Young were toothless on the wings and the workhorse midfield of Anderson and Fletcher were unable to break down a resolute defensive wall of Toure, Barry, Lescott and Kompany.

After Evans was sent off, the result did not look in doubt but for a brief period of five minutes after Fletcher miraculously emerged from the shadows of the game to plant the ball in the back of the net to make it 3-1. After that, it was just a horror movie for United fans directed and starred by David Silva.

United fans may find the scoreline harsh but in reality, 6-1 was probably reflective of the gulf in class and ability on the day. While United have classy wingers in the form of Young and Nani, a midfield of Anderson and Fletcher will never match up to City’s midfield which is run by the little Spaniard, Silva. Unless Tom Cleverley is the Chosen One, United will do well to add one or two central midfielders into their team come January.

Defensively, Ferguson will have to take a good hard look at his long-serving players. But for a moment of idiocy, Evans was the better defender in the first half with Ferdinand looking decidedly nervous with Aguero keeping him occupied. Stand-in captain, Patrice Evra, had an absolute shocker and as most United fans will tell you, he has been abysmal for a while already. 4 out of 6 of City’s goals came down the left flank of United. For Silva’s goal, Welbeck ended up being where Evra should have been.

Yesterday was in all probability a freak result. However, it is a strong statement of intent by Manchester City that should be heeded by all in the footballing community. Contrary to popular belief, it is looking increasingly likely that money can indeed buy success. Manchester will be painted blue for now. But count on the Red Devils to reclaim the bragging rights at the City of Manchester.



Manchester United Tear Arsenal A New One

-by M with help from D

As Howard Webb blew his whistle to signal the end of the game,  there were no wild scenes of celebration by Manchester United players. Despite beating arch-rivals Arsenal by a record scoreline of 8-2.

It was almost as if the dire situation Arsenal F.C are currently in dampened the celebratory mood amongst the players. Somber handshakes were interchanged and consolatory pats on the back of Arsenal players were dished out by the United players. One wonders what kind words Wayne Rooney offered to Wojciech Szczensy then.

The bigger question however, still persists- how does Arsene Wenger lift his team up from such a terrible, morale-sucking defeat? It was not as if Arsenal were expected to come away with a result against a United side who were so rampant against Tottenham last weekend.

Devastated by injuries and suspensions to key players, coming away from Old Trafford with a point would still have been realistic after a confidence-boosting mid-week win over Udinese that secured the North London’s side entry to the Champions League group stages.

However, even the most pessimistic Arsenal fans would not have been able to imagine the kind of punishment United were about to dish out on their side. Rihanna’s “S&M” comes to mind for Arsenal fans looking for a song to accompany the repeat telecast.

The gulf in class was encapsulated by the polarizing benches both teams set out. United’s bench oozed of quality and experience. Being able to call upon a substitutes such as Dimitar Berbatov, Rio Ferdinand, Park Ji Sung, Fabio, Javier Hernandez and Anders Lindegaard was simply frightening.

On the opposite end, Arsenal’s bench of Lukasz Fabianski, Marouane Chamakh, Henri Lansbry, Gilles Sunu, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ignasi Miquel and Oguzhan Ozyajup was frightening as well; for the Arsenal fan that is.

And as the match began, the gulf in class became a chasm.

The tone of the match was set in the first 10-15 minutes as United were clearly the dominant force in the game. Despite being outnumbered in the engine room, the energetic duo of Cleverley and Anderson completely outran the patched-up midfield trio of Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky and Francis Coquelin.

After Welbeck nodded in the opening goal after Arsenal’s backline failed to clear their lines quick enough, Arsenal fans knew that they were in for a long night.

Having said that, Arsenal had their chances. After Walcott was felled in the box by Jonny Evans, Van Persie had the chance to level the scoreline only for his dreadful penalty to be saved by David De Gea. Had the Dutchman levelled the proceedings then, the game may not have slipped away as drastically as it did.

And if you don’t take your chances at Old Trafford, the Red Devils will punish you. The irrepressible Ashley Young trotted up the pitch soon after and unleashed a screamer from 20 yards out that bent past Szczesny and into the top left hand corner.

