Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal: A promising start ends poorly as NUFC totally run out of steam

A losing start for Steve Bruce at St James’ Park, with an avoidable second half goal from Aubameyang being the difference of two halves.

The high press worked well early on and we were in control of the game, but we ran out of steam as time went on and I’m still not sure what Bruce’s tactics were in the second half.

It’s only the first game, Arsenal are quality, and it isn’t season defining by any means but let’s be honest, even the most cynical of us quietly expected more than that in the second half.

Defensively we were solid enough other than the mistake for the goal, but there was an all to familiar huff and puff about our play in the final third. I liked bits of what I saw in the first half, but there was an element of throw on your best players and hope for the best in the second half.

That said, Almiron was very bright in the first half and caused havoc at times, but we struggled to get the ball into Joelinton in good areas.

I was impressed with our pressing early on – something that seemed to stifle Arsenal and totally limit their ability to play out from the back – but our second half showing suggested we had nothing left in the tank after a high-energy first half.

The likes of Hayden, Longstaff and Shelvey were struggling to get the ball into dangerous areas, meaning Almiron was dropping deep the whole game to get the ball out of frustration – which in turn left Joelinton isolated.

They didn’t look any great shakes, but Arsenal are simply a better team and showed it in the key moments today, although our sloppy second half and needless mistake (a mix up between Dummett and Willems) has cost us in the end. It’s a new formation with several new signings in attack, but I did hope we’d cause a weakened Arsenal side more problems.

Today also showed how important Lejeune is to the team. We cannot get him back quick enough. If this 3 at the back is going to work, then Schar and Lejeune are essential, as Dummett, while a good defender is so limited on the ball. We were so exposed down our left side all game, and to me Matt Ritchie didn’t look fit, looking as though he had to hold himself back a little when it came to bombing on and supporting attacks.

No overreaction is needed, though. Yes we didn’t look like scoring in the second half – which is a concern – but we generally contained Arsenal and looked promising in the first half. Don’t get me wrong though, our tactics, game management and goal-threat must improve, but it’s early days.

Onto Norwich, who looked brave and bold against Liverpool going forward and will not be easy.

It’s obviously not a must win at this stage, but Bruce needs a result – and I think we’ll get one.

Onwards and upwards.

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121 thoughts on “Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal: A promising start ends poorly as NUFC totally run out of steam

  1. SHARPY i still think i am right you have your way of looking at things which is ok i have mine,but you always put jabba or boards poiint view which in my eyes it is supporting the club and we all know how they work,seems to work on some i guess

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  2. Sharpy , Yes mate you have said you want him out but many times but lately you seem to take the clubs view over Rafa. Do you honestly believe Rafa is being untruthful about anything that went down, that he only went for the money ?
    If it were only about Rafa first as the club put it, then why would he want them to invest in the academy or training ground, it’s not like he could take it with him when he left.
    Rafa will of known that any cash pumped into the above two mentioned would result in less player purchase cash available but obviously saw it as worthwhile as part of an ongoing project/objective.

    They would not sanction Rondon instead pushing Joe on him for twice the price ! they would not listen to his advice and took an age as always to sign anyone. Did Debravka, Schar, Lejuene and Rondon not bring him any credit with them ?

    I get the feeling you never enjoyed watching Rafas teams, and i understand he’s not everyones cup of tea but he had us organised and i never feared he wouldn’t get us out of a mess or that we’d get thumped like we used to.

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  3. To be fair I dont think Sharpy is doing anything different to me. We both recognise that Rafa is excellent with the media, and he tells the truth according to what he wants. It isn’t a case of sides, and although this is Newcastle it’s not black or white either. There was always going to be a clash of wills between Rafa and Ashley. The problem is we are stuck with Ashley until he decides he wants to leave. Salford City and AFC Wimbledon are examples of how fans have reacted to bad owners. There are lots of bad owners, we are stuck with one of them.

    There is my view a simplification of blaming everything on Ashley whereas reality is it is probably only 80-90%. Any questioning of Rafa is interpreted as pro ashley. Not so. I hope he does open the accounts as requested. It will be interesting to see what is really happening.

    Nor IMHO does labelling people Pro-Ashley as though that were derogatory help the debate. I’ve been insulted on this blog, without apology, and no doubt will be again. However, all I want is to see NUFC do well, stay in the Premier League and hopefully continue to move up. I find all these campaigns against owners, past managers, eg Pardew etc damaging to our chances of doing that.

