The Champions League and Europa League group stages have kicked off, club football is in full swing in Europe, while in Asia the Asian Champions League reaches the semi-final stage. We look at stories from those competitions on this week’s podcast, bring you some English for football phrases and take a look at some of the big games from the 2017-18 Premier League – including Chelsea versus Arsenal. For those who wish to practise their English, there is a transcript below to help with reading and listening (Damian = DF, Damon = DB).
Learn English Through Football Podcast: 2017-18 Blues v Gunners
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Transcript of the show
DB: You are listening to Languagecaster’s football-language podcast. Hello everyone. My name is Damon and I’m talking to you from Tokyo as typhoon number 18 makes it’s way up the Japanese island chain – grey and rainy at the moment but not too windy in Tokyo. Damian, how are you and how’s the weather in London?
DF: I’m good Damon. Hope the typhoon doesn’t hit and everyone there is safe. London is a bit grey with some sun around with no typhoons!
Apologies to our listeners for not being on the show over the past two weeks – first I was in Paris and then last week in Ireland. I have been watching lots of football though, I was in Dublin last week to see Ireland unfortunately lose 0-1 to Serbia in their World Cup qualifier and then earlier this week I was back at Wembley to watch Spurs beat Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in the first of their Champions League group matches. A thrilling encounter beween two top sides.
DB: Sounds good. OK, what’s on the show today?
DF: Well Damon, we are going to start with news stories from the football world last week in the good, the bad, and the ugly. And we’ve got stories from the Champions Leagues in both Europe and Asia, then we have a few football phrases to explain, including to bully the opposition. I believe you’ve got a quiz question for us, and then we’ll finish with our weekly predictions.
DB: Yes, and we’ll be looking at three games from the Premier League: Chelsea v Arsenal, Manchester United against Everton, and Watford v Manchester City.
You are listening to languagecaster.com – in Italian
DB: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster.com and that was in Italian! Now what was good in the world of football last week Damian?
DF: Well, I have already mentioned Tottenham’s victory over Dortmund which was good for many reasons, while it was also a good week for the Asian Champions League as first Urawa Reds in Japan overcame rivals Kawasaki Frontale over two legs in the Asian Champions League quarter-final. Reds were 3-1 down from the first leg but managed to turn the game around at home by winning 4-1 to get through on an aggregate score of 5-4. There they will face Chinese side Shanghai SIPG who though completely overrun by Guangzhou Evergrande 5-1 in the second leg went through on penalties after Hulk scored a late equaliser in extra time. Some great matches in the Asian Champions League. How about bad Damon?
DB: Very bad for the two Liverpool teams both in Europe and the league. Everton started the season full of hope after a host of signings but went down to a 3-0 defeat to Tottenham in the league at home and then another 3-0 defeat in the Europa League away at Atalanta. The pressure builds on manager Koeman. Also bad for Liverpool who were put to the sword by Manchester City in the league, losing 5-0. Their star player, Sadio Mané, was also sent off for a dangerous attempt to win the ball, and he will miss the next three league games. In the Champions League the Reds threw away a great position to start with a home win. They were dominant in the first half, but missed a penalty and several other chances, and sure enough they paid for those misses as Sevilla came back to tie the game 2-2. Oh yes, and then Liverpool had another player, Joe Gomez, sent off in the last minute. Bad on Merseyside. What about ugly?
DF: Staying with the Champions League where Russian side Spartak Moscow travelled to Slovenia to face Maribor in the same group as Liverpool and Sevilla. There was some trouble between fans before the game kicked off and then inside the stadium a flare was fired from the Moscow supporters’ end and this almost hit the referee. UEFA, the organising body of European football, have charged the Moscow club but ugly stuff on Wednesday.
DB: Pretty ugly indeed. Now to our weekly quiz question. This weekend sees Chelsea taking on Arsenal and there have been many famous players that have played for both clubs. We want to know which player out of this list did not play for both teams: Nicolas Anelka, William Gallas, Freddie Ljungberg, Petr Čech and Ashley Cole. So which of those players has not played for both Arsenal and Chelsea?
DF: OK, I think I know the answer to that question and of course we will have the answer at the end of the show.
