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This Week: On the ball

This Week: On the ball

Welcome to This Week from Premier Skills English, a weekly review of football action for learners of English from across the globe. In This Week, Jack talks about three stories from this week in the Premier League and there are lots of football English words and phrases for you to learn.

Transcript

If the listening was difficult, you can listen and read the transcript at the same time.
Read the transcript and listen at the same time.

Hello my name’s Jack and welcome to the weekly round-up called This Week on Premier Skills English.

In This Week, we’ve got lots of interesting words and phrases to help you talk about football in English.

If you are listening to this podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify you can also visit the Premier Skills English website at britishcouncil.org/premierskillsenglish where you’ll be able to download the podcast.

On the Premier Skills English website, you can read the transcript and join the Premier Skills English community by completing a language task in the comments section. This will really help you remember the new words and phrases from the stories from the Premier League.

As the World Cup final approaches, with the defending champions France taking on Argentina on Sunday, Premier League teams have been in action at home and abroad. Although key players have been absent, on their way home from Qatar, the teams have put on good performances.

In this special season break, friendly podcast, I am going to talk about three teams that have played this week and the language focus will be on idioms with the word ball.

The idioms I am going to talk about are: to get the ball rolling, to be on the ball, to take your eye off the ball, to drop the ball, to pick up the ball and run with it and to play ball. Listen out for these idioms in the headlines and stories.

After each story there will be a short language focus and then there will be a language challenge for you to complete and then at the end of the podcast there will be a new football phrase.

But before that, I want to look at last week’s football phrase. If you didn’t hear it last week, here’s one more chance to guess now.

Last week, I was looking for the phrase ******* ********. This is how a winner is decided in a knockout match if the scores are level after extra time. I particularly like the phrase because it reminds me of cowboys settling their differences at high noon.

Congratulations to Nadeem Al-Murshedi from Yemen, Vietnguyenngo from Vietnam, Hayato from Japan, Amal Khalafallah from Egypt, Hsn from Turkey and Isshin from Japan.

You all managed to work out that the phrase I was looking for was penalty shootout.

Now it’s time to think about some new language, some idioms, six idioms, that all use the word ball.

To get the ball rolling, I’m going to use that idiom ... to get the ball rolling. This basically means to start a process, usually a process that involves more than one person. If you get the ball rolling, you go first to start the activity ... and to persuade other people to take part. So if you are at a party and it’s really boring and nobody is dancing, you might turn the music up and start dancing to get the ball rolling and hope that other people will start dancing once they see you.

Now it’s time for me to get the ball rolling with the first story.

Arsenal Win the Dubai Super Cup

At the mid-season training camp in Dubai, Arsenal took on AC Milan. The Italian side challenged the Gunners throughout the match and looked the more dangerous team at the start. However, when Eddie Nketiah was tripped up just outside the box, Martin Odegaard was ready to step up. Odegaard’s left-footed strike arced over the wall and past Milan’s keeper.

Just before halftime, Reiss Nelson was on the ball when Fabio Viera won the ball and charged into the box and passed to Nelson. Nelson doubled Arsenal’s lead with a calm touch and confident strike. Although the ball did take a slight deflection off Odegaard’s boot, the shot was on target and Nelson was credited with the goal.

An Arsenal defender took his eye off the ball with fifteen minutes left on the clock leaving Fikayo Tomori unmarked in front of goal to head home. However, it was not enough to change the game and Arsenal were the winners when the final whistle was blown.

Final score: Arsenal 2 - AC Milan 1

The two idioms with the word ball that I want to talk about from this story are to be on the ball and to take your eye off the ball.

To be on the ball means to to be alert and concentrating on what you are doing. It can be used to talk about a person in a general way to mean they are intelligent and well informed. If you describe someone you work with as on the ball, for example, you might say: You can rely on Kate. She’s on the ball. That means that you think Kate will be responsive and alert so will understand new information and won’t get distracted and miss anything important. Or you might use it to describe someone’s current attitude. You could tell someone: You’re really on the ball today, if they were quick witted and made positive and constructive comments in a meeting. If a footballer is constantly alert and watching the ball and the movement of players around the pitch so is able to anticipate attacks and intercept passes, they could be described as on the ball.

