Tottenham (H): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line-ups

After months of talking, not enough doing and a lot of off field frustration, football finally returns to St James’ Park, with us taking on Spurs for the second season running on the opening day.

It’s been a funny old summer. I’m not impressed and neither will Rafa be, but we have actually improved the squad and a few key areas of the first team – just not quite as much as we’d have hoped.

Rondon and Muto will be an upgrade on Gayle and Joselu and I’m hoping we see both get their first minutes in a black and white shirt. Spurs may be forced to field a make shift back four, so I for one am really hoping to see Rondon’s name in the starting 11 when the teams are announced at 11.30.

He’s yet to prove he can be prolific at this level, but he’s a real handful, a hard worker, surprisingly mobile for his size and someone I back to fit into Benitez’s system very nicely.

Ki Sung-Yeung is also a very smart signing, Schar and Fernandez are two solid and much needed signings after the Lejeune blow and it’ll also be a real boost to have Dubravka and Kenedy for the entire season this time around.



Whilst we’re not coming into this one with a great deal of momentum – with results both on and off the pitch being dubious at best recently – it’s fair to say we couldn’t be playing Spurs at a better time.

With England, Belgium and France all making it to final week of the World Cup, Kane, Alli, Trippier, Dier, Rose, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Dembele and Lloris only returned to Spurs earlier this week – so I’m only expecting a handful of these to start.

Not only that, Tottenham were the only side not to make a single summer signing – something which may have left their fans and players a little disgruntled heading into a new season.

The lack of signings could’ve meant we’d see a settled and well-oiled Spurs side turn up, but injuries, an unsettled pre-season and several star players likely to miss out mean that we have a big chance here.

There’ll be protesting before the game outside Northumberland Street’s Sports Direct, but attentions will turn back to doing what we do best come 12.30pm – getting behind Benitez and the boys in a bid to start the 2018/19 season with a surprise three points.

I fear for us if Joselu starts and am hoping our defence can withstand the loss of Lejeune, however the return of Kenedy will be a big boost – especially if the likes of he, Perez and Ritchie has a new striker to work with up top.

Preferred XI

Here’s the team I’d like to see, followed by the side I expect Rafa to go with:

Clark looks set to get the nod next to Lascelles in Lejeune’s absence – for now at least. He’s played most of pre-season, I can’t see Schar won’t be thrown in at the deep end just yet and it’s already been confirmed by Rafa that this one will come too soon for Fernandez

Shelvey and Diame will almost certainly start in midfield, however I expect Ki to be knocking on their door soon enough, having really impressed me keep in our pre-season outing against Augsburg last weekend.

The big question is who will play up top.

Joselu has seen far more pre-season minutes than Rondon and Muto – so I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts – however Lascelles admitted just a few days ago that the Venezuelan was looking ‘really good’ in training.

We could do with a boost before the game and Rafa will know that handing Rondon his debut could give us exactly that – not forgetting that Joselu seems so unlikely to threaten a usually sturdy spurs back line.

Predicted NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1) – Dubravka– Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett – Diame, Shelvey – Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy –  Joselu

The Opposition

With several of their star men having only just returned from post-World Cup breaks, you can expect to see a slightly alternative Spurs starting 11 for this one. Aside from the obvious, here’s a few of my ‘one’s to watch’:

Ben Davies– An attacking left-wing back who will put great deliveries into the box and exploit any space that Yedlin may give him.

Lucas Moura  – Talented Brazilian winger who’s been impressing for them over pre-season. He’s very direct and tricky so could be one for Dummett to watch down their right.

Serge Aurier – Looks likely to start at right-back, but he’s one Kenedy could get at. Aurier is an impressive athlete but he’s hot headed and has a tendency to dive in and be erratic.

Heung-Min Son – The Korean winger is an absolute menace. High energy and devastating in front of goal. Yedlin can’t afford to leave Lascelles exposed or he’ll cut in and do damage.

Christian Eriksen – Mo Diame needs to be on him like a rash. We all know how good he is. Give him space and he’ll hurt us. His set piece delivery is top drawer too so cheap corners/free kicks need to be avoided when possible.

