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On this week’s main listening report we look ahead to this weekend’s FA Cup semi-finals which sees both games involving two local rivals. Damian and Damon’s teams are also involved to add to the spice of the occasion! You can listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report. There is also a worksheet (see right) for learners who wish to improve their English.
Everton vs Liverpool
So Everton meet derby rivals Liverpool in the first semi-final of the FA Cup this weekend. Everton, the oldest of the two clubs, also won the FA Cup before their bigger neighbours way back in 1906. Since then, they have won it four more times, most recently with a 1-0 win over Manchester United in 1995 thanks to a goal by Paul Rideout. Since then, the trophy room has not been added to, although they did come close in 2009 but were beaten at the final hurdle by Chelsea in the final. Five wins is nothing to be sniffed at, but Liverpool have seven. Interestingly they have won an FA Cup at least once in every decade since the 1960s. Could that be an omen? Their last victory in 2006 is up there with one of the most dramatic of all FA Cup finals. Liverpool needed an injury-time equaliser, a pile driver by Gerrard, to force extra time and penalties against West Ham. Liverpool have also beaten Everton twice in FA Cup finals: in 1986 and most famously in 1989. The last win was five weeks after the Hillsborough disaster in which 96 Liverpool, fans died in a stadium crush.
The Road to the Semis
Both teams will believe they deserve their place in the semis. Everton have beaten two Premier League sides on the way – Fulham and Sunderland – and also had a potential banana skin when they faced Blackpool in the fifth round. Liverpool also beat Premier League opposition in Manchester United in the fourth round and Stoke in the sixth. The Reds scored 15 goals and conceded 4 on their way to the semis, while Everton netted nine times and let in 4. They did need a replay to overcome Sunderland, but both teams have looked good so far in the competition.
Let’s look at the form of the teams. In the last 10 games in all competitions, Everton have won 5, drawn 3 and lost 2, while Liverpool have won just twice and lost six. They’ve been beaten by teams in the relegation zone, such as QPR and Wigan as well as to their bitter rivals Manchester United. Everton, on the other hand, have put a great run of form together, and they have just hammered Sunderland 4-0. But head-to-head Liverpool have the advantage. In the last five meetings, the Reds have won 3 and Everton just 1. Liverpool have also done the double over the Blues this season. The game is a day before the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster and is bound to be an emotional affair.
So Everton have the best league form, but Liverpool edge it on history and head to head, but as everyone knows, the form book goes out of the window in derbies!
Chelsea vs Tottenham
The second semi-final features another local derby, this time a London rivalry involving West London side Chelsea and North London’s Tottenham. This will be the 146th time the two sides will have met and they have played each other in the FA Cup on seven previous occasions. Chelsea won 2-1 the last time they met in the Cup in 2007, though Spurs have managed to defeat their rivals in the final way back in 1967. Tottenham have a proud Cup tradition having won the trophy on nine occasions though they have not won it since 1991. Chelsea have succeeded in landing the trophy six times and indeed have won it three times in the past four years.
The Road to the Semis
Spurs have had a relatively easy run to the semi-final having beaten Championship side Watford in Round Three, Division Two team Stevenage – after a replay – in Round Four and Premier League strugglers Bolton in Round Five. Chelsea thrashed Championship side Portsmouth 4-0 in Round Three, overcame West London rivals QPR 1-0 away in Round Four before downing Championship side Birmingham after a replay in the last round.
Neither side is currently firing on all cylinders but Chelsea are at least winning games – something that Spurs seem to have forgotten how to do. The two teams played out a dull 0-0 game a couple of weeks ago and with so much at stake who is to say there will not be a repeat. One thing in Tottenham’s favour is the fact that Chelsea are playing Barcelona in the Champions League three days after the semi-final so they may not have their eye fully on the ball. Hopefully a Tottenham win but it will be close.
way back in 1906: A long time before
the final hurdle: The final
nothing to be sniffed at: A pretty good effort
an omen: A sign
pile driver: A really hard shot
potential banana skin: A real possibility of losing against a smaller team
head-to-head: Against each other
let in: Conceded
done the double over: To beat the team twice in a season
relatively easy run: They had fairly easy matches
strugglers: A team not doing very well
thrashed: Beaten heavily
overcame: Defeated, beat
firing on all cylinders: Working or playing well
landing the trophy: Winning the Cup