To take your eye off the ball is related to the previous expression. It means to stop concentrating, to become distracted and not notice when something happens so that you are at a disadvantage. It’s often used to explain mistakes. When I searched for the phrase in news stories online, about half of the results are about sports and the rest are about accidents and problems in big companies. One is about a submarine that crashed into a boat when the submarine commander took his eye off the ball; another is about the head of a large organisation that didn’t react to a major incident and lost lots of money. The company head is described as having taken his eye off the ball.

Let’s move on to the next story.

Liverpool lose to Olympique Lyonnais

Fabio Carvalho gave the Reds an early lead in Dubai when he scored after only 40 seconds. The game looked to be in the bag when soon after Liverpool were awarded a penalty. Unfortunately, Mohamed Salah somehow dropped the ball and failed to put the ball past Antony Lopes. From that moment on, what had looked like a walk in the park became a whole new ball game.

Lyon equalised just before halftime when the former Arsenal forward Lacazette took advantage of a moment of confusion between Caoimhín Kelleher the Liverpool keeper and defender Andrew Robertson and was able to roll the ball into an empty net.

Having equalised, the French side had the momentum and they picked up the ball and ran with it, figuratively speaking. They scored two more goals. Their second came from the boot of a substitute just after the hour mark and then Lacazette hammered in a third, sealing the win.

Final score: Liverpool 1 - Olympique Lyonnais 3

The two idioms with the word ball that I want to talk about from this story are to drop the ball and to pick up the ball and run with it.

If you drop the ball, you make a mistake. It’s very similar in meaning to take your eye off the ball. I suppose the difference is that if you drop the ball you make a mistake whereas if you take your eye off the ball, you fail to prevent a mistake or fail to notice something that causes a problem. I have searched for the idiom in news stories and there are lots of examples of big mistakes described in this way. A government ministry of education is said to have dropped the ball following major problems in universities. In another story, a scientist suggests a panel of experts who were responsible for monitoring chemicals in water dropped the ball when dangerous chemicals were missed.

The idiom to pick up the ball and run with it means to continue a project or idea or initiative that someone else started. It usually implies that someone has taken something much further than expected. So imagine there was a meeting where the director tells everyone that they need to be more environmentally aware in their work and then one of your colleagues organises carbon capture, recycling stations, plastic free packaging, renewable energy sources and plants some trees, you might say: You really picked up the ball and ran with that one.

Let’s move on to the final story.

West Ham travel to Cambridge testimonial

West Ham United travelled to Cambridge to face the EFL League One team Cambridge United in the testimonial match for Greg Taylor who has played for Cambridge for nearly 10 years.

The home side got the ball rolling when they took the lead against the run of play when Zeno Ibsen Rossi, Taylor’s central defensive partner scored the opener. Jarrod Bowen equalised soon after and then a Lewis Simper own-goal gave the Hammers the lead before halftime.

Now, during a testimonial, you might expect the home side to be given some extra space and for the opposition to go easy on them, but that was not on the cards for West Ham. Cambridge United may have wanted an easy match, but West Ham weren’t going to play ball.

Greg Taylor did get a goal from the penalty spot, drawing the scores level, but West Ham kept the pressure on and scored two more to win the match.

Final score: Cambridge United 2 - West Ham United 4

To play ball means to cooperate according to a plan or rules or ideas. This is quite a common idiom that’s used to say that opposing companies or organisations are not going to make each other’s lives easy. So there’s a story in the news from last summer about Chelsea who were interested in buying Ronaldo from United. They said that they were interested, but that United were probably not going to play ball, which means they weren’t going to agree to Chelsea’s plans. I think that this is normally used in negative sentences to say that someone is not going to go along with your plans.

Today, I’ve spoken about 6 idioms with the word ball. The idioms are: to get the ball rolling, to be on the ball, to take your eye off the ball, to drop the ball, to pick up the ball and run with it and to play ball. Listen to the stories again to hear these idioms in context.

Language challenge

Now, it’s time for you to think about the idioms from the stories.