Predicted Spurs XI – (3-4-2-1) – Vorm – Aurier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davues – Dier, Amos – Lucas, Eriksen, Son – Llorente.

 

Team news

Federico Fernandez will miss out after linking up with the squad for the first time on Thursday. Lejeune is out after a cruciate ligament injury – and will be for the entire season you’d think.

Yoshinori Muto and Salomon Rondon are available after training this week and Mo Diame and Martin Dubravka are fine despite picking up knocks last weekend.

Mauricio Pochettino has admitted that he’ll be be checking on Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Kieran Trippier, Eric Dier, Danny Rose, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele and Hugo Lloris in training (Friday) and making a late decision, with all returning late after extended post-World Cup breaks.

Juan Foyth, Erik Lamela, Victor Wanyama and Harry Winks are all out.

 

Match Prediction

If we can get at them from the off, take our chances and keep our focus then I wouldn’t be surprised to see us pull off a surprise win, although a score draw seems most likely to me.

They could be light at the back and short in midfield, but if Kane starts (with Lucas, Erkisen and Son in support), there’s always the chance of us being blown away if we’re not careful.

PredictionNewcastle 1-1 Tottenham 

Howay the lads!

(Fancy writing for us? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

71 thoughts on “Tottenham (H): Pre-match thoughts, team news & predicted line-ups

  1. I’m ok with Clark at CB. I think he and Lascelles play well together – but I expect Fernandez to be Lascelles more regular partner.
    I hope that Diame finds the form of the 2nd half of last season – coz he wasn’t good the first half.
    We need Perez to be more consistent this season too. But if we go with Joselu up front, I don’t fancy our chances.

    I expect a cagey game. Us holding out for a 0-0 with 20-30mins to go and see what we can nick off a set piece or counter attack.
    How good will our discipline be?!. I think Rafa and the players will expect some kind of reaction from the fans regarding the transfer window – and that may effect things.

    Basically I think it could be an ugly game to watch and I expect Spurs to nick it maybe 1-0 again – or 0-0 if we keep our discipline.

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  2. It is dangerous to think we are playing a weakened team. Now with that out of the way, we are playing a weakened team! Hopefully without Kane.

    One very minor point is that a lot of the Spurs players were in Russia until the final WEEKEND of the season because of that stupid 3rd place game.

    I watched the Man U game and the commentators were saying that Lukaku, Lingard and Vardy had told their managers they weren’t ready for 90 minutes so hopefully Olly’s team will be about right. Llorente is a good player but I would still rather be facing him than Kane.

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  3. First games are always a bit unpredictable (as are the next 37 really) due to there not being any form to go off. They are always fascinating (as are the next 37), though, and full of anticipation.

    One of the things I’ll be looking for is if Perez can have a ‘break-out’ season. He had some good times at the end of last season, so he has a platform to do it. Lascelles had his break out season last year, but can he build on that? Will Rondon be the man we have wanted for so long?

    What new tactics will be employed by Rafa – because all good managers mix it up a bit each year. What was learnt from the world cup? Can the last half of last season be carried into this one?

    Many questions, and one game won’t answer them, but the show goes on for a long time. Wishing and hoping, as ever, is the Newcastle way. I know that won’t change.

    It’s great to have the football back, and I look forward to hearing the ref’s whistle rather than the constant death knells – though I know they’ll keep clanging as long as we have a football team that isn’t in the top 6.

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  4. Stuart79:
    I would say 8 of todays starting line up will be from our Championship team.

    And 10 of that team had PL experience before last year, so WHAT IS YOUR POINT? The one who hadn’t, Dubravka, is being talked about as a steal.

    Just because they played in the Championship for us does not make them Championship players. Would you say Shelvey or Lascelles are “Championship Players”. FFS Stuart, I am sick of hearing that we have a Championship team.

    We got most of the team from Premier League clubs although admittedly some had just been relegated.

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  5. How many of the Wolves team that will play today are Championship players because they played in the Championship last year? Most have no PL experience because they came from Portugal.

