Football Language Podcast: June 2020 – Premier League set to restart: On this week’s football-language podcast we take a look at some of the news from the football world. We also visit our archives and pick a phrase from this time 5 years ago. There’s a football language quiz question and some predictions too, and Damian and Damon give their thoughts on the Premier League’s decision to restart the football season. Listen to the podcast by clicking on the file below – you can also subscribe and listen to all our football-language podcasts – there are hundreds of them dating from way back in 2006! You can improve your English by reading the transcript as you listen, or if you are a teacher of English you can use the transcript to make several listening and/or reading activities for your learners. We have also created a listening gap fill exercise based on a section of this podcast here. If you have questions or comments, email us at: email@example.com (Damon=DB; Damian=DF).
Football Language Podcast: June 2020 – Premier League set to restart
DB: You are listening to languagecaster.com. Hello everyone and welcome. You’ve reached languagecaster.com, the podcast and website for football fans wishing to improve their English. Good to have you with us. My name’s Damon, and as regular listeners know I’m based in Tokyo, which is baking under the sun this weekend. Down the line in London is Damian. Damian, how are things over there?
DF: Hello Damon and hello to all our listeners. We hope all is well with you wherever you may be listening to the podcast. The weather here in London is a mixture of wind, rain and some sunshine – a typical London ‘summer’s’ day! There is, however, a bit of sunlight in store for Premier League football fans with the news that matches will restart on the 17th of June.
DB: Yes, that’s right. We’ll talk a little more about that later. We’ve also got a few stories from the world of football, our focus on the language of the game, some predictions, and a quiz question, too – this week it is connected with passing.
You are listening to languagecaster.com (in Mandarin)
DF: Yes, you are listening to languagecaster.com and that message was in Mandarin. Remember that you can send on a message in your own language to us here at firstname.lastname@example.org – we have almost 50 messages in different languages but would love to hear more.
OK, let’s start the show with some football news. What was good for you in the news this week Damon?
DB: OK, I’m going to mention Chelsea winning the title in the Women’s Super League. The league was cut short due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but the Blues won it on points per game. The London team were a point behind Manchester City when the league was stopped, but had a game in hand. They were winning 2.6 points per game. On the other hand, Man City were on a slightly lower points haul of 2.5. So Manchester City’s women’s team will have to settle for second again, after finishing behind Arsenal last year, while Chelsea go on to win their third WSL title, joint top in this competition with Arsenal. Arsenal of course had also won 12 top flight titles before the introduction of the WSL in 2010, so Chelsea have a long way to go to knock them off their perch.
DF: Well done to Chelsea although finishing the season like this has its problems because of two reasons: First, many fans think the league can’t be completed without all teams playing each other home and away and with three teams very much in with a chance of winning the title I thought they should have waited more time before taking the decision. Secondly, I thought the WSL missed a real chance to further push the women’s game in the UK and maybe if the FA was really committed to helping the women’s football then it would have done more to help them play out the season.
DB: All good points. And, Liverpool were relegated! So maybe they should have finished the season!
DF: I don’t think they had much chance, sorry…
DB: In other news, it’s been good to see teams and players in the Bundesliga, and elsewhere of course, showing support for the Black Lives Matter protests, which were sparked by the police murder of George Floyd in the United States last month. Football is such a huge presence in many people’s lives, that players’ actions really can make a difference. The high profile game between Dortmund and Hertha Berlin saw the players ‘take the knee’, kneel down on one knee, copying the famous actions of Colin Kaepernick, an American Football player of colour, who ‘took the knee’ during the American national anthem to protest police brutality in 2016. Let’s hope that football can become a real force for good in the fight against racism.
DF: Yes, there has been a good reaction and we mentioned in our last podcast that the Bundesliga will not take disciplinary action against any protest by players which is good to see. It has been interesting to see how clubs have reacted this week – there has been lots of support for the Black Lives Matter protests which is good of course but when we hear discussions about how to repair systemic racism in our society then football will also have to take a more critical look at itself. For example, there are no top-flight referees from the BAME community currently working in the Premier League (BAME is an acronym which stands for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities). Despite the large representation of BAME players in the game, around a third of Premier League players, there are currently only five managers, out of 91 clubs in English football, who are considered to be from a BAME background. This lack of representation is even worse at administrative and boardroom levels demonstrated by the fact that the FA have set a target ‘to reach 16 per cent BAME employees by 2021‘. Yes, congratulate your club on taking the knee, on wearing a T-shirt or creating a hashtag but also ask them to take a long critical look at how the club is run, what it stands for and most importantly how it acts when racism rears its ugly head.
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DB: Right, time for a bit of football language and a football language quiz question.
Football Language Quiz
DB: OK, this week, we want to know which word completes the following sentence best. The sentence is ‘Kane was ______ into the box by a through ball from Dele Alli.’ And this is connected with passing as we mentioned before.
