This may seem strange to some, but I feel that the game against Birmingham on Saturday is bigger than Milan tommorrow night. The Champions League to some is the holy grail. I'm not one of them. It is a fantasic trophy to win, but I would rather see William Gallas lifting the Premiership trophy high above his head than the Champions league.
The run in the Champions League we had in 2006 was special. It lifted us in what was a pretty gloomy season in truth. We were struggling to get into forth place and the Championship League gave us an outlet from the struggle we were facing in the Premiership. It was brilliant to watch as we beat the sides like Juventus and Real Madrid who were expected to wipe the floor with us. In true underdog style we performed brilliantly to make it to Paris.
It was a killer to be defeated in that final. Heartbreaking in fact. To see the side reach the final and be beaten was the WORST moment I've ever had as a Gooner. But the side performed so bravely that I have never felt prouder of my club.
The Champions League is a lottery. The draw can be kind and the thing that you need most is luck. You may be getting a hiding in the game and losing 2-0, but you had a 1-0 victory at home in the first leg, you break away and score in the last minute and bang, your through on away goals. Great and exciting, but in truth you were lucky to go through.
The Premiership is about 38 games against teams who want to beat you so bad it's unbelievable. Your a big scalp and teams raise their game against you that extra 10%. You travel to sides like Derby who have no hope in staying up, but want to beat you because your Arsenal. It's the most difficult trophy to win, anywhere. If your a London club, like Arsenal, it's even more difficult to win. You have several derbies to play in a season at frantic pace.
Thats why I feel Birmingham is bigger. The Premiership is every week. The Champions League is played at various stages of the season. I'm not doubting how prestigious the Champions League is, and to win it would be amazing, but to win the Premiership is even more amazing.
The game tommorrow is big, but Birmingham is bigger. By 2:30 on Saturday afternoon we could 8 points clear of ManUSA. That is special. And of course I want Arsenal to beat Milan tommorrow night, but to be 8 points clear of ManUSA and then see them struggle to a draw at St James Park would be even better.
Keep it Goonerish....................