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Konstantinos Mavropanos of West Ham United takes a goal kick as Alphonse Areola looks on

This Week: Up for grabs

This Week: Up for grabs

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 premierskillsenglish.britishcouncil.org 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.

This week, I’m talking about one of the most exciting matches of the season so far when Newcastle welcomed West Ham.

The words and phrases I am going to talk about today are:

  • Up for grabs
  • To go down to the wire
  • Pivotal
  • To fell
  • A tussle
  • To slap
  • To bother
  • Heroic
  • The tip of the spear
  • Audacious
  • Spot on

Listen out for this vocabulary in this week’s story.

But before I get to the story, 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, the phrase was the word *******. This is the official word for an arranged match in the future. So you can visit the Premier League website and look at the league table and also the results of past matches and read all about the news from the Premier League and what’s happening on and off the pitch, but you can also look up the future matches to see when your team is playing and who they are set to play against in the ******** section.

Congratulations to Vietnguyenngo from Vietnam, Jacob Burns from Poland, welcome to Premier Skills English Jacob! Congratulations to Wojciech M from Poland, AndreTorre102 from Brazil, Lukáš from Czechia, Hasan from Turkey, Bicooz from Egypt, Denis2000 from Belarus, LeoFabiano from Brazil, Ryohei from Japan, Thank you for your comments Ryohei. Well done to Douglas Cartier from Brazil, Alex from Ukraine and Iruzo from Indonesia. Welcome to Premier Skills English Iruzo. I know that you have another name, but I have no idea how to say it. If you let me know in the comments, I’ll try and say your full name next week.

You all worked out that the phrase I was looking for was fixture.

Keep listening till the end of the podcast for a new football phrase.

Now it’s time for the story.

Newcastle take on West Ham in seven goal thriller

With 10 games left to play, there are plenty of points up for grabs and so nothing has been decided. At the top of the table, the league leaders are leapfrogging. Liverpool has the advantage, but the title might go right down to the wire and the race for continental qualification is just as tight which made this match pivotal for the hosts Newcastle United who really needed the win to keep their European hopes alive and for West Ham United who would have risen above Manchester United if they got the points.

Eddie Howe has described this campaign as challenging and has had a lot of injured players to contend with. David Moyes knows that his team are in a good position but recognises there’s still a way to go, saying: “Every game is going to be vitally important to pick up as many points as we can.”

The phrases from the first part of the story that I want to talk about are:

  • Up for grabs
  • To go down to the wire
  • Pivotal

Up for grabs
The phrase up for grabs is a common idiom that means that something is available for people to claim or win. So you might hear about the prizes in a competition that are up for grabs, meaning that they can still be won. The verb to grab means to take something quickly and forcefully so if something is up for grabs, it is something that can be taken, it has not been taken by anybody else yet.

To go down to the wire
This idiomatic expression means that a competitive situation will not be decided until the very end of the competition. It comes from horse racing where the wire meant the finish line. If a race is not decided till the finish line, it means you can’t tell which horse and rider is going to win until the end of the race. In football, sometimes, one team takes the lead and it’s pretty clear who is going to win before the end of the season. However in other years, nobody knows who is going to win until the final whistle of the final match. In those years, you can say that the title went down to the wire.

Pivotal
If something is pivotal, it is very important. The verb to pivot means to turn on the spot. So a pivotal moment is one where the direction or chances of something can change dramatically. I think it’s more commonly used to talk about historic events that have dramatic consequences. So important events that seem to change the course of history can be described as pivotal.

Let’s get back to the story.

Newcastle take on West Ham in seven goal thriller - Part 2

Alexander Isak kicked off for Newcastle and within minutes things were going the host’s way when Vladimir Coufal felled Anthony Gordon in front of the West Ham goal. Isak stepped up and scored, sending Alphonse Areola the wrong way and tucking the ball into the opposite corner.

Disaster struck in the 12th minute when Jamaal Lascelles twisted his knee in a tussle with Michail Antonio and dropped to the floor. Lascelles did get up and tried to play on, but needed to be substituted off five minutes later.

It took a while for Newcastle to settle following Lascelles’ departure and West Ham took advantage and started to look dangerous as their stretches of possession got longer and the visitors started to link up better.