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  4. icedog:
    SHARPY i still think i am right you have your way of looking at things which is ok i have mine,but you always put jabba or boards poiint view which in my eyes it is supporting the club and we all know how they work,seems to work on some i guess

    Ice – what have I said in support of Ashley?

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  5. It would be nice to not even think about this sort of stuff, never mind arguing amongst ourselves about it. However, this is what a bad owner or manager does to people and we’ve had a boatful of them in the last 12 years.

    All I want is for Bruce to forget this 352 formation. It could work if you’ve got the right players for it.
    What I saw on Sunday is that we don’t. I saw a line of five strung out across midfield. Nobody broke the lines and we don’t have a midfielder who can run forward at speed and dribble. That is not the game that Longstaff, Hayden or Shelvey have.

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  6. kimtoon:
    Sharpy , Yes mate you have said you want him out but many times but lately you seem to take the clubs view over Rafa. Do you honestly believe Rafa is being untruthful about anything that went down, that he only went for the money ?
    If it were only about Rafa first as the club put it, then why would he want them to invest in the academy or training ground, it’s not like he could take it with him when he left.
    Rafa will of known that anycash pumped into the above two mentioned would result in less player purchase cash available but obviously saw it as worthwhile as part of an ongoing project/objective.

    They would not sanction Rondon instead pushing Joe on him for twice the price ! they would not listen to his advice and took an age as always to sign anyone. Did Debravka, Schar, Lejuene and Rondon not bring him any credit with them ?

    I get the feeling you never enjoyed watching Rafas teams, and i understand he’s not everyones cup of tea but he had us organised and i never feared he wouldn’t get us out of a mess or that we’d get thumped like we used to.

    Kim – just because I question Rafa, doesn’t mean I agree with how the club have handled things or conducted themselves.

    I’ve never referenced what the club say – I’ve used Pochettino and what he’s saying about his role at Spurs.

    I think the club did the right thing keeping Rafa when we went down – do you disagree?.

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  7. kimtoon:
    Sharpy , Yes mate you have said you want him out but many times but lately you seem to take the clubs view over Rafa. Do you honestly believe Rafa is being untruthful about anything that went down, that he only went for the money ?
    If it were only about Rafa first as the club put it, then why would he want them to invest in the academy or training ground, it’s not like he could take it with him when he left.
    Rafa will of known that anycash pumped into the above two mentioned would result in less player purchase cash available but obviously saw it as worthwhile as part of an ongoing project/objective.

    They would not sanction Rondon instead pushing Joe on him for twice the price ! they would not listen to his advice and took an age as always to sign anyone. Did Debravka, Schar, Lejuene and Rondon not bring him any credit with them ?

    I get the feeling you never enjoyed watching Rafas teams, and i understand he’s not everyones cup of tea but he had us organised and i never feared he wouldn’t get us out of a mess or that we’d get thumped like we used to.

    you see my point i was trying to make to Sharpy,he doesnt seem to see it,but to see clubs points i dont understand they lie after lie,i just know who i trust,Keegan big Al know like i do the club is run on lie after lie for 12yrs so will never defend the club

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  8. icedog: trying to figure Ashley out is impossible. I have to admit that I have been taken in by him from time to time, just like Keegan and Shearer were.

    I still say that Sharpy has always come across as totally B&W.

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  9. Georgio, I wouldn’t say it’s pro Ashley per se , more that for me i find Sharpy quick to take the clubs view over Rafa. That’s ok, it’s his opinion, maybe i’m reading too much into his posts, I find Eric and prem are the same for what it’s worth. I loved having Rafa at the Toon and the organisation he brought along with the good stuff you saw him do in the community .
    To see him labeled a money grabber is really frustrating, this is a man who every year still gives a lot of money over to the Hillsborough memorial fund. We have to remember that he has to think about his coaching team and their families too, it’s not just his career to think about.
    Let’s be honest here, had he been given just a bit of what he asked the club for he likely would of stayed.
    £60M BUDGET They said was available to him, but he was to have no say on what it was spent on.
    It’s like offering me £10,000 to spend on new decor for my house then saying i have to paint the walls in red, no thanks.
    And no pay rise after 3 years is disrespecting what he and the coaches put into our success .
    Best coach we’ve had since sir Bobby yet club and a section of the fan base quick to label him a money grabbing , me first guy.
    Truth is he saw through our proven in court liar of an owner and got the hell out of dodge, why wouldn’t he.

    We can’t all be the same, i’ve always gotten on well with most posters, bar the odd rare fall out. Thankfully we are not like the kids on Ed’s who are happy to spends hours and hours splitting hairs and posting in multiples to back up their own views – what’s that all about by the way.

