What struck me about the past two nights in Barcelona's 2-0 win at Manchester City and Bayern Munich's 2-0 stroll against Arsenal is that the Premier League can't buy the best players. They can buy most players, but not the very best.
Barcelona and Bayern Munich tend to hold onto their best players. They don't need or want to sell. And their best players don't want to leave.
Spanish clubs didn't go for some of City's best players such as David Silva, Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas. There was only two Spanish clubs that could have bought them in Barcelona and Real Madrid , but they opted against signing them.
They thought to themselves: 'We've probably got better players at our club. And have probably got better players in our system.'
It is similar with Bayern Munich. Why weren't they looking to bring in a player like Mesut Ozil last summer? We saw why last night. Bayern were better than Arsenal in everything they did, but mainly in work-rate and attitude. They're going to look at a guy like Ozil and think: 'That's not what we're looking for.'
All their players work hard, are disciplined and are exceptional footballers.
You look at Toni Kroos in comparison to Ozil. He is at a whole different level in everything he does. In how he takes care of his passing, and how he works for the team.
And when he is given the opportunity to have a shot, he takes it.
It doesn't quite look like Arsenal's players have taken to Ozil. He is not a team player.
If you are going to compare Ozil to anybody who is not a team player, it would be Zlatan Ibrahimovic at PSG. But he delivers. Ozil doesn't.
I could not understand why Arsene Wenger left him on after admitting his head and performance was scrambled by missing the penalty? You get away with it in the Premier League. But you don't get away with it at that level. Never in a million years.
It didn't take long for Bayern to spot the weakness with Ozil failing to defend properly. They got so much success going down the Arsenal left flank, it was almost embarrassing.
At that level, it shouldn't happen. You should be able to cope better than Arsenal.
Ozil missed his last two penalties. Why was he allowed to take and miss a third penalty?
I don't quite go along with this belief that he was brave enough to take it.
The most annoying thing for his team-mates is that they don't think he is pulling his weight. It is almost as if he is not part of the group.
The rest of them are trying their best, working hard. But he like is a little kid who only wants to play when he has got the ball.
I'm not sure his place in the Germany side can be guaranteed. The Germans mimic the way Bayern play, but it seems as if he is above it all.
Is there any way back? I'm not sure. He needs to regain his confidence and the confidence of his team-mates, but he doesn't seem to be a strong character.
When you spend £42.5 million on a player, you should be being buying more than ability. You are also purchasing mental strength and leadership. Arsenal have been short-changed in terms of that.
Bayern and Barcelona well clear as Europe's two best teams
The best of the Premier League can't quite cope with the best of Europe.
Making reckless decisions and getting them wrong are part of the game. The teams who make those mistakes get punished as we saw with Manchester City and Arsenal.
Good teams make you panic, and if you panic you make mistakes.
I thought City could have imposed their way of playing a bit more on Barcelona, but they could not get any meaningful possession anywhere on the field.
Martin Demichelis had to let Lionel Messi have a shot at goal. He should never have made the tackle that saw him sent off. Being one man down was worse than losing a goal to the Spanish side.
The challenge from the Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to be sent off a night later was reckless as Arjen Robben was always going to have to take a touch before he could do anything.
It is not the first time he has come out like that. Arsenal played well for the first 25 minutes, but both ties are over.
The Premier League is played at a 100 miles an hour. It is perhaps more entertaining but is reckless, and when you play football like that you almost force people to make mistakes.
Spanish and German football are more measured leagues. It benefits their sides in Europe. That is just the way it is.
- Sports & Recreation
- Bayern Munich
- Premier League
- Manchester City
- Mesut Ozil