From then on, the flood gates were well and truly opened. Rooney made it 3-0 with a delightful freekick in to the top corner before Walcott somehow managed to squeeze a shot through De Gea’s legs to make it 3-1 before the break.

The Spanish goalkeeper had a decent game in goal but was once again culpable for conceding Arsenal’s first goal. If there was a chink in United’s armour, De Gea has to be it.

Arsenal threatened United in the first few minutes of the second half, prompting optimistic Arsenal fans to hope for what would have been an amazing comeback. However, Rooney dashed the Gunners’ hopes with another brilliantly executed free kick. Whatever Wenger said in the dressing room at half-time became irrelevant.

In a 6 minute blitz thereafter, Nani produced a cheeky dink over Szczesny to make it 5-1 before Park, who was barely on the pitch for 5 minutes, tucked the ball into the bottom of the net with a left foot finish.

Van Persie’s goal was scant consolation for the Gunners as Carl Jenkinson, who is clearly not ready to play week in week out for Arsenal yet, was sent off for hauling down Hernandez. Rooney sealed his hat-trick from the penalty spot before Young, who must surely be United’s man of the match despite Rooney’s hat-trick, finished the scoring with another sublime curler from the edge of the box.

So where do both teams go from here now?

For Manchester United, the skies, or Barcelona, seem to be the limit. Ruthless, free-flowing and intricate passing football played at a breakneck pace characterizes United’s play while promising youngsters in Welbeck, Cleverly, Jones and Smalling continue to shine.

For Arsenal, the pressure just keeps mounting. Lying 17th in the table with eight senior players out due to injuries and suspensions, a beckoning international week is not what they need as there is as good as a chance as any that key players such as Robin van Persie will return injured.

Furthermore, two wins from the last 14 matches since their Carling Cup meltdown suggest that their slump started way before the season begun.

Having said that, it is still early days and the footballing fratenity’s propensity to celebrate and panic is irrationally high. Time will tell if United’s class of 2011 is the greatest of them all but Wenger may not be able to stay that long to see that.

After the Spaniard, It Could Be the Croat…

-by M

“You either sell him, go out and bring three or four players in and have a better team, probably, in all honesty, or you keep him,” was Redknapp’s frank reply when quizzed about the future of his classy playmaker Luka Modric, who has been pursued by Chelsea this whole summer..

Modric himself has already clarified that he wants the move to Stamford Bridge.

“I would like to go to Chelsea. A lot of players would like to go there and play for Chelsea because it is one of the best clubs in the world, and so do I. I would like to play there.” 

He has made it quite clear hasn’t he?

Citing the allure of the Champions League and a desire to win trophies, his preference of Chelsea may not go down well with Spurs fans who are fierce London rivals with Andre Villas-Boas’ side.

Redknapp himself has been adamant that Modric was going “nowhere” during pre-season but his recent statement suggests a weakening of the club’s stance.

It is no wonder that Redknapp does not want to lose Modric, who has to be the strongest skinny fella in the Premier League (much like Messi in La Liga). He has an exceptional first-touch, keen spatial awareness, deft dribbling abilities and remarkable strength on and off the ball. Quite a spectacular player really( D’s personal favourite).

While Tottenham fans would undoubtedly be upset with losing a fan favourite and one of the classiest playmakers the club and Premier League have seen in recent times, it will not be all doom and gloom at White Hart Lane.

Unlike their London rivals Arsenal, Redknapp has shown that he is not shy to splash the cash on players if the need or opportunity arises.

Modric will certainly fetch a fee in the region of 30m and upwards given his reputation in the Premier League and also including the fact that they are selling to one of their rivals. This money should and will be reinvested in players that could see Tottenham challenge for a top 4 spot again.

Assou-Ekotto may have impressed last season but his defending has always been suspect. A quality left-back such as Leighton Baines may be exactly what Spurs need to reinforce their backline. Given Everton’s inability to generate funds, a generous offer may tempt Everton to offload their player of the year and arguably England’s best left-back to Spurs.

Redknapp has also revealed that the team is in the process of bringing in Emmanuel Adebayor and Lassana Diarra. As unlikeable as both characters are given their affiliations to Spurs’ London rivals Arsenal, the duo boast quality and experience at the top level.

