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Premier League Stars Ozil, Hazard and Co. Found Wanting in the Champions League

Stan Collymore@@StanCollymoreFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2014

AP Images

If we thought the aggressive recent spending of the Premier League's top clubs was going to make English teams the dominant force in Europe this season, maybe we need to think again based on this week's Champions League results.

It's the very early days, but the performances of Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool all left an awful lot to be desired. In particular, their big-money signings—especially the attack-minded ones—failed to turn up.

Questions abound, and I'm going to address things club to club to see if we can find some answers.


Arsenal

Mesut Ozil was supposed to make the difference for Arsenal, but he was booked and got substituted against Borussia Dortmund in a 2-0 loss. He's ended up being a liability for them.

Real Madrid aren't daft. They let Ozil go for a reason, and he's now not worth his place in the Arsenal starting XI. Yet Arsene Wenger continues to pick him, as you feel obliged to whenever you spend that kind of money on a player.

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Chelsea

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Eden Hazard has compared himself to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the past, per L'Equipe (via the Daily Mail), but he was nowhere near that level against Schalke.

A home game like that was tailor-made for Hazard to take control. We should have seen him dominate and prove the difference, but it didn't happen.

As for Diego Costa, I know Jose Mourinho is worried about his hamstring, according to BBC Sport, but I have no doubts Costa could have gotten through that game on Wednesday. He's a striker on fire—he would have been fine.

Manchester City

They're all Premier League match-winners, but are Samir Nasri, David Silva or Jesus Navas going to win you a Champions League semi-final? I haven't seen the evidence yet, and all three need to do more on the biggest stage.

Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

My worry is that these big-money Premier League signings are not putting in 9/10 performances for their club in Europe.

Yaya Toure is another one to worry about. He demolishes teams in the Premier League, but where's the Toure we know in the Champions League? He's not turned up, either.

Liverpool

We can't be as critical at Liverpool because they're early in their Champions League evolution and haven't spent the kind of money we've seen Chelsea and City lay out.

That said, I thought Mario Balotelli was anonymous against Ludogorets until he got his goal.

La Liga vs. Premier League in Europe

When Real Madrid buy their Galaticos, they sign players who can deliver in Europe as well as domestically. Gareth Bale is the perfect example. Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are just a couple of those who came before.

Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press

Barcelona do business with Europe in mind also. Luis Suarez is the ideal type of striker to thrive in the Champions League. He works hard, is extremely adaptable and never delivers less than 100 per cent.

The top Premier League clubs are perhaps guilty of focusing too much on what their new transfers can provide domestically. They are not thinking about the bigger picture in terms of Europe.

It's worrying because although the top teams in England are spending the same huge sums as Real Madrid and Barcelona, we're not getting the performances in the Champions League from our marquee arrivals.

That's why La Liga is still ahead of the Premier League.

Former Liverpool and England striker Stan Collymore is in his second season as a Bleacher Report contributor.

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