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The Premier League form book torn up, possibly the best team in the World – ever! Big teams going through sticky patches and a greedy footballer all feature in this week’s the good, the bad and the ugly section of the podcast. Vocabulary support can be found for the words in bold at the foot of the post.
What has happened to the Premier League? Chelsea and Manchester United are still everyone’s favourites to battle it out for the title come May but they are both stuttering big time. Man Utd have lost two games out of three, includinga 3-0 loss at Fulham, while Chelsea have only won once since demolishing Arsenal 5 games ago. Arsenal in turn have hit form and are now playing with confidence again and with a game in hand they are threatening the leaders. Just behind them are Aston Villa who have just won three games on the trot to put them into fourth place within striking distance, and even Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool cannot be ruled out. Exciting times in the Premier League.
A special week for La Liga side Barcelona as they are acclaimed as the best team in the world after their 2-1 extra-time victory over Argentinian side Estudiantes last week. After Pedro had equalised in the last minutes of normal time, Leo Messi scored the winning goal and then yesterday he picked up the FIFA World Player of the Year award. Best team of the year? Without a doubt, best team ever? Well, they won every trophy that they entered – 6 in all – which when we see clubs fielding weakened sides in lesser competitions shows not only skill and determination but a desire to win and a strength in depth like no other team in the world. They lead the Spanish League at the half-way mark and are still one of the favourites to win the Champions League – how they would love to win it in Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium in May. Fantastic stuff from Barcelona – team of the year.
It has been a bad couple of months for Juventus as their good start to the Serie A campaign has all but been forgotten. Two weeks ago they crashed out of the Champions League after being thrashed by Bayern Munich 1-4 at home and now another home defeat – this time against the bottom club Catania meant that there is pressure on the players by the fans and on the manager Ferrara from everyone. Troubled times indeed for the ‘Old Lady’ of Italian football.
Liverpool’s manager Rafa Benitez seems to have lost the plot after a dismal performance by his side Liverpool against bottom of the table Portsmouth last weekend. In response to questions about the referee’s game he simply answered that he had been ‘perfect’ over and over again – bitter sarcasm from the Spaniard. The Reds had Javier Mascherano sent off and he could miss up to four matches as this was his second red card of the season. Things are not going well at all for the Red half of Merseyside. But at least Benitez still has a job, for now. Not so Mark Hughes of Manchester City who was sacked after the whistle sounded in the game against Sunderland, which his side won 4-3. While there’s nothing wrong or strange about teams lining up replacements before they get rid of a manager, Mancehster City’s board managed to make the sacking appear sneaky and unfair. Pretty bad.
Poor John Terry. First his mum’s in the news for shoplifting, then his dad for selling drugs, but now he’s the one making news for the wrong reasons. The Cheslea defender was set up in a sting by the newspaper the News of the Wolrd. Terry is alleged to have taken 10,000 pounds in cash to give the reporters, acting as businessmen, a guided tour of the Chelsea ground. John Terry insists the money was for charity and he took none, but the episode is highly embarrassing for the England and Chelsea captain. Hardly squeaky clean.
stutter: stumble, falter, hit bad form
hit form: start winning games, start playing well
a game in hand: have an extra game to play compared to your rivals
on the trot: in a row, one after the other, in succession
be ruled out: dismiss, ignore, exclude, don’t consider
be acclaimed as: be celebrated as, be announced as, be thought of as
crash out of: lose and fail in a competition
lose the plot: lose control, have no idea, be confused
sneaky: secretive, unfair, cheating