Spurs desperately need some steel in their midfield and a reliable 15-20 goals a season target man who is able to lead the line. Diarra and Adebayor fit the bill.

Also, Redknapp has hardly tapped into the transfer market this off-season, he could very well bring in a couple of new faces to add depth to his squad, especially since some of his players are frequent visitors to the treatment table (see Ledley King, Tom Huddlestone and last season, Van der Vaart).

More importantly, you know your squad needs a revamp when Jermaine Jenas is near the first-team.

Another key consideration for Spurs would be to ensure that if any deal is to be done, it should be done with enough time for Redknapp to reinforce his team. A repeat of the Berbatov saga should not occur, no matter how much the price may inflate. Redknapp himself has insisted that chairman Daniel Levy would not let that happen. “He won’t do that, no chance,” the Spurs manager stated.

With all that said and done, it still seems more likely that Modric would be at White Hart Lane at least till the January transfer window. As the transfer deadline approaches, it will be make or break time for Chelsea within the next few days if they are to snap up the highly rated Croat.

Either way, Spurs fans should still have reason for optimism for the upcoming season. If Bale is able to replicate his early season form of 2010/11 and Van der Vaart maintains his fitness, Tottenham will be right up there with the big boys come May 2012.

The Silver Lining of Football

-by D

Football is a major part of most of our lives. After all, if you are reading this article, you are probably a football fan.

And like a good number of football fans, the Barclays Premier League is likely to be the league that one follows.

While top European leagues such as the Bundesliga and La Liga may arguably be superior to the Barclays Premier League in terms of competitiveness and technical ability respectively, England’s top-flight football still commands the greatest worldwide following.

Therefore, a palpable sense of disappointment could be felt after the release of the following statement from the Premier League and Football League with regards to the horrendous riots in London and several parts of England.

“We are in ongoing discussions with our London-based clubs, the Metropolitan Police and statutory authorities in regard to the staging of the coming weekend’s fixtures in the capital.

“The Metropolitan Police has conveyed to us the dynamic nature of the current situation and with that in mind all parties will review the situation on Thursday and make a further public statement at that time.

And following the postponement of the Everton-Tottenham game, where does that leave us poor souls? How will our fantasy teams survive? Will we face yet another weekend of replaying YouTube videos of last season’s best goals?

It has been 76 days since that cracking Champions League final in Wembley and whilst international-football tournaments, pre-season games and transfer gossip have occupied us since, nothing is quite the same as the Barclays Premier League is it?

Owner of QPR, Bernie Ecclestone, is equally disappointed as most fans.

“It [the postponement] sends a terrible message to the rest of the world,” Ecclestone told the BBC.

“Would we want to take a risk? It’s a difficult decision to make.”

Ecclestone’s worries are understandable; partially given that his London based club would be raring to kick-off their first top flight appearance in 15 years. It is exciting as much as it is lucrative for the club.

While more disappointment may ensue for club owners and fans alike, there is a slight measure of comfort that one can feel from the disruption- a display of societal awareness and maturity by a few footballing figures.

The England defender is an active participant on Twitter

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand deserves praise for measured remarks made on Twitter following the cancellation of a scheduled international friendly.

“England vs Holland game is off, good call. Who wants to see a game of football when our country is in turmoil,” the former England captain tweeted.

“I can’t tell the youths exactly what to do but stealing tv’s + trainers+burning innocent peoples houses+shops aint solving nothing at all.”

In juxtaposition, footballers have used Twitter in petulant and irresponsible manners before -Ryan Babel’s photo of Howard Webb in a Manchester United Jersey and Joey Barton’s public lashing of the Newcastle management come to mind.

Of course, the ridiculous amounts of money they earn perpetuate the general impression of Barclays Premier League footballers as, well, twits.

Which is why “rioferdy5’s” comments are refreshing because they give some hope that they are levelheaded individuals around in top-flight football.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, whose comments about referees and injuries are sometimes construed as whining, portrayed a similar level of class.

“I hope it won’t affect this first fixture, but we’ll be governed by the authorities,” Bruce told Sky Sports News.

