Hard: A game in hand
Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time. We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.
This episode is hard so we’re looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms.
Learn more football vocabulary with Premier Skills English. Each lesson in our Premier Vocabulary section looks at one football word or phrase. This lesson looks at the phrase a game in hand.
You can find more lessons on the side of this page.
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich and welcome to Premier Skills English - Premier Vocabulary.
Jack: Hi there! I’m Jack. We’re here to help you with your football English.
Rich: Remember you can find transcripts for all of our podcasts on the Premier Skills English website.
Jack: Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time.
Rich: We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.
Jack: This episode is hard so we’re looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms. These phrases can be used to talk about football but are often useful when talking about other topics.
Rich: The phrase we are looking at in this episode is: a game in hand.
Jack: A game in hand. We use this phrase when a team has played one match fewer than another team or other teams.
Rich: A game in hand is usually seen as an advantage for the team that has played fewer matches because they have a chance to win more points and go above other teams in the league table.
Jack: For example, we might say City are two points behind Liverpool but they have a game in hand so could go above them if they win their game in hand.
Rich: Near the end of the season, a team might have two or three games in hand on other teams.
Jack: Yes, this often happens because league matches have been postponed earlier in the season. This is sometimes because of bad weather but more often because teams are doing well in cup competitions.
Rich: So top teams often have to play lots of matches in a short space of the time near the end of a season.
Jack: We’ve just said that it is an advantage to have games in hand but some people will say that it’s better to have points on the board than games in hand.
Rich: This means it’s better to have played and collected the points than what might or might not happen in future matches.
Jack: I think it depends if you are a team near the top or the bottom of the league table.
Rich: Why’s that?
Jack: If you are in second place and are two points behind first place with a game in hand, you’d probably prefer the game in hand.
Rich: Because you’re near the top and usually win so there’s a good chance you will your game in hand.
Jack: Exactly. But, if you’re near the bottom and you have a game in hand on the team in front of you ...
Rich: Yes, I understand. You haven’t been playing well so it’s less likely you will your game in hand so it’s probably better to have the points on the board already.
Jack: I think that’s probably right generally but at least a team always has a chance if it has a game in hand on the team in front of them.
Rich: Have you noticed we use the preposition on when we talk about the other team. One team has a game in hand on another.
Jack: I’m looking at the Premier League table now. Here are a couple of examples:
Jack: Aston Villa have a game in hand on all the teams above them. They could go to the top of the table if they win their game in hand.
Jack: There is the final whistle!
Rich: We’ll be back soon with more Premier Vocabulary from Premier Skills English.
Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football.
Is it better to have games in hand or points on the board?