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  6. Let’s put this argument to bed. Let’s not count last season but see who played in the PL BEFORE joining us or before we were relegated. Dubravka came from abroad so he doesn’t count but is a full international:

    Yedlin – for Spurs and Sunderland
    Lascelles – for NUFC
    Clark – for Villa
    Dummett – for NUFC
    Diame – for Wigan, West Ham and Hull, all in the PL at the time.
    Shelvey – Liverpool and Swans
    Ritchie – B’mouth
    Kenedy – Chelsea, was last season but I say that still counts. Never played in The Championship.
    Perez – for NUFC
    Rondon – West Brom

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  7. And just because West Brom and Swans were sh!t last year doesn’t mean they were when Shelvey and Rondon played for them the whole time. They were bottom half, but survived.

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  8. Eric Sykes:
    How many of the Wolves team that will play today are Championship players because they played in the Championship last year? Most have no PL experience because they came from Portugal.

    They have that super agent (mendes?) who recruited players to get them up and now used his contacts to feed them new players this year.

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  9. And Stuart mate. Of the starting 11 today who could we sell to a Premier League club? I would suggest all of them apart from maybe Clark who is only starting because Lejeune is injured. Maybe Diame because of his age but we are his 4th PL Club.

    Don’t say Dummett. I think Hughton would have him in a heartbeat.

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  10. Let’s wait and see Eric. Last season most of our points came from teams below us. All of which have vastly improved their squads more than we have. Just my opinion. I’m allowed that, Eric. But I forgot – the likes of Fulham, Wolves, West Ham, Brighton and Huddersfield all spending between £50m and £100m is no guarantee of improvement. 😂 It just gives them a better chance of improving than us who spent Jack Diddly. Our two best signings are re signings that we had from Jan anyway. Muto for Gayle? Rondon for Mitro? Ki for Merino? Jury’s out on all them as to whether they’re up grades.

    Why do the club feel the need to release a statement about the transfer window if they believe the squad is clearly better than last season and window was a success?

    Let’s assume we have a squad as good as last season. That’s the best hope imo. We need Huddersfield, Brighton, Wolves (WBA replacement), Fulham (Swansea replacement), West Ham, Bournemouth, Palace and Watford to just be as good as last season for them to stay below us. I’m assuming Cardiff will go down.

    Has it ever happened where the three promoted clubs that stayed up in their first season all stayed up in their second season? I doubt it so that means at least one of last seasons promoted clubs are in danger.

    I’m Eric won’t be happy with my pretty sensible logic in this argument. Just because… so don’t know. He basis Southampton’s probable relegation on their manager who has never been relegated btw.

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  11. There has been a shift in quality of the bottom 14 teams so maybe some of our players would not get into some of those teams but they could be in the squad. And the argument is that our team is full of Championship players just because they played in the Championship which is absurd.

    Let’s do the opposite. Robbie Savage was at Man U but spent his career in lesser teams. Does that make him a Man U player? He is ex Man U, but is he Man U?

    Is Harry Kane a Championship player because he was loaned to the Championship?

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  12. Stuart79:
    Let’s wait and see Eric. Last season most of our points came from teams below us. All of which have vastly improved their squads more than we have. Just my opinion. I’m allowed that, Eric. But I forgot – the likes of Fulham, Wolves, West Ham, Brighton and Huddersfield all spending between £50m and £100m is no guarantee of improvement. It just gives them a better chance of improving than us who spent Jack Diddly. Our two best signings are re signings that we had from Jan anyway. Muto for Gayle? Rondon for Mitro? Ki for Merino? Jury’s out on all them as to whether they’re up grades.

    Why do the club feel the need to release a statement about the transfer window if they believe the squad is clearly better than last season and window was a success?

    Let’s assume we have a squad as good as last season. That’s the best hope imo. We need Huddersfield, Brighton, Wolves (WBA replacement), Fulham (Swansea replacement), West Ham, Bournemouth, Palace and Watford to just be as good as last season for them to stay below us. I’m assuming Cardiff will go down.

    Has it ever happened where the three promoted clubs that stayed up in their first season all stayed up in their second season? I doubt it so that means at least one of last seasons promoted clubs are in danger.

    I’m Eric won’t be happy with my pretty sensible logic in this argument. Just because… so don’t know. He basis Southampton’s probable relegation on their manager who has never been relegated btw.