Here are 6 sentences with gaps in them and you have to complete the gaps with the idioms from this podcast.

It’s probably easier to do this if you can read the full sentences, so do take a look at the page for this podcast on Premier Skills English if you find this challenge too difficult.

Number 1. The police are urging the public to be __ ___ ____ and report anything suspicious over the holiday period.

Number 2. I admit, I made a mistake. I really _______ ___ ___ on this occasion, but I will fix it.

Number 3. I want everyone to introduce themselves and say what they do. Why don’t you ___ ___ ____ _______?

Number 4. The startup recognised there was an opportunity to take the idea further and really ______ __ ___ ____ ___ ___ ____ __.

Number 5. The company wanted a tax break to open a new office in the city, but the city council weren’t going to ____ ____.

Number 6. If you work with dangerous animals, you can’t afford to ____ ____ ___ ___ ___ ____, even for a moment.

Leave your answers in the comments section on the Premier Skills English website and I will go through them next week.

Football phrase

Now it’s time for this week’s football phrase.

Today’s phrase is another idiom with the word ball in it. I think that this one comes from tennis and it means that it’s your turn to make a decision, to decide what to do next. The phrase is the ___ __ __ ____ _____. So if you are negotiating with someone, perhaps you are buying a house, and the seller suggests a new price, it is now up to you to either accept the price or make a new offer. The ____ __ __ ____ _____.

If you know the answer, be sure to leave it in a comment on the page for this podcast on Premier Skills English.

That’s all I have time for today. Before I finish, I just wanted to say that I hope you found this podcast useful, and I hope all of you stay fit and healthy and safe.
Bye for now and enjoy your football.

Headlines

Arsenal Win the Dubai Super Cup

Eddie Nketiah of Arsenal takes on Jan Vranckx of AC Milan during the Dubai Super Cup

At the mid-season training camp in Dubai, Arsenal took on AC Milan. The Italian side challenged the Gunners throughout the match and looked the more dangerous team at the start. However, when Eddie Nketiah was tripped up just outside the box, Martin Odegaard was ready to step up. Odegaard’s left-footed strike arced over the wall and past Milan’s keeper.

Just before halftime, Reiss Nelson was on the ball when Fabio Viera won the ball and charged into the box and passed to Nelson. Nelson doubled Arsenal’s lead with a calm touch and confident strike. Although the ball did take a slight deflection off Odegaard’s boot, the shot was on target and Nelson was credited with the goal.

An Arsenal defender took his eye off the ball with fifteen minutes left on the clock leaving Fikayo Tomori unmarked in front of goal to head home. However, it was not enough to change the game and Arsenal were the winners when the final whistle was blown.

Final score: Arsenal 2 - AC Milan 1

Liverpool lose to Olympique Lyonnais

Fabio Carvalho of Liverpool celebrates after scoring the first goal at Al Maktoum Stadium

Fabio Carvalho gave the Reds an early lead in Dubai when he scored after only 40 seconds. The game looked to be in the bag when soon after Liverpool were awarded a penalty. Unfortunately, Mohamed Salah somehow dropped the ball and failed to put the ball past Antony Lopes. From that moment on, what had looked like a walk in the park became a whole new ball game.

Lyon equalised just before halftime when the former Arsenal forward Lacazette took advantage of a moment of confusion between Caoimhín Kelleher the Liverpool keeper and defender Andrew Robertson and was able to roll the ball into an empty net.

Having equalised, the French side had the momentum and they picked up the ball and ran with it, figuratively speaking. They scored two more goals. Their second came from the boot of a substitute just after the hour mark and then Lacazette hammered in a third, sealing the win.

Final score: Liverpool 1 - Olympique Lyonnais 3

West Ham travel to Cambridge testimonial

Jarrod Bowen of West Ham

West Ham United travelled to Cambridge to face the EFL League One team Cambridge United in the testimonial match for Greg Taylor who has played for Cambridge for nearly 10 years.

The home side got the ball rolling when they took the lead against the run of play when Zeno Ibsen Rossi, Taylor’s central defensive partner scored the opener. Jarrod Bowen equalised soon after and then a Lewis Simper own-goal gave the Hammers the lead before halftime.