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  10. icedog: you see my point i was trying to make to Sharpy,he doesnt seem to see it,but to see clubs points i dont understand they lie after lie,i just know who i trust,Keeganbig Al know like i do the club is run on lie after liefor 12yrs so will never defend the club

    Ice – you fail to realise that Rafa had more that 2 choices. He wasn’t left with just staying at NUFC or going to China.
    Me questioning his motives for going to China is not me saying he should have stayed and worked with the club that he wasn’t happy with.

    But equally, if the club aren’t prepared to give him the control he wanted, then they can’t keep him – what’s wrong with saying that?.

    I don’t blame the club for not giving Rafa outright say on transfers, coz he signed so p!ss poor players – or do we just forget those ones?

    But equally, I don’t blame Rafa for not trusting Ashley and the club either … if anything, I question why he stayed as long as he did if they lied to him for 3 years as he claims.
    I question why he instigated the photo with Ashley and the Championship trophy.
    I question why he and the team went for a pizza with a man that lied to him … and I question why Rafa would even consider renewing a contract to continue working for someone who he says has lied to him for the past 3 years?!.

    Questioning Rafa does not mean I believe the club.

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  11. I’d also point out that Rafa took the job after years of Ashley d!cking us and the club round.

    He’s hardly a victim, and remained in post until his contract expired. You can’t then come out and say your working conditions were unbearable and you were lied to for 3 yrs – when at the same time saying, but if I got a pay rise and a bigger say on who we signed I’d have stayed?!?!!.

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  12. Sharpy, it’s not that simple though is it.
    We are led to believe Rafa approached the club, if true then maybe just maybe he thought they could share a vision he had for us. They must of said encouraging words for him to sign up.
    We went down and he stayed to get us back up, he has said he stayed for the fans. He was shown plans for new training ground by Lee so all looked rosy at that point. He was miffed at us being slow to do business, he said this and also said it’s not the money it’s the way you do things-speed ?
    He said “i saw the training ground plans, but then they only painted the walls ! ” lied to yet again.
    An owner who met with him just 3 times, an owner who didn’t take his calls even.

    As for the pizza meal, that was him lying to the manager and squad again to keep all on side i’d wager, maybe even to smooth out the bonus issue and promise a holiday to the players for staying up, **** knows.

    The picture with Ashley with the cup, well he can hardly not do that and maybe at that point he thought he was going to do the right thing, i mean we’ve all been taken in by jabbas lies haven’t we.

    As for just leaving, Rafa has never broken a contract and wouldn’t walk out and leave us in the ****.
    And he spoke after his contract ended within hours of SSN breaking it, because that’s the only time he could, he wasn’t allowed to speak prior to it ending, he confirmed that the other day.

    My last point on it is this. First day of the season Rafa wishes Steve Bruce and the Toon all the best for the coming season. Whilst Lee Charnley massively disrespects all Rafa and his team did in the clubs first programme notes of the season !
    Says it all really.

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  13. kimtoon:
    Sharpy, it’s not that simple though is it.
    We are led to believe Rafa approached the club, if true then maybe just maybe he thought they could share a vision he had for us. They must of said encouraging words for him to sign up.
    We went down and he stayed to get us back up, he has said he stayed for the fans. He was shown plans for new training ground by Lee so all looked rosy at that point. He was miffed at us being slow to do business, he said this and also said it’s not the money it’s the way you do things-speed ?
    He said “i saw the training ground plans, but then they only painted the walls ! ” lied to yet again.
    An owner who met with him just 3 times,an owner who didn’t take his calls even.

    As for the pizza meal, that was him lying to the manager and squad again to keep all on side i’d wager, maybe even to smooth out the bonus issue and promise a holiday to the players for staying up, **** knows.

    The picture with Ashley with the cup, well he can hardly not do that and maybe at that point he thought he was going to do the right thing, i mean we’ve all been taken in by jabbas lies haven’t we.

    As for just leaving, Rafa has never broken a contract and wouldn’t walk out and leave us in the ****.
    And he spoke after his contract ended within hours of SSN breaking it, because that’s the only time he could, he wasn’t allowed to speak prior to it ending, he confirmed that the other day.

    My last point on it is this. First day of the season Rafa wishes Steve Bruce and the Toon all the best for the coming season. Whilst Lee Charnley massively disrespects all Rafa and his team did in the clubs first programme notes of the season !
    Says it all really.

    Kim – yet again you confuse me speaking about Rafa as defending the club – I don’t know how else I can get across that I think those at the club operate horrendously.

