On this week’s main listening report we take a look at the run in the Premier League – who will win it, who will miss out on Champions League football, and which teams are going down. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report.
Thirteen games remain in the Premier League and it now looks as if it is a two-horse race between Manchester City and rivals and holders Manchester United for the title. City, currently on 60 points, lead by two points, and despite a wobble against Everton a couple of weeks ago, they are looking good after romping home in the Europa League against Porto. They will also be strengthened by the return of the out-of-favour Carlos Tevez, who has apologized to the club for his behavior way back in the Champions League tie against Bayern Munich in September. United in second will have savored their 2-1 victory over bitter North-West rivals Liverpool last week and, like City, they too have got through to the last 16 in the Europa League – despite being given a scare by Ajax. Rooney seems to have picked up some form again too, but doubts remain over their midfield, which has been patched up by the recall of Paul Scholes – who had retired. Neither side has a particularly tough run in, and it might be that the match on the 28th April, when United travel to City, will be a title decider.
In third on 53 points, and still with an outside chance of the title, are Tottenham Hotspur, who have played some great football this season. It all seemed to have clicked after they signed midfielder Scott Parker, who gives them bite in the middle of the park, allowing Modric to pull the strings. They also have a very good chance of some silverware this season in the FA Cup. Third place is definitely theirs and with it the automatic place in the Champions League group stages.
The battle for 4th place and the Champions League playoff spot is a fascinating one. At the beginning of the season, few people would have imagined that Chelsea would be scrapping to stay in the top four, but they are in 5th place on 43 points, the same as another London club Arsenal, who have the fourth place on goal difference. Pressure is mounting on both these teams’ managers – AVB, Andre Villas-Boas, and Arsene Wenger. One point behind are surprise package, Newcastle, who have been there or there abouts all season. It will be interesting to see how they respond to being thumped 5-0 by Tottenham in their last outing. In seventh, and with 39 points are Liverpool, who look as though they will miss out on a Champions League place for the third year in a row. They still have a chance, but maybe they will have to settle for two successful cup runs, they play in the League Cup final this weekend are in the quarter finals of the FA Cup too. So, who is going to win it? I am going for Manchester City first, United second, Tottenham third and Chelsea to finish in the top four.
What about at the foot of the table? Which teams are struggling and in danger of the drop? It looks as though only a miracle can save Wigan, stuck in last place for large parts of the season and with only 19 points. Above them are four teams that are seriously threatened with relegation – Bolton on 20 points and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and newly-promoted QPR all on 21. It could be bad for football fans in the North West of England if Wigan, Bolton and Blackburn go down, but I’ve got a feeling Blackburn will scrape through and Wolves will be relegated with Wigan and Bolton.
a two-horse race: a competition between two teams, only these two teams are likely to win
a wobble: a dip in form; a lost match after a lot of wins
out-of-favour: not popular; a player that is not chosen for the team
be given a scare: be nearly defeated; when a team surprises and nearly beats the stronger team
patched up: repaired; temporarily strengthened
run in: the games at the end of a season
clicked: worked well; started to play well
bite: strong tackling; aggression
pull the strings: control play; distribute passes
scrap: fight (desperately)
surprise package: unfancied team; not a favourite
there or there abouts: close to the top
thumped: beaten heavily; lose by a lot of goals
the drop: relegation
scrape through: just survive; avoid relegation by one or two points only