With the quality players they have Chelsea had a good chance of beating United in a straight fight, but the players went out on the pitch prepped not to lose, rather than to try and win - the fact that they did get the three points was more a happy coincidence than anything else.
Arsenal are like that talented kid at school - the one who who has so much to offer, but is a little scared of the spotlight. He prefers to just fade into the background and while he might be a little proud of what he's done, he doesn't like the attention on him. Nor the pressure.
The root of the problem is attitude. Steven Gerrard told the Guardian that Chelsea's reaction was merely "normal". He said: "It's normal at that level. Players want to win so much, managers want to win so much, and they'll try every trick in the book." Is that not the most worrying aspect of all?
It seems to be that English sides are suffering from a lack of identity. The Premier League does not create, it imports. Until English sides start producing talent instead of hoovering it up, the poor European results will continue.
They certainly haven't lost the fight they showed in the first three months of the campaign, except for two of what can only be described as humiliating results against West Brom in the FA Cup and Crystal Palace. So, what's gone wrong?
The end is nigh for Manuel Pellegrini. But for the current Manchester City boss, if the men above are to pull the proverbial trigger on his Etihad reign this summer, he'll have only himself to blame.
The players are exhibiting a freedom and style to their play which had been alarmingly truant during the ill-fated spell of Gerardo Martino. Much to City's angst and trepidation, Barcelona have rediscovered that way of winning which makes racking off five or six goals on an afternoon's work curiously insouciant.
Manchester United have been far easier on the eyes this season, but they currently sit on 37 points after 21 games, exactly the same as this time last season when David Moyes was in charge. Just let that sink in for a moment.
Barca are the bookies' favourites for the tie by some margin, but they may have it wrong. City have had their slump, this is the resurgence. Is it time for them to finally explode onto the European stage? Don't bet against it.
This season Roberto Martinez's team have found it hard to replicate the kind of form that took them to the brink of breaking into the notoriously exclusive top four for just the second time. Despite an indifferent start, however, the Toffees have improved of late and the tightness of the league table so far means that a similar challenge could be on the cards in 2014/15.
It is fair to say with Xavi's decline Modric is now ahead of him in the pecking order, and he, Kroos, Cesc Fàbregas and Andrea Pirlo are now arguably the best technical central midfielders on the planet at present, and some might even say that Modric is, or could soon be, leading the pack.
Liverpool haven't been handed the easiest return with a group featuring last season's champions Real Madrid, Swiss Super League winners FC Basel and new boys Ludogorets. It's a group they can realistically get out of though and will hope the fear factor of their historic European standing will unnerve the latter of those two, especially for home matches.
The first international break of the season is always the hardest to take - we've just had our first taster of club football only to be faced with a 2 week break. There was however some exquisite talent on show and some highly entertaining games. This week I take a look at which of this years Champions League stars were at centre stage during the international games...
On Monday night the transfer window battened down its hatches once again. Summer is over and it's time for football transfers to go in to hibernation until New Years Day 2015. Some Champions League clubs will be delighted with their summer dealings - others... not so much.
It's back - the greatest club competition on the planet and the 2014/15 season promises to be one of the most exciting yet... the draw for the group stages has just taken place and the excitement surrounding how the English clubs will fare this season is paramount. Let's take a look at who they'll be up against...
Naismith is Everton's highest rated player having scored in each of their opening league games against Leicester and Arsenal... His performance in Everton's 3-1 win over Fulham was lauded as one of the best substitute appearances in the league last season... Do you consider Steven Naismith to be Everton's unsung hero?