    As for Rafa thinking that the club would share his vision … and I’m naive?!.
    Based on what??. His treatment of Shearer?, his treatment of Houghton?, his backing of Pardew when we got into Europe? – what the hell gave him that impression.

    I don’t need Rafa or a court of law to convince me that Ashley would be horrible to work for – I never would!!. But Rafa did, and continued to, and actions speak louder than words.

    If your partner keeps cheating on you and you choice to stay with them, you can then twist about it or want pity.

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  14. I have to say it again. Sharpy comes across to me as NUFC through and through. Just like Stuart does. We may disagree a bit on politics, although not as much as he thinks, but we are NUFC fans and nothing will change that.

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  15. As NUFC fans, some choose to believe Rafa, and some choose to believe Ashley. That is the difference. Me personally just feel weird why someone still choose to believe Ashely after being cheated so many times. Well, suit yourself.

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  16. I still don’t know who’s being accused of believing Ashley here???.

    To put it as simply as I can – I 100% do not believe a word that comes out of Ashley’s mouth. There was only Kim that beat me to calling his recent interview BS.

    I QUESTION Rafa – but in doing so, that is not me siding with Ashley or the club.

    If people can’t get their heads round that, I really don’t know what the hell else to say to be honest ??‍♂️.

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  17. I fully understand you Sharpy.
    I have criticised Rafa for the three years he was here. He brought us boring , negative football and he delighted the Stoke fans by bringing us Joselu. I was overjoyed when he decided to leave.
    To be honest he was no better at managing NUFC than Pardew.
    By saying that it does not make me a fan of our owner.

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  18. sidekick:
    I fully understand you Sharpy.
    I have criticisedRafa for the three years he was here. He brought us boring , negative football and he delighted the Stoke fans by bringing us Joselu. I was overjoyed when he decided to leave.
    To be honest he was no better at managing NUFC than Pardew.
    By saying that it does not make me a fan of our owner.

    Sidekick – I didn’t slaughter Rafa. I can’t say I enjoyed his football, but completely understand why he played that way. I think he done well for us, but was no miracle worker.

    Ultimately I try to be balanced in my comments. That’s not sitting on the fence, it’s just being honest.
    Rafa done some really good things, but also some not so good things – transfers being one. Developing young players being another.

    I try and do the same with the club. I think they done the right thing appointing Rafa in the first place and keeping him when relegated – but that didn’t excuse what they did to Houghton, or offering Pardew and 8yr contract, or Carver. I think they have done well this transfer window – but that doesn’t excuse past window failures.

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  19. Sidekick, on you on a wind up mate ? no better than Pardew, really lol.
    I give up.

    Sharpy, Joselu was a last resort, the pot was bare. Yes he made a couple of poor signings like all managers but what about the diamonds he’s unearthed at low cost to the club, there is more good signings than bad.
    I do think Rafa thought they would share his vision, i think he thought they would value his football knowledge but he now knows legends of the game mean nothing to them.

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  20. Sharpy: I thought we were OK with Rafa. I didn’t like him saying we would be relegated without him. Maybe we will be, who knows? We were total shyte until after boxing day. I am not sure if that was that Rafa lucked into Hayden and Longstaff or if he had a plan? It seems that Nickson was the chief negotiator for Almiron.

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  21. Anyways, need to go, just wanted to reply as didn’t want you thinking i was ignoring you. Arthritis in my wrist and hands killing me and can’t type well at the moment, for some reason it’s hellish from late afternoon onwards. The drugs don’t work .
    Laters.

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  22. kimtoon:
    Sidekick, on you on a wind up mate ? no better than Pardew, really lol.
    I give up.

    Sharpy, Joselu was a last resort, the pot was bare. Yes he made a couple of poor signings like all managers but what about the diamonds he’s unearthed at low cost to the club, there is more good signings than bad.
    I do think Rafa thought they would share his vision, i think he thought they would value his football knowledge but he now knows legends of the game mean nothing to them.

    Kim – I’d probably say 50/50 on the signings – but being balanced and fair, he was hugely restricted by transfer budgets – and lied to that he would get every penny to spend.

    But if he really thought they would value him, then more fool him!!.
    I really don’t know what would have given him that impression – and more fool him for not having something written into his contract protecting him against 3yrs of lies.

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  23. kimtoon:
    Anyways, need to go, just wanted to reply as didn’t want you thinking i was ignoring you. Arthritis in my wrist and hands killing me and can’t type well at the moment, for some reason it’s hellish from late afternoon onwards. The drugs don’t work .
    Laters.