“It’s a problem which society has got and I’ll echo what everybody else thinks who’s seen this outrage.”

“It’s sad and disappointing to see people on the rampage like that. I hope the Premier League can start and bring a bit of peace and normality to it, because you don’t want to see these scenes we’ve witnessed.

There is a sense of respect and understanding that the tumult in England is way bigger than football. Regardless of how massive English football is, this shared acceptance of what takes precedence in such trying times is pretty commendable.

Cynics may dismiss the reactions as PR-friendly statements or simply remarks that any civic-minded citizen would echo. In fact, they very well might be.

Rather, such sensibility stands in stark contrast with summer incidents such as Mario Balotelli’s puerile bottle-throwing following his substitution that was induced by an audacious but failed back-flick, the ridiculous post-match brawl following the Venezuela-Peru Copa America semi-final, the FIFA bribery allegations and of course, overly self-indulgent transfer sagas.

Eventually, Barclays Premier League games will go on and the childishness will return. Yet, it is warming to know that there are plenty of mature heads and humility in football still.

For many of the innocent individuals whose lives have been tarnished by acts of sheer irresponsibility and mindlessness, football will not fill the voids in their lives.

However, for English football fans and more importantly, for those affected, football will soon return and provide a welcome distraction.

And that is a silver lining we can all look towards to.

United Show Champion’s Mettle to Shush the Noisy Neighbours

Nani nets a last-gasp winner as he capitalizes on Kompany's mistake

Not many were fooled by Sir Alex Ferguson’s pre-match comments. “It’s very easy to get emotional about this type of game but I don’t think we’ll be changing our policy,” Ferguson said. Yet, the joy and relief on the Scotsman’s face was all too apparent after Nani scored the winner in dramatic fashion in the dying minutes of the game.

In what was a thrilling encounter, United came back from 2-0 down at half time to win 3-2 with a goal by Smalling and a brace by Nani, with the equalizer a particularly tasty goal, cancelling out first half strikes by Lescott and Dzeko.

It seemed as if it was not going to be United’s day. Having dominated most of the first half, they found themselves 2-0 down at the break thanks to goals from Lescott and Dzeko. Yet, in true United fashion, they launched a comeback worthy of winning any game (bar the CL final considering how awesome Barcelona were that day). Ferguson replaced experienced trio Ferdinand, Vidic and Carrick with the youthful Jones, Evans and Cleverley at half time. Whether it was a masterstroke or merely Ferguson trying to downplay the importance most fans have placed on the game, only the man will know but the introduction of the trio sparked United back to life.

United’s comeback was initiated after Smalling tapped home Young’s pinpoint delivery from a freekick, with Young proving why United were willing to spend big money on him. Cleverley was imperious in midfield, combining vision and energy as he kept United ticking, winning the United faithful over with each pass and tackle. United’s equalizer came after a passage of play that even Xavi and Iniesta et al would have been proud of. A series of intricate one-touch passing and flicks between Rooney, Nani and the brilliant Cleverley released the Portugese in the box and he had no qualms, finishing into the top corner with a cheeky chip over Joe Hart.

The comeback was complete when a speculative clearance by Rooney gave Nani the chance to bear down on Kompany who made a rare mistake and gifted the ball to the Portugese International who duly rounded Hart and slotted the ball home into an empty net.

United fans would have been delighted with their team’s showing, particularly in the second half. The introduction of youngsters Jones, Evans and Cleverley brought hunger and drive into the team which culminated in United’s second half comeback. Cleverley was particularly impressive. His vision and drive achieved what Carrick could not as he kept United’s engine running. Spreading the play and winning the ball back, Cleverley made United fans forget for 45 minutes that they did not have a Ginger Ninja pulling the strings in midfield anymore. Smalling was equally impressive at right back. Normally a centre-back, he performed his defensive duties well and linked up well with Nani as United bombed forward in the second half.

On the back of this performance, there will be much to look forward to this season for the United faithful. The fact that they came back from 2-0 down against what was a strong City side (who, admittedly, did not play the best football) without the likes of Vidic, Berbatov and Carrick must have pleased both Ferguson and the supporters.