Right, we’d just like to remind people to get in touch with us and spread the word if you like our show and our site. It is always great to hear from our listeners and you can, of course, email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow us on all the usual places, that’s twitter, Facebook, and Instagram(I’ve posted some photos from Wembley and from Dublin and we’d like to say hi and thank you to Wang who pointed out that our report on the language of relegation was not complete. Well, we re-recorded that and it’s now fully available for all our listeners. So thanks a lot to Wang. We also had a question from Fritz Zimbo asking about the origin of the nickname of the Indomitable Lions and we saw that it may have come from a former Cameroon leader, while Sand4ra kiss on Twitter asked us about the phrase ‘driven shot‘ which is one that is hit very hard indeed – there is a suggestion that the ball stays fairly close to the ground as well – a driven shot. Now, as I said earlier, if you have any other questions then come along to our website, our forum or drop us a line or send us a tweet or a message on Facebook.
DB: Right, next it’s Damian with some English for football.
Football Language: To Bully an Opponent
DF: Thank you Damon. I’m going to explain the phrase to bully an opponent. When someone bullies someone else it means that they treat others – usually smaller or weaker – in a bad way. The phrase in football does not have such a negative meaning and is used when one player physically dominates another in a match, so for example, a forward easily pushes aside the defender when challenging for a ball. You might sometimes hear people say that a player ‘bullied the defence’ which means that he or she was much stronger than the defence. Here is an example taken from the Telegraph newspaper from August of this year: ‘(Watford Employ[ed] the muscular Italian Stefano Okaka to bully the visitors’ centre backs…’ (Jim White in the Telegraph online, 13th August, 2017).
Football Language: To Bury the Ball in the Back of the Net
DF: Our second phrase we have this week is to bury the ball in the back of the net. We have lots of different ways of describing goals in football and when a player really strikes the ball hard and gives the keeper no chance we can say that the player has buried the ball in the back of the net – he or she has scored with a really hard shot. Of course, the verb ‘to bury‘ means to put something in the ground and so in football the suggestion is that if a player buries the ball in the back of the net, the ball is not coming back; it is an emphatic goal and the keeper and defence can do nothing about it. Sometimes we might hear the shortened form ‘she buried it’ meaning that the ball was emphatically struck into the goal or net. Here is an example describing a goal by Seattle Reign FC from thebold.net: ‘Nairn buried the ball in the far corner of the net for her first goal with Reign FC since her 2013 rookie season.’ (TheBold: Seattle Reign FC, May 2017).
DF: OK, next up it’s predictions. Let’s take a look at the leader board. Johnny Magicboots leads with 25 points ahead of Alexrr on 23 and then I’m on 22 and we have HP Sauce next and then Damon is in 5th place with 17. Come along to the site, find the predictions tab and join us in our weekly predictions. Remember it’s 3 points for a perfect score and 1 point for the right result.
Now, this week we have three big games from the Premier League including Watford against City, Chelsea and Arsenal and Manchester United hosting Everton.
Predictions: Watford v Manchester City
DB: Now, on paper this looks like an easy win for Man City – they played brilliantly against Liverpool and in Europe against Feyenoord. But Watford have been stubborn opposition, so I don’t think it will as easy as City think. A 2-1 win for City. You?
DF: I think Watford will indeed put up a god performance but City are in a confident mood at the moment and should run out easy winners – maybe 3-0.
Chelsea v Arsenal
DB: The big London derby this weekend and it could be a defining game for Arsenal. They’ve already lost heavily to a top four rival, in Liverpool, and if they can’t show any fight again against Chelsea it could really become a problem for them. I’m going to go for a 1-1 draw, as I’m still not completely convinced Chelsea have found their groove yet. Damian?
DF: I disagree as I think Chelsea are already up and running this season. 2-0 to the Blues for me but in all honesty I want neither of these sides to win!
Manchester United v Everton
DB: Well, we’ve already mentioned what a rotten run of form Everton are on and an away fixture at Old Trafford is not something that will change that. I think this will be a 2-0 home win and United will heap more misery on The Toffees! Do you agree?
DF: Everton have been bad in the past two weeks or so and their lack of pace and confidence means I think that United will win this one… 2-1 for me.
Quiz question answer
DB: Just before we go, here’s the answer to the quiz question. We wanted to know which of the following players has not played for both Arsenal and Chelsea: Nicolas Anelka, William Gallas, Freddie Ljungberg, Petr Čech and Ashley Cole. And the answer is Freddie Ljungberg.
DF: Yes, I knew that one actually.
DB: OK, thanks everybody for listening. Enjoy all of the football, ta-ra!
DF: See you next week when we will be looking at a big London derby between West Ham and Spurs.