So, which word best completes this sentence. Is it:
DF: And if you’ve been checking our posts this week you may know the answer to this one. We’ll revisit the question and have the answer at the end of the show. OK, let’s turn to some football language and this phrase is from our archives.
Football Language: To carve open
DF: Specifically this is from five years ago, so that’s June 2015. Damon, I was actually visiting you in Tokyo to celebrate a ‘big’ birthday which was lots of fun and we watched that season’s Champions League final between Barcelona and Juventus – can you remember the score?
DB: It was 3-1 to Barcelona, right?
DF: Yes, that’s right and later on that summer it was the Women’s World Cup, the 2015 Copa America and the Copa Del Rey in Spain had just been played, and that is where our example of the phrase ‘to carve open‘ comes from. Here’s the example: ‘In the 2015 Copa del Rey final Lionel Messi carved open the Bilbao defence with an amazing run’. I remember watching this and I jumped out of my seat – what a goal.
Now, this verb phrase is used in football to describe when an attacker easily breaks through a defence – they open up the defence. The verb to carve means to cut through something like meat for example, so when a player carves open a defence it means that the defence were unable to stop him or her, that the player easily went through the defence. To carve open.
DB: Nice one, and we can also say ‘open up the defence‘ right?
DF: Yes, that’s right, but I think to carve open feels more aggressive, or at least quick! To open up could be some clever one-two passing, but carve open feels much more dynamic. By the way Damon, can you remember who won both the Women’s World Cup and the Copa America in 2015?
DF: Correct! A 5-2 win for the American’s over Japan and a tight 0-0 against Argentina for Chile’s men, who went on to win on penalties.
The Premier League is restarting
DF: OK, now, we had some big news last week with the release of match dates in the Premier League, which is set to start on Wednesday 17th June with Aston Villa hosting Sheffield United and Arsenal versus Manchester City. Damon, what are your thoughts on the restart? Too early or has Germany shown the Premier League it is possible to restart safely.
DB: Well, of course I’d like football to start again, and I’d like Liverpool to wrap up the title, but I can’t help feeling it is a bit too soon. The situation in England with regards to COVID-19 is not as good as it is in Germany. While the latter seems to have the virus under control and has a solid testing infrastructure, England seems a long way behind. To be honest, I think the Premier League should admit that the 2020-21 season will have to start much later and finish later. How about you?
DF: Well, the situation in Germany is certainly well ahead of the one here in the UK but I think the fact that the Bundesliga has been a relative success means that other leagues can learn from them.
And talking of leagues restarting, Austrian, Danish, Greek, and Portuguese football has returned, while Turkish, Italian and Spanish football comes back next week and so let’s look ahead to some games from La Liga (as well as the Bundesliga) in this week’s predictions.
Sevilla – Real Betis (June 11th)
DF: Yes, La Liga is back and it starts with one of the biggest games in the Spanish football calendar: The Seville derby between Sevilla and Betis. What a pity this game could not have supporters in the stadium but it will still be a great watch for fans on TV. Sevilla are currently in third place in La Liga and are 14 points clear of Betis who lie in 12th place. When the teams met earlier this season at the Benito Villamarín, Sevilla won 2-1 to silence the home crowd. Can they do the double over their city rivals? I think yes – maybe 2-0. Damon?
DB: I agree. I was going to say because they are at home, but that may not be such a big factor with no fans. But still, a win for Sevilla.
Bayern Munich vs Borussia Mönchengladbach (June 13th)
DF: OK, we’ve been following the Bundesliga since it returned three weeks ago and they have already played five matches and a Cup semi-final – thanks Bundesliga! Bayern are unstoppable and easily swept Leverkusen aside in their league game this weekend. The should have enough against a Mönchengladbach side that are still fighting for a Champions League spot. An easy home victory for me – maybe 3-1.
DB: Again, I agree. Bayern Munich will be hopeful of chasing down the biggest goal haul in the Bundesliga, which is theirs, which is 101 goals. 3-0.
Mallorca vs Barcelona (June 13th)
DF: Now at the top of La Liga it is, of course, a two-horse race between Madrid and Barcelona who travel to 18th-place Mallorca and with a two point lead over Madrid will need a victory. I think they should get it – maybe 2-1 to Barca.
DB: This is getting boring. I agree, but a more comfortable 2-0 win for Barca.
Football Language Quiz Answer
DB: OK, before we go, let’s get the answer to the football quiz question. We wanted to know which word completes the following sentence best. The sentence is ‘Kane was ______ into the box by a through ball from Deli Alli.’ Was it:
DF: Well, the answer is number 1, released, so released into the box, played into space. We could say played into the box too. ‘Kane was released into the box by a through ball from Deli Alli’. I hope we hear that phrase again very soon!
DB: And that brings us to the end of the show. Remember that you can contact us here at languagecaster through our various social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Come along to our forums, ask a question or just say hello at email@example.com. Take care everyone – stay safe and we’ll see you soon. Ta-ra.