    Kim – I know how busy your life is so never think you ignore, but sorry to hear you are in so much pain. Hope it subsides a bit for you soon though.

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  24. Eric Sykes:
    Sharpy: I thought we were OK with Rafa. I didn’t like him saying we would be relegated without him. Maybe we will be, who knows? We were total shyte until after boxing day. I am not sure if that was that Rafa lucked into Hayden and Longstaff or if he had a plan? It seems that Nickson was the chief negotiator for Almiron.

    Eric – Rafa was a real safe pair of hands. I think it’s harsh he oversaw our worse start in over 125 years last season (or whatever it was) – there was some really tough fixtures there – but some winnable games too mind. Never worried though. I was sure we’d be safe. It would be interesting to see what he could do with his group – but can’t dwell on that.

    What’s interesting is the players reaction to Bruce coming in. There was no mass exodus as the media built up – no dummies spat or toys thrown. The players seem perfectly happy with Bruce – I’m not saying they are pleased to see the back of Rafa – but it’s not the end of the world as some fans have made out. Ritchie said some much recently.

    I don’t believe we will be relegated under Bruce – this season at least.

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  25. Sharpy: there are plenty of dummies being spat out at NUST and The Magpie Group. Will fill up the river Tyne.

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  26. Kim
    No , I was not winding anyone up.
    I saw my first match at St James Park at the age of 6 and now, 65 years later, I have seen many managers come and go. Rafa was no better or worse than most of them.
    Sorry to read that you have arthritis in your hands. Have you tried glucosamine gel ? It really helps the arthritis I have in my hands and neck. It does not work for the arthritis in my knee , but I get physiotherapy and also injections to relieve the pain there.

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  27. sidekick:
    I fully understand you Sharpy.
    I have criticisedRafa for the three years he was here. He brought us boring , negative football and he delighted the Stoke fans by bringing us Joselu. I was overjoyed when he decided to leave.
    To be honest he was no better at managing NUFC than Pardew.
    By saying that it does not make me a fan of our owner.

    Someone has been drinking…

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  28. I admired the way Rafa conducted himself but his selections I often disagreed with. I think he was very stubborn. He persisted with Kennedy who was never going to be ours, when it might have been better to encourage Murphy or someone from the reserves. Joselu was not a great success so it might have provided a good opportunity to give Sorensen a run out. It couldn’t have got worse results could it? Don’t start me on substitutions. He was as bad as Pardew in making substitutes by the clock (usually 70 minutes) rather than when necessary. I remember Clough making a substitution within 5 minutes that was not due to injury. Nevertheless Rafa was comparatively a good manager and we could have done far worse. But then a lot of managers, especially if British, are dinosaurs.

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  29. Thanks for the Arthritis tips lads, just been to Hospital for my yearly bloods to check my platelets. Doc says i’m prone to auto immune disorders and will write to my gp to try and get my consultant appointment with Rheumatology brought forward from december 23rd.
    Had to knock the tablets gp gave me on the head as they made me so sick, so now i’m back to being in pain again. Think i’m gonna try that CBD oil, folk swear by it for pain relief .
    Anyone tried it ?
    Honestly my hands and wrist and neck and elbows were proper knackered last night, thankfully the lad slept well and i didn’t have to tend to him too much.
    That’s Scerloderma of my skin in my twenties, Platelets going down to 5,4 years ago, two bouts of Episcerlitis to my eyes and now Arthritis !, i have a crappy immune system 🙁

    Sidekick, Is that hydrocortisone injections in your knee mate ? I had that to my right thumb joint and it was brilliant until it wore off.
    The thing is i have osteoporosis in my knee according to the surgeon that did my op and gp says it’s in my hands/fingers too, i guess that complicates things.

    Sharpy, no problem mate, i know we’re cool .

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  30. KIM hope you get some ease mate,my son swears by that CBD for his boxing injurys,it also stops his mood swings lol

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  31. Sidekick, thought as much, not looking forward to a knee replacement at all.

    Ice, cheers, how does he take the cbd oil ?

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  32. kimtoon:
    Sidekick, thought as much, not looking forward to a knee replacement at all.

    Ice, cheers, how does he take the cbd oil ?

    no mate capsuls,hes great with them 3yrs hes been taking them before they became legal lol,they say it stops certain types of cancer dont knoe if i buy that like,but nothing ventured nothing gained,by the way his wife takes them keeps her carm with the kids she says

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  33. That picture of Lawro is really strange. It looks like someone has done some touching up so it is like a painting and yet it is still unflattering.

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