In the 21st minute, Antonio timed his run perfectly, getting behind Newcastle’s high defensive line and on to a Lucas Paqueta pass which left him one-on-one with Martin Dubravka. Antonio fired the ball past the Newcastle keeper and into the net to put the Hammers level.

As Newcastle settled into their new formation, both teams looked good and the action was dramatic.

The phrases from the second part of the story that I want to talk about are:

  • To fell
  • A tussle

To fell
I have spoken about this before. In football English and in sports, it means to cause someone to fall over. In general English, it normally means to cut down a tree and I think its use in sports was figurative. However, It’s been used in this figurative sense in sports for so long that this meaning, to knock someone over, has its own entry in the dictionary.

A tussle
A tussle is a fight or a disagreement. It’s not a very serious fight; most likely a tussle will involve pushing and shouting rather than hits and kicks. In sports, a tussle is usually when players push each other to get to the ball and is just part of the game. It’s not necessarily a foul, though fouls might start with a tussle.

Let’s get back to the story.

Newcastle take on West Ham in seven goal thriller - Part 3

Guimaraes almost scored for Newcastle, slapping the ball against the crossbar and then West Ham broke with Mohammed Kudus tearing up the field. Kudus was eventually stopped by Dan Burn, but was back in the action minutes later. Fabian Schar fouled Kudus, whose arm flew up as he was being held and caught Schar in the face, hard enough for Schar to go down but not hard enough to bother the referee who let the visitors play on. Paqueta (pakeTAA) played the ball for Jarod Bowen who was making a run on the outside. Bowen cut the ball back for Kudus who tucked it into the net putting West Ham in front.

Right after the break, Kudus made a heroic run on the left. He survived a couple of challenges before passing to Bowen who seemed to be invisible to the West Ham midfielders and ran through acres of space. Bowen ran the ball all the way to the edge of the area and then calmly slotted it past Newcastle’s keeper.

The phrases from the third part of the story that I want to talk about are:

  • To slap
  • To bother
  • Heroic

To slap
To slap means to hit, but with an open hand. It’s an onomatopoeic word, that means the meaning of the word is related to what the word sounds like. So worlds like bang that describes the sound of an explosion or splash, the sound and result of something falling into water; both these words sound like their meaning. Slap is another word that sounds like its meaning. As I said, normally to slap means to hit something with an open hand in a way that makes a loud noise. The word is also used to describe an impact, where two surfaces come together to make a slapping noise. When Guimaraes’ strike hit the crossbar, it made a loud slapping noise.

You can also use the verb to describe a method of playing the bass guitar where you use your thumb to hit the strings and there’s a bassist on youtube Davie504 that makes my kids cry with laughter who loves slapping his bass.

OK - this has happened a few times. When I write this script, I start with the story and then I write about the vocabulary and then at the end, I look for examples in news stories. And sometimes, when I search the stories, I find really common uses of the vocabulary that I hadn’t expected. So when I search for stories that feature the word slap, I have found hundreds of examples of the phrase “slapped with a fine”. So I think I should include this. When a judge orders someone to pay a fine because they have done something wrong, if the fine is quite large, I guess it would sting, metaphorically. It is very common in news stories to say that someone has been slapped with a fine.

To bother
This is quite a tricky verb. I think it comes from a Scots word meaning to upset or confuse. In modern English, the most common meaning is to upset or worry or annoy someone, but not in a very serious way. If you are bothered about something, you are a bit concerned. It’s probably more commonly used in negative sentences, like the version I used in the story. You hear people say I’m not bothered and it’s not bothering me to say that they are not worried or concerned about something.

Heroic
This is an advanced adjective, but I think it’s very easy to understand. The word heroic comes from the word hero. A hero is a very brave person that everyone admires. A heroic act is something that a hero would do so it’s a very brave or great act. If you have a problem at work and someone works really hard to solve it, you might praise their heroic effort.

Let’s get back to the story.

Newcastle take on West Ham in seven goal thriller - Part 4

In the 77th minute, Newcastle pulled a goal back. Again, Gordon drew a foul in the penalty area, this time from Kalvin Phillips and again Alexander Isak stepped up and made no mistake.