City may have the money to spend and they might ultimately prove to be United’s strongest challengers this season. But for now, there is still only one club in Manchester and it is the red of United.

Ashley Young on Left Makes Perfect Sense

Young has been tipped to start on the left by manager, Ferguson

-by M, with sincere apologies for the delay in publishing. With the season about to begin, be rest assured that articles will come thick and fast. 

Recent comments by Ferguson that Ashley Young will start his United career as a left-sided midfielder has raised alarm bells amongst certain paranoid United fans, with some claiming that it has cast doubts on the future of Nani, Manchester United’s stand out performer last season. However, it is an astute piece of judgement by the manager more than anything else. Playing Ashley Young on the left makes more sense than paying £40 million for a permanently crocked Cesc Fabregas and definitely much more than releasing your best player on a free transfer (See Barton, Joey).

The first reason why deploying Ashley Young makes perfect sense is because Young has largely played on the left for most of his career. At Aston Villa, he made the left winger spot his personal office, chalking up approximately 80 assists in his 5 season there, propelling him to 7th on the all-time Premier League assists chart. Only Ryan Giggs and Cesc Fabregas have a higher assist rate than Young in the Premier League today. To deploy Young anywhere else where he has to adapt may reduce his effectiveness.

Also, some of Nani’s best performances for Manchester United last season have been when he has started on the right, rather than the left. His quick feet and oscar winning play acting abilities left many a left back dazzled last season and when Antonio Valencia came back into the team and he was shunted to the left, it seemed as if he became less effective. Its probably not due to the fact that he does not have a left foot considering he scored more goals with his left rather than his right foot. It is not to say that Nani is not up to the task when placed on the left. The Portugese international is more than capable of beating his man and putting in a tantalizing cross or having a strike at goal. However, it is clear that the Portugese is more effective on the right. During the period when Valencia was injured, Nani managed 9  goals and 10 assists in 26 games and upon Valencia’s return when Nani was subsequently played predominantly on the left, he only managed a measly total of 1 assist and no goals.

With Young on the left, there is now greater competition for the right winger spot which can only be good for the team. Out of the 4 established wingers in the squad, only Valencia seems to be the least comfortable on the left, with Young, Park and Nani all more than adequate in that position. Add to that the emergence of Danny Welbeck after his successful loan spell at Sunderland last campaign and Manchester United have some serious serious quality and depth in their advance wide positions.

All in all, starting Ashley Young on the left seems like a fairly straightforward, if not astute decision. Playing him anywhere else might reduce the player’s effectiveness and since Nani seems more comfortable on the right rather than on the left, there is no need for United fans to hyperventilate and pass out at the thought of Nani leaving the club. If anything, this has served to strengthen the club and if all else fails, Ferguson can simply choose Nani over Young can’t he?


How will Liverpool Shape Up in 2011/12?

The Messiah's Return Rejuvenated the Kop Last Season

-by D, we apologize for the long delay between articles

These are exciting times for Liverpool fans.

Stewart Downing’s arrival has taken Merseyside club’s 2011 transfer spending past the £100million mark.

Principal owner John W Henry promised that investments would be made and he has certainly kept his word, supporting Kenny Dalglish’s Anfield revolution in the most practical fashion.

The rosy situation is a far cry from a year ago, when the future of the club was up in the air with the club almost dragged into bankruptcy under the ownership of George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

And Liverpool paid £4.5 million for Lord Voldermort’s half-brother, Paul Konchesky.

Those were dark, dark days.

Fast forward to July 2011. Change has gotten rid of the horcrux who is the unfortunate Konchesky ( I honestly don’t blame him for moving to Liverpool. Who would reject a move to Liverpool except Manchester United and Everton fans) and the feel-good atmosphere that have been lost since the 2008-2009 Barclays Premier League campaign.

It almost seemed like yesterday when Liverpool finished second in the league and recorded memorable trouncings of Real Madrid and Manchester United. Oh how I have missed the Champions League “We are the Champions music”. I played the track on repeat while Liverpool lost 3-1 to West Ham and it just didn’t have the same effect.

In eager anticipation of the 2011-2012 Barclays Premier League season, what should fans expect?

