I was willing Arsène Wenger to get through. I watched his side play Fulham last Saturday and some of the football was absolutely outstanding. They have been accused of having a bit of a soft underbelly, especially since they lost Patrick Vieira, but when Real took hold of the game in the second half they just could not break the Gunners down.
I enjoyed seeing Liverpool stage that fantastic comeback in last year's final - particularly because I watched it on holiday in a room full of Milan supporters - but while I admire Chelsea and Liverpool I don't look forward to watching them.
Arsenal are so pleasing on the eye. It is a black mark that they had no Englishmen on the pitch but I do think it is appropriate, with Chelsea and Rangers and Liverpool out, that they are the team to carry the flag for our game in the Champions' League.
They can go on and win it, too. They will not be in awe of anyone. If you can go to the Bernabeu and play like they did and come away with a 1-0 victory you can go anywhere, and those teams that avoided them in the draw for the quarter- and semi-finals will be relieved.
2. Chelsea need a Ronaldinho
There was not much between Chelsea and Barcelona. Over the two legs Chelsea had some misfortune and I can sympathise with Jose Mourinho because at that level games are decided on that sort of thing. But Ronaldinho stood out and it was only right that his goal was decisive because he was head and shoulders above anyone else.
You could never see Chelsea scoring enough goals. At the top end of the Champions' League you have to have the best, and Ronaldinho is the best. I'm sure you'll see Chelsea throw everything into getting a player in his mould this summer.
3. Sometimes honesty doesn't pay
The issue of diving keeps coming up. I would never tell a player to cheat but it leaves a bitter taste when I see a player punished for being honest, which is effectively what happened to Ade Akinbiyi when we were not given a last-minute penalty against Crewe last week. He was clearly being fouled but tried to stay on his feet. He ended up in a 50-50 situation with their keeper; if he had not been fouled it would have been 80-20 in his favour.
A penalty would probably have won us the game so what should Ade have done? We are telling players not to dive but I would say that 99 players out of 100 would go down. I'd say to Ade, "Look at it again and decide what you should or shouldn't have done," but you should not have to ask a player that.
4. One player's success gives everyone a lift
When Phil Jagielka walked into training with the Championship Player of the Year trophy he was awarded last weekend there was a burst of spontaneous applause. Phil is a level-headed lad who has been with Sheffield United since he was a kid. He plays the game as it should be played and he has a great career ahead of him. Whether we can keep him depends on where this club goes in the next couple of years. He has given the whole club a lift.
5. Even pie throwers deserve a helping hand
Our players have responded to the crisis at Rotherham by raising £2,000 in a whip-round, in addition to the £9,000 the club passed on from the television beam-back of our derby against Sheffield Wednesday. We've also allowed them to keep two of our players on loan without charge.
I used to play for Rotherham and I think they are a lovely club, even though I get pies thrown at me when I go back to Millmoor. Hopefully, now I've done my bit, I can at least expect them to be warm and with plenty of gravy.
- More about:
- Chelsea F.c.
- Feet (anatomy)
- Jose Mourinho
- Liverpool FC
- Manchester City
- Patrick Vieira
- Premier League