Five minutes later Harvey Barnes found the West Ham goal. It was a great team goal. Newcastle surged forwards and Barnes was the tip of the spear, firing the ball low past Fabianski. Harvey Barnes was back on the bench following a series of injuries that had kept him off the pitch for months. He was only subbed on in the 67th minute and was clearly delighted to be back on the pitch and back on form.

Minutes later, filled with confidence following his first goal, Barnes struck again with an audacious shot from outside the area. Barnes’ aim was spot on and the ball flew into the net out of reach of the West Ham keeper.

Final score: Newcastle United 4 - 3 West Ham United

The phrases from the final part of the story that I want to talk about are:

  • the tip of the spear
  • audacious
  • spot on

The tip of the spear
This is an idiom that means the first person or people to do something that’s difficult or dangerous. It’s often used to talk about soldiers when they are carrying out a dangerous mission. The soldiers that go first are the tip of the spear and they are doing the most dangerous work. I used it to describe Harvey Barnes because he was at the front during a great team attack for Newcastle.

Audacious
I have described this word before. It comes up quite a lot in football english. It normally means brave, in a way that shows that someone is willing to offend people. I think it’s most commonly used when someone challenges their boss or a more powerful figure. In football English, we use it when a player attempts to score from distance or attempts to take on several players or does something that is very difficult and that people wouldn’t normally expect them to be able to do. When Erling Haaland first arrived at Manchester City, in his first couple of matches, he might have been described as audacious. However, once people realised how good he is in front of goal, his goal scoring was not as surprising so it wasn’t audacious any more.

Spot on
This adjective means exactly right. Apparently, it’s mostly used in British English and it’s almost always predicative. So we say that something is or was spot on. I said Barnes’ aim was spot on, not he had spot on aim. This adjective is quite informal and used in speech more than writing. I also use it as an exclamation when someone says something that I really agree with. So if someone says: Gabriel is the most underrated defender in the Premier League, I might reply: Spot on.

Today, I’ve spoken about 11 useful words and phrases.

The words and phrases were:

  • Up for grabs
  • To go down to the wire
  • Pivotal
  • To fell
  • A tussle
  • To slap
  • To bother
  • Heroic
  • The tip of the spear
  • Audacious
  • Spot on

Listen to the stories one more time to hear this language in context.

Newcastle take on West Ham in seven goal thriller

With 10 games left to play, there are plenty of points up for grabs and so nothing has been decided. At the top of the table, the league leaders are leapfrogging. Liverpool has the advantage, but the title might go right down to the wire and the race for continental qualification is just as tight which made this match pivotal for the hosts Newcastle United who really needed the win to keep their European hopes alive and for West Ham United who would have risen above Manchester United if they got the points.

Eddie Howe has described this campaign as challenging and has had a lot of injured players to contend with. David Moyes knows that his team are in a good position but recognises there’s still a way to go, saying: “Every game is going to be vitally important to pick up as many points as we can.”

Alexander Isak kicked off for Newcastle and within minutes things were going the host’s way when Vladimir Coufal felled Anthony Gordon in front of the West Ham goal. Isak stepped up and scored, sending Alphonse Areola the wrong way and tucking the ball into the opposite corner.

Disaster struck in the 12th minute when Jamaal Lascelles twisted his knee in a tussle with Michail Antonio and dropped to the floor. Lascelles did get up and tried to play on, but needed to be substituted off five minutes later.

It took a while for Newcastle to settle following Lascelles’ departure and West Ham took advantage and started to look dangerous as their stretches of possession got longer and the visitors started to link up better.

In the 21st minute, Antonio timed his run perfectly, getting behind Newcastle’s high defensive line and on to a Lucas Paqueta pass which left him one-on-one with Martin Dubravka. Antonio fired the ball past the Newcastle keeper and into the net to put the Hammers level.

As Newcastle settled into their new formation, both teams looked good and the action was dramatic.

Guimaraes almost scored for Newcastle, slapping the ball against the crossbar and then West Ham broke with Mohammed Kudus tearing up the field. Kudus was eventually stopped by Dan Burn, but was back in the action minutes later. Fabian Schar fouled Kudus, whose arm flew up as he was being held and caught Schar in the face, hard enough for Schar to go down but not hard enough to bother the referee who let the visitors play on. Paqueta (pakeTAA) played the ball for Jarod Bowen who was making a run on the outside. Bowen cut the ball back for Kudus who tucked it into the net putting West Ham in front.

