LONDON, England (CNN) -- Sometimes less is more and this maxim might well have been coined for the UEFA Champions League.
Barcelona's vast Camp Nou was a fifth full for the home side's defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.
Last week's final round of group matches had so little riding on them, they might as well have doubled as testimonials for old timers such as Raul and Alessandro del Piero, who are still proving their class into their 30s.
Of the 16 games that took place, only group A's games -- Chelsea v Cluj and Roma v Bordeaux -- impacted upon qualification for the last 16 of the tournament.
Other matches might have decided who finished top or second in the group, but managers were more inclined to rest their star names than chase an easier route through to the quarter-finals. Read more football at Football Fanzone.
Injuries may have played a part in Arsene Wenger's team selection for Arsenal's trip to Porto, but there's little doubt that the side the Frenchman chose would have been different if his side had to win to get through.
Arsenal's desire to narrow their eight-point deficit to English Premier League leaders Liverpool was more important than guaranteeing a last-16 tie with a team finishing second in another group and playing the second leg at home.
Barcelona, already through, fielded a virtually unrecognizable side and were duly beaten by Shakhtar Donetsk at a one-fifth-full Camp Nou.
With El Clasico against Real Madrid following at the weekend, Barca boss Pep Guardiola's line-up was understandable -- but since when was European football's top competition the place where players get rested?
Meaningless matches were meant to be a thing of the past when the second group stage was scrapped in 2003-04.
But UEFA president Michel Platini's proposals to reduce the number of 'big' teams in the competition means more teams from Europe's backwaters will be involved.
The group stage is already a huge mismatch and, by and large, the 16 teams you would expect to go through did. Predictable and boring is anything but a winning combination.
It's hard to make the case that by including more minnows the number of games with nothing riding on them will fall. The big teams will surely romp to qualification even quicker.
Greed ensures the Champions League will never revert back to its uncomplicated pre-1991 format, where only the champions of each country vied for the European Cup in a series of two-legged ties.
But there's something to be said for that level of purity, where every match matters and fringe players figure only in an emergency.
Sometimes less really is more. Or do you disagree?
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