On this week’s review section we look at a really good weekend for North London club, Arsenal, a terrible decision by officials in a crunch game, and a petty complaint by Porto. You can listen to these and other stories on our weekly podcast and can find explanations of key vocabulary in bold below.
Last week. Arsenal were in our bad section after being hammered by AC Milan in the Champions League and being knocked out of the FA Cup. Pressure was mounting on their coach, Wenger, and last weekend was a potential season-defining game against north London rivals, Spurs. Lose this, Pundits said, and Arsenal may well be looking for a new manager or at the very least Arsenal’s season could implode. After 20 minutes, the Gunners were 2-0 behind because of some lax defending and a dubious penalty. The crowd was quiet and then started to boo their own players. But despite this start, Arsenal upped the tempo, played a fast passing game and turned around the two goal deficit to win 5-2. The goal of the game came from their talisman, Van Persie, who swiveled on the edge of the box and lashed in a shot that had Tottenham’s goalie, Friedel, well beaten. Perhaps one of the games of the season.
In another crunch game in Europe, leaders of Serie A, AC Milan hosted second place Juventus last weekend. It turned out to be a hard- fought match that was to be overshadowed by some poor refereeing decisions. First, with Milan 1-0 up, they seemed to have doubled their lead when Sulley Muntari headed over the line, but the officials ruled that the ball had not crossed the line. A goal at that point of the game could have sealed it for the home side, but instead Juve came back into the game. However, they also had reason to rue the ref after a goal by Matri was ruled out for offside – replays showed he was on side. The bianconeri did get their equaliser in the 83rd minute leaving both teams unsatisfied and sharing the spoils.
Chanting and singing from the terraces is part of the passion of football, and is integral to the spectacle. However, there are chants that cross a line and clubs can be fined, fans ejected from grounds, and teams made to play in front of empty stands if, for example, fans abuse opposing players with racist chants. In fact, Porto fans are under investigation by UEFA after Manchester City filed a complaint accusing the Portuguese side of racially abusing their black players in a Europa League game. The story doesn’t end there, however, as Porto have retaliated, and threatened to make their own accusation that their player, Givanildo de Souza, known as the Hulk (he resembles the actor who played the Incredible Hulk) was abused by City fans for being ‘not incredible’. They also say City fans accused him of being a cheat. Racism crosses the line but calling someone not incredible or a cheat is going too far.
hammer: beat easily; win by scoring a lot of goals (3 or more)
pressure was mounting: there was more pressure; pressure was building
season-defining game: the most important game of the season; this game decides if a team will do well or poorly
implode: disintegrate; fall apart; be destroyed
lax: poor; lazy
dubious: suspect; not genuine; suspicious
talisman: key player; a player who is central to a team’s success
lashed in: struck with power; shoot strongly
crunch game: very important game; vital match
to rule: to decide
cross a line: go too far; are against the rules; not following etiquette
seal it: score a goal to secure a win; make something definite
file a complaint: make a complaint; submit an accusation
rue the ref: have reason to be disappointed with a referee; to disagree with a referee’s decision
share the spoils: share the points; draw a game