Right after the break, Kudus made a heroic run on the left. He survived a couple of challenges before passing to Bowen who seemed to be invisible to the West Ham midfielders and ran through acres of space. Bowen ran the ball all the way to the edge of the area and then calmly slotted it past Newcastle’s keeper.

 

In the 77th minute, Newcastle pulled a goal back. Again, Gordon drew a foul in the penalty area, this time from Kalvin Phillips and again Alexander Isak stepped up and made no mistake.

Five minutes later Harvey Barnes found the West Ham goal. It was a great team goal. Newcastle surged forwards and Barnes was the tip of the spear, firing the ball low past Fabianski. Harvey Barnes was back on the bench following a series of injuries that had kept him off the pitch for months. He was only subbed on in the 67th minute and was clearly delighted to be back on the pitch and back on form.

Minutes later, filled with confidence following his first goal, Barnes struck again with an audacious shot from outside the area. Barnes’ aim was spot on and the ball flew into the net out of reach of the West Ham keeper.

Final score: Newcastle United 4 - 3 West Ham United

Language challenge

Right, now it’s time for you to think about this language again. I have found examples of today’s words and phrases in stories online and edited them slightly. I have removed the vocabulary from the stories so I want you to fill in the gaps with the correct forms of the language from the podcast.

Number 1. The championship opener with Featherstone Rovers will ‘_____________________’ says Batley Bulldogs’ head coach.

Number 2. Trees on the shore of a lake have been ________ in what has been described as an "act of unspeakable vandalism".

Number 3. The politician has demanded an apology from one of his ex-colleagues after he allegedly _________ him on the back of the head and called him a ... bad word.

Number 4. A farmer has been called _______ for saving a small lamb after a heartwarming video showed the farmer climbing head-first into a large pipe to rescue the lost animal.

Number 5. “When the history of our country is written, historians will have to acknowledge that much of the change that we have seen has been advanced through the Congressional Black Caucus,” Warnock said. “This caucus has been _______________ of change in our country.”

Number 6. Middlesbrough have just six games remaining this season but their Player of the Year award feels very much still ___________.

Number 7. Alexis Mac Allister has impressed Liverpool supporters again – but this time for the authenticity of his Scouse accent which has been described as 'surprisingly ____________'.

Number 8. The desire for Stanley tumblers has become a "craze" after images of the colourful drinking containers went viral on social media. On Jan. 3, customers lined up early to get their hands on one. But two people in line didn't want to wait. At about 7:15 a.m., police responded to a report of a _______ and theft of a tumbler.

Number 9. On the Premier League website: Backheels from Mane and Henry. Flicks by Bernardo and Ramsey. Watch the most _________ finishes in Premier League history

Number 10. Sheffield United grab an unlikely equaliser at Anfield through a Conor Bradley own goal. Could this prove to be a ________ moment in Liverpool's season? No.

Number 11. Wilfried Zaha says he was not ________ by his difficult spell at Manchester United and won’t let it derail his career.

Leave your answers to this language challenge in the comments section on the Premier Skills English website.

Football phrase

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

This week, the phrase is the noun *************. At this point in the season, there are three battles. The battle for survival in the league, the battle for the title itself and the battle for ************* for European football. This word comes from the verb which means to earn enough points to play in a competition. So before the world cup, teams have to play rounds of matches in groups to see which teams are good enough to ******* for the main tournament. These are ************* rounds.

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

Before I finish, I am going to go through the answers to last week’s language challenge.

Number 1. Kim Jong Un has taken a ride in a luxury black limousine gifted to him by Vladimir Putin.

Number 2. As UK landlines go digital, fears grow for vulnerable people whose home phone is a lifeline.

Number 3. Mauricio Pochettino is facing what could prove to be a make-or-break showdown over his long term Chelsea future.

Number 4. A financial expert has warned that Chelsea face a “more severe” points deduction than Everton and Nottingham Forest if they are found guilty of breaking Premier League financial rules.

Number 5. Liverpool’s new transfer chief has three problems that he needs to sort out immediately.