    Erm, Hughes has never been relegated because Stoke fired him.

    It is obvious that we have not done enough and Rafa has said so. There is a very real possibility we will struggle – I picked us for 15th so that shows I am not a happy clapper.

    I read Robbie Savage’s predictions in The Sun today and he again called us a Championship team and I just got fed up because our team all have PL experience from before last year.

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  13. Howay the Lads. If I have learnt one thing it is you can never tell with NUFC. Our last game last season I thought would be a meaningless kickabout with 2 teams with nothing to play for, not even pride. I thought it was our best game of the season and they even kept Hazard on the pitch for most of the game so Conte still wanted it.

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  14. Many supporters haven’t even received their season cards yet! This club is a shambles – top to bottom. I dare say they were negotiating a better delivery price from Royal Mail!

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  15. And btw – I have never called our players Championship players. I said that it was a side that would probably have 8 of our Championship side in it. That just indicates the lack of progress we have made in 3/4 transfer windows. Considering a bit of ambition a spending what we have earned we could definitely up grade on many of that team.

    But eh-ho.

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  16. I can see Kimtoon pulling her hair out as she comments on something happening in the game and then has to retype it 🙂

    Is it on live in the UK? It starts at 6.30 am Chicago time. Giving the pub a miss. Too early!

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  17. I think if ever there was a good time to play Spurs, then this is it… we have a reasonable record against them and we were even a bit of a bogey team for them at one point some years ago… we are home and I feel we do have a chance. I’m going to say 2-1 to us… perhaps my heart speaking but we will soon find out.

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  18. There is absolutely no reason NOT to play Rondon. He has had a full preseason at West Brom. He has the Number 9 shirt. He supposedly has trained all week. His role is the easiest to master – hold the ball up, lay it off or try to score.

    I just cannot see any reason why Rafa would favour Joselu today.

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  19. Still not fixed:
    I can see Kimtoon pulling her hair out as she comments on something happening in the game and then has to retype it

    Is it on live in the UK? It starts at 6.30 am Chicago time. Giving the pub a miss. Too early!

    on for prediction only as am not doing this retyping ******* all match, been a bloody week now, not good.
    Anyway 1.1 we look a touch loose at the back pre season and the goal from Rondon on his debut.
    HWTL

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  20. First up against a Spurs is in my opinion our best chance of picking up 3 points against the top 6 sides. Let’s hope they’re under cooked.

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  21. Why are we only naming 5 players on the subs bench… sky sports are showing only 5 subs… Schar, Muto, Rondon, Manquillo and Darlow..

    And why the **** is Joselu starting when we have both Muto and Rondon… 😡😡. Alli and Kane start for spuds… oh well, the dream was nice while it lasted.

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  22. Ok, it seems that Sky sports ha e just forgotten a few our subs, it looks like Ki and Atsu are also warming the bench.

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  23. I hate Keys with a passion… still saying Ashley gave £100 million in championship and should be enough…. him and ****ing Grey are the scum of the earth. 😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡

    We got 7 players And we are up against a team that bought nobody.. how can we complain??… crawl bCk into your hole in the ground Keys and Grey…

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  24. It really pisses me off how the club keep asking us to support them when they constantly piss on our chips!

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  25. Horrible start. Dúbravka at fault in my opinion – no need to make the save to give the corner in the first place.

    But great early reply .. and who’d have thought it – Joselu .. maybe Rafa does know more than us after all ⬛️⬜️⬛️⬜️⬛️

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  26. Feck me how has Aurier not been carded for that on Jon jo and then he puts it in for Ali to score
    f off 👿

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  27. How many fouls have gone unpunished this half man?!?!?!!

    Kenedy has been fouled a good 5 times that should have resulted in a yellow. You ****ing know that as soon as Shelvey mistimes one the hand will go in the pocket though!!.

    I like a game to flow, but this is taking the piss.

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  28. Half time thoughts , Well Spuds are a bit dirty aren’t they and our full backs been poor and Diame looks rusty.
    Ritchie looks up for it , as does kennedy and Shelvey.

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  29. The most disappointing aspect of that half is how distinctly average Spurs are and we still don’t look like we’re in this.

