Five minutes in February: moments that make Champions [AVL 2-4 ARS] (Positives Needs & Hopes)

Five minutes in February

An Arsenal blog from a coach’s perspective

I’ve recently started writing music.

Well, I can’t sing or play anything so it’s probably poetry until someone turns it into what the world expects from music which I suppose is music.

I sit here in Cancun at a 3 day Dave Matthews concert on the beach.

Creativity has always been my lean and so I started to scribble lyrics because, why not.

It’s not been a burden sitting here mulling over a title and opening thought. Cancun is 60 degrees warmer than home and Dave Matthews is far more pleasant than listening to Max singing in the shower.

I actually missed the full impact of the moment that we won the game. The concert went on so long last night, six hours actually.

I slept in and watched the game on replay and ended up watching the second half sitting with my lovely Lori in a French boulangerie in the lobby of the Moon Palace.  My emotions had already swung so many times from having the feel of doom that this was a game that was going to disappoint, to guilt at watching Arsenal when Lori wants to go to the pool. I’d accepted that it wasn’t going to be our day just after half time as @southmetroAFC had told me not to bother watching.

Lori has perfected the poker face on game days. If your wife has this skill you will know what a blessing it is when you know she knows the score.

I’m extremely fortunate that my wife is easy to love and very easy to look at ❤️

There’s a little cheeky smile that she occasionally throws my way and I knew she wanted to tell me the score. Also, because she was probably having some social anxiety over me scaring the 4 year old next to us for the second time with an impromptu scream of joy.

So, I asked Lori the score. She paused and asked me if I really wanted to know. Arsenal were on top at this stage, so it wasn’t a total surprise as Villa have the lovely tendency of capitulating.

I sort of regret not holding out but I would’ve surely being thrown out of the boulangerie and probably punched in the face by the dad of the four year old, who already looked like he was in protective mode.

I sat here by the pool and as it is often the case, a title and thought came to my mind.

If Arsenal blow it against Leicester or other then this may not come to pass, but I sense that the last five minutes of this game might just change the history of Arsenal Football Club.

A day we deserve after the bad luck of having deadwood Lee Mason on VAR against Brentford. Making the luck sweeter was the face of a former Arsenal goalie who has become somewhat of an egotist and irritant.

With City dropping points that they had no business dropping, and with Arsenal being five minutes away from not having won in five games, we are now potentially five points clear.

This could very well be the sliding doors moment that we look back on in mid May.

A random swing of Jorginho’s boot. Seems like destiny to me as the replay showed how much the ball was bobbling towards him. A kind of opportunity that you were probably screaming, “Noooooo!!!!”

What is also so crazy speaks to the current frustration I had in the first half and have with the team right now. We look like an elite Champions League team in the middle third. Confidence abounds in possession whether we are alone or in rush-hour traffic. It’s all very impressive.

When the ball gets to the final third, I personally think that we are making our lives far too difficult.

When we look at the four goals that were scored and only the Zinchenko strike looks like it came from a training ground plan. For a team that is so well organized that is odd and somewhat frustrating. I’ve always wondered as long as I’ve loved football, why so many teams rely on opportunism to score. But then I look at the reality of football. I wish I knew how many goals are statistically scored from opportunism. Saka’s goal was a fantastic strike and simply comes from a Tyrone Mings specialty where he loves to play the ball straight back into the danger area. The Jorginho strike was obviously gifted a large slice of luck and certainly didn’t look like a London Colony invention. And I sure hope that we aren’t wasting time at training working on what to do when their goalkeeper is not even in the goal.

It was so un-Arsenal like. So much so that it just screams of destiny to me.

I am more than happy to look back at the ‘five minutes in February’ as the catalyst for winning the league, even if opportunism was its mother.

I think I’m going to go back to the pool now. I’ll be back to finish this off. Even if it’s cold and rainy wherever you are your heart probably feels like you are in Cancun also after such a lovely and unexpected game.

In the meantime, I think I’ve just found the lovechild of Robert Downey, Jr. and Dave Matthews, himself.

Dave Matthews Lovechild


 *   This picture.

Love it: We not Me

 *   So many teams use this kind of slogan, or similar. Not many have a leader who can implement it quite like the genius coaching Arsenal. Arsenal are a club connected.

 *   No training, no speech, no self motivation and no threat will ever compare to the reality that a player feels when a similar quality player shows up and starts in front of you. Martinelli seemed like a caged animal. That’s healthy. It will also expose the true intentions of the player. Like Edu’s quote, is he ‘me’ or is he ‘we?’

