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  1. And so on to what UEFA calls Matchday 3 in the Champions League - the first of a double-header against a team we never seem to beat. Even when we play well, we lose. It doesn't matter if it's a European tie or a pre-season friendly, we just never seem to get the better of the other big side from the Spanish capital. That has to change. So: Spark. Overloads. Intensity. Lucidity. Energy. Drive. Moxie. Affrontery. Tactical awareness. Tenacity. Resolve. Effervescence. Speed. Skill. I don't ask for much. Our last trip to the Metropolitano saw us put in a dreadful performance, losing 1-0 in the first leg of the round of 16 two seasons ago. Saul Niguez scored the only gal early after we made a hash of defending a corner. Our first ever meeting against the 'Colchoneros' was in the Champions League group stage of 2008/09, in late October 2008. We travelled to the Vicente Calderon stadium having made an unbeaten start both domesically and in Europe, and for the first hour or so, the Spanish side simply could not get going. They had an attacking threat with the trio of Forlan, Aguero and Simao, but it was Liverpool having the better of the game. Robbie Keane raced through the middle of a relatively high defensive line in the first half to open the scoring after a pinpoint through-ball. The last half an hour saw Atletico get a foothold, and they got an equaliser late on through Simao, and that's how it finished. We needed to be more ruthless, even though we were without Atletico old boy El Nino - then arguably the world's best centre forward. In late October 2008, High School Musical 3: Senior Year was top at the box office. These are films I've never watched, but I imagine it's similar fare to the TV show Glee which I've also never watched. Musical numbers set around bog-standard American high school tropes. Jock, nerds, prom queens, the usual shit. It does have the lovely Vanessa Hudgens in it though, so there's that. We definitely need to reverse the recent trend of our visits to Spain. We've fared pretty badly when facing Spanish opposition away from home over the past decade. We had an excellent first half against Sevilla on their own match but got it badly wrong in the second. We conceded a last-minute winner at Villarreal. There were the two dogshit displays against Real Madrid in 2014 and last season. Atletico seem to get goals any time we have any sort of defensive lapse, and they are often helped out by refereeing that allows them to ramp up the shithousery when they feel things might be slipping away from their control. It's like facing the footballing equivalent of Novak Djokovic. Just reverse the trend, get the 3 points and put ourselves in a great position with one foot in the knockout stage.
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