Now, during a testimonial, you might expect the home side to be given some extra space and for the opposition to go easy on them, but that was not on the cards for West Ham. Cambridge United may have wanted an easy match, but West Ham weren’t going to play ball.

Greg Taylor did get a goal from the penalty spot, drawing the scores level, but West Ham kept the pressure on and scored two more to win the match.

Final score: Cambridge United 2 - West Ham United 4

Vocabulary

Task

Complete the gaps with the words and phrases from the podcast.

Number 1. The police are urging the public to be __ ___ ____ and report anything suspicious over the holiday period.

Number 2. I admit, I made a mistake. I really _______ ___ ___ on this occasion, but I will fix it.

Number 3. I want everyone to introduce themselves and say what they do. Why don’t you ___ ___ ____ _______?

Number 4. The startup recognised there was an opportunity to take the idea further and really ______ __ ___ ____ ___ ___ ____ __.

Number 5. The company wanted a tax break to open a new office in the city, but the city council weren’t going to ____ ____.

Number 6. If you work with dangerous animals, you can’t afford to ____ ____ ___ ___ ___ ____, even for a moment.

Leave your answers in the comments section on the Premier Skills English website and I will go through them next week.

Football Phrase

Now it’s time for this week’s football phrase.

Today’s phrase is another idiom with the word ball in it. I think that this one comes from tennis and it means that it’s your turn to make a decision, to decide what to do next. The phrase is the ___ __ __ ____ _____. So if you are negotiating with someone, perhaps you are buying a house, and the seller suggests a new price, it is now up to you to either accept the price or make a new offer. The ____ __ __ ____ _____.

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Komentar

Hafez
17/01/2023
EG
1
points

1. To be on the ball
2. Dropped the ball
3. Get the ball rolling
4. To pick up the ball and run with it
5. Play ball
6. Take your eye off the ball


Hafez
17/01/2023 15:55
Egypt
Arsenal
1

1. To be on the ball
2. Dropped the ball
3. Get the ball rolling
4. To pick up the ball and run with it
5. Play ball
6. Take your eye off the ball

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
18/12/2022
UA
6220
points

Waiting for the Great Final. Good luck to all supporters of both sides. I'm going to root for France because of Mbappe- got a scarf with his face-, but Messi deserves his slice of titles too.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
18/12/2022 08:09
Ukraine
Liverpool
6220

Waiting for the Great Final. Good luck to all supporters of both sides. I'm going to root for France because of Mbappe- got a scarf with his face-, but Messi deserves his slice of titles too.

Amal Khalafallah
18/12/2022
EG
43
points

1- on the ball
2- dropped the ball
3- get the ball rolling
4- picked up the ball and ran with it
5- play ball
6- take your eyes off the ball
This week phrase is *** **** ** ** **** *****.


Amal Khalafallah
18/12/2022 07:51
Egypt
Liverpool
43

1- on the ball
2- dropped the ball
3- get the ball rolling
4- picked up the ball and ran with it
5- play ball
6- take your eyes off the ball
This week phrase is *** **** ** ** **** *****.

Fabs17
17/12/2022
IT
324
points

Number 1. The police are urging the public to be on the ball and report anything suspicious over the holiday period.

Number 2. I admit, I made a mistake. I really dropped the ball on this occasion, but I will fix it.

Number 3. I want everyone to introduce themselves and say what they do. Why don’t you get the ball rolling?

Number 4. The startup recognised there was an opportunity to take the idea further and really picked up the ball and ran with it.

Number 5. The company wanted a tax break to open a new office in the city, but the city council weren’t going to play ball.

Number 6. If you work with dangerous animals, you can’t afford to take your eye off the ball, even for a moment.


Fabs17
17/12/2022 14:19
Italy
Leicester City
324

Number 1. The police are urging the public to be on the ball and report anything suspicious over the holiday period.

Number 2. I admit, I made a mistake. I really dropped the ball on this occasion, but I will fix it.

Number 3. I want everyone to introduce themselves and say what they do. Why don’t you get the ball rolling?