 *   I can’t remember feeling so secure when we are defending one on one since Laurent Koscielny when I watch William Saliba. He is a specialist. I know Villa’s first goal came from this situation but my eye told me that this was simply a great goal and not poor defending. The mental security that he must give the others is worth so much. It’s also one thing having this ability but having the swagger to show your superiority is rather impressive. He is also becoming a whizkid at starting attacks from situations where every other defender in the league would panic and either kick it out for a throw in or whack it up the field

 *   I remember being told that Zinchenko was a risk as a defender. I understand that he’s not particularly quick, but I am becoming a fan. His ability in the air, especially defending cross field  balls might be unmatched in the league (apart from Dan Burn), who would need slapping if he wasn’t better in the air than Zinchenko. I think it stems from him being such a serious player and a born winner. Simple refusal to lose. Will make you a better athlete far beyond your athletic abilities.

 *   I think it’s a positive that Juan Mata is trying to edge closer to and make friends with Dave Matthews/Robert Downy Jr. Zoom in.

Cancun pool

 *   Signs that Arsenal are dead serious about winning the league…. we looked so sharp out of the blocks. Such intent. The first 20 minutes of each half reflect the coaches motivational skills/tactical tweaks. He had them well prepared.

 *   Small signs of improvement from Eddie today and I’ve been throwing objects at him recently so I’ll give him some flowers today. He felt more of a threat which is a rung up the ladder rather than taking the steps down that he has been.

 *   I loved Saka’s finish. A half swing. The most underrated quality in football.

 *   We need Partey back in the squad but with Jorginho’s performances we can breathe and not rush him. That goal was, no exaggeration, worth the signing alone. One of the most important goals in our recent history.


 *   The delivery at corners is a concern. We are not creating opportunities anymore. The corner to the edge of the box is a better option right now. It seems like Gabriel is trying too hard. Wants it too much. You might remember the inswinging free kick. Just needed a tiny flick and he spun himself around trying to put power on a ball that didn’t need any.

 *   Coutinho’s goal is a good example of what I’ve been hoping we would try more of. Actually, a true Arsenal goal. We’ve just stopped either running behind or not making the pass to meet the run. Going forward, I’ll say again, let’s not make scoring so complicated. Everything else we do looks so second nature. Until we get into the final third.

 *   Here is another need.


These juice boxes shipped to the USA in large quantities. Mexico has good mango juice boxes even if they are named after a Czech Republic centre back. Don’t tell me I don’t teach you something new each week.


 *   I hope Saka’s ankles are insured. It’s getting ridiculous. Not surprised he finally lost it and pushed Luiz.

 *   Let’s just hope for more pictures like these. They are unadulterated joy.

Coaching staff ecstatic Celebratory  Pile-on Ramsdale airborne Zinny Power

One of the reasons why we sacrifice too much time for football.


So, as I was sharing earlier, I’m writing music/poetry, whatever.

Last night I started to scribble one called ‘Billy Rock Concert.’

It represents my memories as a teenager and how I had more of a carefree attitude. Wasn’t so self aware. Truth is though that it can be good to feel free but only up to a point before you get in trouble. I can recollect some errors at ‘Paradise Lost’ in Watford and ‘Jarmyn Park’ in Hemel.

This part of my scribblings talks about how the ‘Billy’ I became on a night out had such admirable qualities that I wish I had now.

Y’all need to find Billy

Sometime in your life

He’ll shake off the fear that you feel

I like Billy, love Billy,

loved Billy so much

But sadly, Billy’s not real

Arsenal have just relaxed their shoulders. Like ‘Billy Rock Concert’ they may feel carefree. Carefree is good because it de-stresses an athlete. Just needs to be balanced with focus.

If Arsenal stay focused and win the league then these 5 minutes in February will be remembered and I will turn back into my childhood alias and my happiness will not allow any balance whatsoever. I will dance all night until my Fitbit explodes from not having the capacity to record the amount of steps that my grooves produce.

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One Response to Five minutes in February: moments that make Champions [AVL 2-4 ARS] (Positives Needs & Hopes)

  1. Francis Redheart February 19, 2023 at 3:54 pm #

    Hello Mikey,

    What a week we have had! This is what it means to be in a title race and our intentions have been revealed about wanting to win the league.

    A great week for us and we are now back at the top. Let’s see what the journey ahead brings. Arteta is starting to trust his squad with substitution of Xhaka. Vieira was so quick and that led to the 4th goal yesterday. Ramsdale made fantastic saves yesterday and his performance was very top notch.

    Finally, my regards to your family. Happy holidays.

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