Number 6. A BBC News presenter was caught off guard swearing on the camera as she hadn’t realised that she was live.

Number 7. The pressure of performing at the highest level has taken its toll on the toughest of competitors.

And 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 everyone stays fit and healthy and safe.

Bye for now and enjoy your football.

 

Language

The language from the story that I’m going to talk about this week is:

  • Up for grabs
  • To go down to the wire
  • Pivotal
  • To fell
  • A tussle
  • To slap
  • To bother
  • Heroic
  • The tip of the spear
  • Audacious
  • Spot on

Part 1

Newcastle take on West Ham in seven goal thriller

Jarrod Bowen scores West Ham United's third goal during the match against Newcastle United

With 10 games left to play, there are plenty of points up for grabs and so nothing has been decided. At the top of the table, the league leaders are leapfrogging. Liverpool has the advantage, but the title might go right down to the wire and the race for continental qualification is just as tight which made this match pivotal for the hosts Newcastle United who really needed the win to keep their European hopes alive and for West Ham United who would have risen above Manchester United if they got the points.

Eddie Howe has described this campaign as challenging and has had a lot of injured players to contend with. David Moyes knows that his team are in a good position but recognises there’s still a way to go, saying: “Every game is going to be vitally important to pick up as many points as we can.”

The phrases from the first part of the story that I want to talk about are:

  • Up for grabs
  • To go down to the wire
  • Pivotal

Up for grabs
The phrase up for grabs is a common idiom that means that something is available for people to claim or win. So you might hear about the prizes in a competition that are up for grabs, meaning that they can still be won. The verb to grab means to take something quickly and forcefully so if something is up for grabs, it is something that can be taken, it has not been taken by anybody else yet.

To go down to the wire
This idiomatic expression means that a competitive situation will not be decided until the very end of the competition. It comes from horse racing where the wire meant the finish line. If a race is not decided till the finish line, it means you can’t tell which horse and rider is going to win until the end of the race. In football, sometimes, one team takes the lead and it’s pretty clear who is going to win before the end of the season. However in other years, nobody knows who is going to win until the final whistle of the final match. In those years, you can say that the title went down to the wire.

Pivotal
If something is pivotal, it is very important. The verb to pivot means to turn on the spot. So a pivotal moment is one where the direction or chances of something can change dramatically. I think it’s more commonly used to talk about historic events that have dramatic consequences. So important events that seem to change the course of history can be described as pivotal.

Let’s get back to the story.

Part 2

Newcastle take on West Ham in seven goal thriller

Alexander Isak kicked off for Newcastle and within minutes things were going the host’s way when Vladimir Coufal felled Anthony Gordon in front of the West Ham goal. Isak stepped up and scored, sending Alphonse Areola the wrong way and tucking the ball into the opposite corner.

Disaster struck in the 12th minute when Jamaal Lascelles twisted his knee in a tussle with Michail Antonio and dropped to the floor. Lascelles did get up and tried to play on, but needed to be substituted off five minutes later.

It took a while for Newcastle to settle following Lascelles’ departure and West Ham took advantage and started to look dangerous as their stretches of possession got longer and the visitors started to link up better.

In the 21st minute, Antonio timed his run perfectly, getting behind Newcastle’s high defensive line and on to a Lucas Paqueta pass which left him one-on-one with Martin Dubravka. Antonio fired the ball past the Newcastle keeper and into the net to put the Hammers level.

As Newcastle settled into their new formation, both teams looked good and the action was dramatic.

The phrases from the second part of the story that I want to talk about are:

  • To fell
  • A tussle

To fell
I have spoken about this before. In football English and in sports, it means to cause someone to fall over. In general English, it normally means to cut down a tree and I think its use in sports was figurative. However, It’s been used in this figurative sense in sports for so long that this meaning, to knock someone over, has its own entry in the dictionary.

A tussle
A tussle is a fight or a disagreement. It’s not a very serious fight; most likely a tussle will involve pushing and shouting rather than hits and kicks. In sports, a tussle is usually when players push each other to get to the ball and is just part of the game. It’s not necessarily a foul, though fouls might start with a tussle.

Let’s get back to the story.