    Plus point is it’s only 1-2

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  30. Kenedy and Shelvey looking good, and who’d of thunk it… Joselu scores.. well done to him… but this spurs team are dirty ****ers… should’ve had at least 3 yellows. Let’s see how the second half goes… so much for my prediction then..

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  31. Diame been poor today, gives away the ball in dangerous area’s and worst player of the match so far imo. Kenedy having a great game and well done Joselu.

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  32. Huge chance for Kenedy that and Diame hit the post in the first 6mins of the 2nd half – 2 big chances that.

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  33. We just have so little quality in the final third of it’s not Kenedy. Frightening that we thought we could solve that problem without spending any decent money.

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  34. kimtoon:
    well I think we deserve a point from this game tbh, but we have to take our chances better

    Kim – we’ve had 3/4 years to solve our goal scoring problem. It’s not going to happen.

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  35. Looks like we will have Manquillo to look forward to for a while if Yedlins injury is as bad as it looked. Yippee

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  36. Well that was frustrating as hell, hit the bar twice , Spurs weren’t great either points dropped imo.
    Should of got full back situation addressed pre season really, can’t afford any injuries to defence, it was our only good point last season but it looks loose today.
    Hard season ahead me thinks.

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  37. So we lose… normal service resumed then… Yedlin crocked and not looking good. A good thing we got some good players in to give us strength in depth…. 😱😳😳😳 oh, wait… we didn’t did we..?

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  38. Well I’m certainly not disappointed with what I saw from us today.
    Poch feared us enough to but pretty much a full strength side out today and we pushed them all the way.

    Play like that every week and I think we’ll be fine.

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  39. It was all Newcastle in the 2nd half.

    A few mm gave Spurs a goal and a few more than that denied us one. Outplayed in the first half, much better in the second. A draw would have been a fair enough result.

    Why on earth Atsu gets a game is beyond me. Dubravka’s distribution was atrocious. The rest did well. Disappointed not to get something out of that.

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  40. If Yedlin is out for any great length of time, I would hope Rafa considers a 3 at the back system. I think a back 3 of Clark, Lascelles and Fernandez with wing backs of Kenedy and Ritchie would be a good option.

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  41. kimtoon:
    Anyone know why he took off Ritchie I thought he was playing really well, Atsu was poor when he came on.

    Kim – not sure, Ritchie certainly didn’t look happy about it did he?!.

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  42. Sharpy17:
    If Yedlin is out for any great length of time, I would hope Rafa considers a 3 at the back system.I think a back 3 of Clark, Lascelles and Fernandez with wing backs of Kenedy and Ritchie would be a good option.

    I would agree with that too… not that we have a lot of options… Manquillo doesn’t fill me with hope.

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  43. DUbai Toon: I would agree with that too… not that we have a lot of options… Manquillo doesn’t fill me with hope.

    DT – to be fair, if Yedlin got injured or suspended it was always going to be Manquillo to come in for him.
    We were looking for a LB in the window as cover for Dummett.
    Rafa seemed happy enough to go with Yedlin and Manq as his RBs.

    I can’t say Manq fills me with confidence either, but Rafa will likely go with him so as not to change things too much.
    I would certainly favour the 3 at the back, Shelvey and Diame in the middle, Perez ahead of them and Rondon and either Muto or Joselu up front. Kenedy and Ritchie would still provide that width as wing backs.
    But Rafa doesn’t need my help. He knows his players better than any of us, and I’m sure he’ll manage 😂.

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  44. Just took another look at our fixtures and they are scary. I think if we get 6 points from the 1st 8 games we might be doing well. We have to target the next 2 games. Obviously, Chelsea have good players but it might take a while for them to adapt to Sarri.

    His name is just tailor made for tabloid puns. I could probably do 20 off the top of my head but I will spare you.

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  45. Diame started sloppy and when he picked up his play we improved. We really needed something from that game.

    I am not going to get too down no matter what happens as, as I said, I expect about 6 points from the 1st 8 games and did no matter who we signed in our price range.

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  46. Im fairly certain we will get a few points from first 6 games. Nit worried about relegstion, just a shame Ashley can never show ambition and kick us on.

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