Firstly, a different formation. Having initially toyed with the 5-3-2 and eventually settling for the 4-4-2 towards the end of the 2010-2011 season, the summer purchases hint at a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 for the 2011-2012 campaign.

The back four of Martin Kelly, Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger and Glen Johnson will be shielding Pepe Reina’s goal if Liverpool do not purchase a left-back. One suspects that a fit Fabio Aurelio and the remarkable maturity of academy products John Flanagan and Jack Robinson may tempt Dalglish not to invest in a seasoned left-back. Emiliano Insua has been outstanding this pre-season and Dalglish may be convinced to give him another chance to revive his Anfield career.

If needed, Agger and Danny Wilson are able to fill in on the left side of defence as well. Nevertheless, an experienced and solid left-back in the shape of Everton’s Leighton Baines and Newcastle’s Jose Enrique would certainly improve the side.

Moving on, Lucas Leiva should expect to retain his place in the side, sitting in front of the defence and breaking down attacks, a role in which the Liverpool player of the year performed with ruthless efficiency last season- he was the Barclays Premier League’s top tackler last season, completing an impressive 111 challenges.

Adam joins Henderson and Downing as the new boys of Liverpool

Playing slightly in front of the Brazilian international would be the new number 26 at Anfield. Adam will be stepping into the massive shoes of Xabi Alonso, whose departure to Real Madrid in 2009 has left a yawning void in midfield that has not been replaced.

Having said that, Adam is not quite the same player as Alonso.

The 6’2 midfielder has a higher propensity move into advanced positions as compared to the Spain international, who prefers to sit deep and dictate play rather than drive the team forward. Given that Steven Gerrard is on the wrong side of 30, the added drive that Adam will provide is definitely welcome.

Last season, his 79 attempted shots ranked him 9th in the Barclays Premier League for the total number of shots taken, ahead of the likes of Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Bent. Furthermore, 12 league goals and eight assists from midfield imply an inherent attacking impetus.

While the 25-year-old is not quite playing at the same level as Alonso yet, he certainly has the potential to raise his game to the Kop hero’s level. Adam possesses a fantastic passing range, great technical ability and a tremendous work ethic that will serve him well as the responsibility of launching attacks from deep and acting as an outlet for the team lies on his broad shoulders.

More importantly, Adam’s arrival releases the shackles off Steven Gerrard, who will play at the tip of the midfield triangle, just off the centre-forward. The Liverpool captain enjoyed his best season when he played as a support striker off Fernando Torres (sigh). Liverpool scored 107 goals during the 2008/09 campaign and Gerrard either scored or directly created 41 of them.

That’s more than M and I will ever create or score in the next 10 years. With a jellyfish keeping goal.

Moving on, Stewart Downing and Luis Suarez should play on either side of Gerrard.

Possibly the cleanest-cut looking footballer in the Premier League, Downing was the Premier League second top crosser in the 2010-2011 season, with 243 balls delivered into the box over 38 games.The England international, whose left foot is almost as imperious as M’s (you’re welcome mate), the £20million man will give Liverpool the width and pace that they have been missing since Steven McManaman and to a lesser extent, Albert Riera.

And on the right is the biter, the volley ball player and the entertainer known as Luis Suarez. One wonders whether the tricky Uruguayan knows what he is doing when he is dribbling because opponents certainly have no bloody idea. He may be a striker but he loves to drift to the flanks where he uses his pace and trickery to beat players.

The aforementioned players will do their best to provide ammunition to the £35million man, Andy Carroll. The 6’3, 22-year-old is a classic number nine centre-forward, very much in the mould of Alan Shearer and Didier Drogba who will spearhead the Liverpool attack. The powerfully built Newcastle academy product is deceptively skillful and possesses a howitzer of a shot, but Carroll’s forte is clearly his heading ability. The Liverpool and England number 9 has a massive future ahead of him and hopefully he fulfills his potential.

The future looks bright and I pray I will be listening to the Champions League music whilst Steven Gerrard pretends that he knows how to sing it in the very near future.

Liverpool XI: Reina, Kelly, Carragher, Agger, Johnson, Lucas, Adam, Gerrard, Suarez, Downing, Carroll.