Number 4. The startup recognised there was an opportunity to take the idea further and really picked up the ball and ran with it.

Number 5. The company wanted a tax break to open a new office in the city, but the city council weren’t going to play ball.

Number 6. If you work with dangerous animals, you can’t afford to take your eye off the ball, even for a moment.

GD26's picture
GD26
17/12/2022
RU
7
points

Hi Jack

The phrase must be '*** **** ** ** **** *****'


GD26's picture
GD26
17/12/2022 09:43
Russia
Tottenham Hotspur
7

Hi Jack

The phrase must be '*** **** ** ** **** *****'

hayato
17/12/2022
JP
437
points

I think the phrase is *** **** ** ** **** *****


hayato
17/12/2022 02:26
Japan
Everton
437

I think the phrase is *** **** ** ** **** *****

hsn's picture
hsn
16/12/2022
TR
5325
points

Language challenge
1. to be on the ball 2.to drop the ball 3.to get the ball rolling 4.to pick up the ball and run with it 5. to play ball 6. to take your eye off the ball
Football phrase--- *** **** ** ** **** *****
Sentences
• In business life, when career steps are climbed fastly there will be many colleagues to trip up.
• If you would like enhance your witt, daily solve questions of brain games.
Riddle
• What is opposite of being on the ball? Being foolish.
Note
• Instead of the testimonial match, here the phrase jubilee match of player is being used.
• It's not polite not giving some extra space to the home team during a testimonial match.


hsn's picture
hsn
16/12/2022 16:59
Turkey
Tottenham Hotspur
5325

Language challenge
1. to be on the ball 2.to drop the ball 3.to get the ball rolling 4.to pick up the ball and run with it 5. to play ball 6. to take your eye off the ball
Football phrase--- *** **** ** ** **** *****
Sentences
• In business life, when career steps are climbed fastly there will be many colleagues to trip up.
• If you would like enhance your witt, daily solve questions of brain games.
Riddle
• What is opposite of being on the ball? Being foolish.
Note
• Instead of the testimonial match, here the phrase jubilee match of player is being used.
• It's not polite not giving some extra space to the home team during a testimonial match.

CyberSam16's picture
CyberSam16
16/12/2022
BH
2
points

The phrase of the week is "**** ** ** **** *****"


CyberSam16's picture
CyberSam16
16/12/2022 11:53
Bahrain
Manchester City
2

The phrase of the week is "**** ** ** **** *****"

Nadeem Al-Murshedi
16/12/2022
YE
8
points

Hi Jack, I think you have taken your eye off the ball; you have written my name with "l" in the end. It's Nadeem not Nadeel.


Nadeem Al-Murshedi
16/12/2022 03:27
Yemen
Manchester United
8

Hi Jack, I think you have taken your eye off the ball; you have written my name with "l" in the end. It's Nadeem not Nadeel.

Jack Radford's picture
Jack Radford
16/12/2022
GB
10
points

Hi Nadeem

I'm really sorry about that. I really did drop the ball. I have corrected it in the transcript. I will try to corngratulate you properly next week.

Thanks

Jack


Jack Radford's picture
Jack Radford
16/12/2022 11:01
United Kingdom
Arsenal
10

Hi Nadeem

I'm really sorry about that. I really did drop the ball. I have corrected it in the transcript. I will try to corngratulate you properly next week.

Thanks

Jack

hsn's picture
hsn
16/12/2022
TR
5325
points

Hi Jack, my name consist of three letter. Simple and useful:-) It could be pronounced in all languages across the globe:-) "Keep this under your hat" , it's common muslim name Hasan:-)


hsn's picture
hsn
16/12/2022 17:13
Turkey
Tottenham Hotspur
5325

Hi Jack, my name consist of three letter. Simple and useful:-) It could be pronounced in all languages across the globe:-) "Keep this under your hat" , it's common muslim name Hasan:-)

Nadeem Al-Murshedi
16/12/2022
YE
8
points

Thanks Jack. No need to apologise. It was good to grab the chance to use the idiom in context.


Nadeem Al-Murshedi
16/12/2022 12:45
Yemen
Manchester United
8

Thanks Jack. No need to apologise. It was good to grab the chance to use the idiom in context.

Nadeem Al-Murshedi
16/12/2022
YE
8
points

Number 1. The police are urging the public to be on the ball and report anything suspicious over the holiday period.

Number 2. I admit, I made a mistake. I really dropped the ball on this occasion, but I will fix it.

Number 3. I want everyone to introduce themselves and say what they do. Why don’t you get the ball rolling.

Number 4. The startup recognised there was an opportunity to take the idea further and really picked up the ball and ran with it.

Number 5. The company wanted a tax break to open a new office in the city, but the city council weren’t going to play ball.

Number 6. If you work with dangerous animals, you can’t afford to take your eye off the ball even for a moment.


Nadeem Al-Murshedi
16/12/2022 03:20
Yemen
Manchester United
8

Number 1. The police are urging the public to be on the ball and report anything suspicious over the holiday period.

Number 2. I admit, I made a mistake. I really dropped the ball on this occasion, but I will fix it.

Number 3. I want everyone to introduce themselves and say what they do. Why don’t you get the ball rolling.

Number 4. The startup recognised there was an opportunity to take the idea further and really picked up the ball and ran with it.

Number 5. The company wanted a tax break to open a new office in the city, but the city council weren’t going to play ball.

Number 6. If you work with dangerous animals, you can’t afford to take your eye off the ball even for a moment.

vietnguyenngo
16/12/2022
VN
50
points

The phrase is: The ball in on your court
Number 1. The police are urging the public to be __on the ball ___ ____ and report anything suspicious over the holiday period.
Number 2. I admit, I made a mistake. I really __dropped the ball_____ ___ ___ on this occasion, but I will fix it.
Number 3. I want everyone to introduce themselves and say what they do. Why don’t you get __the_ __ball_ __rolling?
Number 4. The startup recognised there was an opportunity to take the idea further and really _pick up the ball and run with it.
Number 5. The company wanted a tax break to open a new office in the city, but the city council weren’t going to __play ball__
Number 6. If you work with dangerous animals, you can’t afford to __take your eye of the ball_, even for a moment.


vietnguyenngo
16/12/2022 03:03
Vietnam
Manchester City
50

The phrase is: The ball in on your court
Number 1. The police are urging the public to be __on the ball ___ ____ and report anything suspicious over the holiday period.
Number 2. I admit, I made a mistake. I really __dropped the ball_____ ___ ___ on this occasion, but I will fix it.
Number 3. I want everyone to introduce themselves and say what they do. Why don’t you get __the_ __ball_ __rolling?
Number 4. The startup recognised there was an opportunity to take the idea further and really _pick up the ball and run with it.
Number 5. The company wanted a tax break to open a new office in the city, but the city council weren’t going to __play ball__
Number 6. If you work with dangerous animals, you can’t afford to __take your eye of the ball_, even for a moment.

Nadeem Al-Murshedi
16/12/2022
YE
8
points

This week's phrase is "*** **** ** ** **** *****".


Nadeem Al-Murshedi
16/12/2022 03:01
Yemen
Manchester United
8

This week's phrase is "*** **** ** ** **** *****".

Leaderboard

Top Scorers
RankNameScore
1mobeckham6473
2Alex_from_Ukraine6220
3hsn5325
4wsanta5086
5kwesimanifest4768
6Liubomyr4408
7elghoul3988
8assemjuve3705
9aragorn19863557
10Gergő Nagy3396
Country ranking
RankNameScore
1Colombia69152
2Ukraine34372
3Serbia27170
4Spain26696
5Brazil21297
6Albania20578
7Vietnam19085
8Macedonia19074
9Turkey17935
10Bosnia and Herzegovina16333
Club ranking
RankNameScore
1Manchester United136566
2Liverpool104582
3Chelsea85640
4Arsenal79008
5Manchester City51734
6Tottenham Hotspur17910
7Leicester City13747
8Newcastle United10182
9Leeds United7899
10West Ham United6998

Level

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Goals

  • Improve your vocabulary
  • Develop your listening skills