Part 3

Newcastle take on West Ham in seven goal thriller

Lukasz Fabianski of West Ham United fails to make a save against Harvey Barnes of Newcastle United

Guimaraes almost scored for Newcastle, slapping the ball against the crossbar and then West Ham broke with Mohammed Kudus tearing up the field. Kudus was eventually stopped by Dan Burn, but was back in the action minutes later. Fabian Schar fouled Kudus, whose arm flew up as he was being held and caught Schar in the face, hard enough for Schar to go down but not hard enough to bother the referee who let the visitors play on. Paqueta (pakeTAA) played the ball for Jarod Bowen who was making a run on the outside. Bowen cut the ball back for Kudus who tucked it into the net putting West Ham in front.

Right after the break, Kudus made a heroic run on the left. He survived a couple of challenges before passing to Bowen who seemed to be invisible to the West Ham midfielders and ran through acres of space. Bowen ran the ball all the way to the edge of the area and then calmly slotted it past Newcastle’s keeper.

The phrases from the third part of the story that I want to talk about are:

  • To slap
  • To bother
  • Heroic

To slap
To slap means to hit, but with an open hand. It’s an onomatopoeic word, that means the meaning of the word is related to what the word sounds like. So worlds like bang that describes the sound of an explosion or splash, the sound and result of something falling into water; both these words sound like their meaning. Slap is another word that sounds like its meaning. As I said, normally to slap means to hit something with an open hand in a way that makes a loud noise. The word is also used to describe an impact, where two surfaces come together to make a slapping noise. When Guimaraes’ strike hit the crossbar, it made a loud slapping noise.

You can also use the verb to describe a method of playing the bass guitar where you use your thumb to hit the strings and there’s a bassist on youtube Davie504 that makes my kids cry with laughter who loves slapping his bass.

OK - this has happened a few times. When I write this script, I start with the story and then I write about the vocabulary and then at the end, I look for examples in news stories. And sometimes, when I search the stories, I find really common uses of the vocabulary that I hadn’t expected. So when I search for stories that feature the word slap, I have found hundreds of examples of the phrase “slapped with a fine”. So I think I should include this. When a judge orders someone to pay a fine because they have done something wrong, if the fine is quite large, I guess it would sting, metaphorically. It is very common in news stories to say that someone has been slapped with a fine.

To bother
This is quite a tricky verb. I think it comes from a Scots word meaning to upset or confuse. In modern English, the most common meaning is to upset or worry or annoy someone, but not in a very serious way. If you are bothered about something, you are a bit concerned. It’s probably more commonly used in negative sentences, like the version I used in the story. You hear people say I’m not bothered and it’s not bothering me to say that they are not worried or concerned about something.

Heroic
This is an advanced adjective, but I think it’s very easy to understand. The word heroic comes from the word hero. A hero is a very brave person that everyone admires. A heroic act is something that a hero would do so it’s a very brave or great act. If you have a problem at work and someone works really hard to solve it, you might praise their heroic effort.

Let’s get back to the story.

Part 4

Newcastle take on West Ham in seven goal thriller

In the 77th minute, Newcastle pulled a goal back. Again, Gordon drew a foul in the penalty area, this time from Kalvin Phillips and again Alexander Isak stepped up and made no mistake.

Five minutes later Harvey Barnes found the West Ham goal. It was a great team goal. Newcastle surged forwards and Barnes was the tip of the spear, firing the ball low past Fabianski. Harvey Barnes was back on the bench following a series of injuries that had kept him off the pitch for months. He was only subbed on in the 67th minute and was clearly delighted to be back on the pitch and back on form.

Minutes later, filled with confidence following his first goal, Barnes struck again with an audacious shot from outside the area. Barnes’ aim was spot on and the ball flew into the net out of reach of the West Ham keeper.

Final score: Newcastle United 4 - 3 West Ham United

The phrases from the final part of the story that I want to talk about are:

  • the tip of the spear
  • audacious
  • spot on

The tip of the spear
This is an idiom that means the first person or people to do something that’s difficult or dangerous. It’s often used to talk about soldiers when they are carrying out a dangerous mission. The soldiers that go first are the tip of the spear and they are doing the most dangerous work. I used it to describe Harvey Barnes because he was at the front during a great team attack for Newcastle.

Audacious
I have described this word before. It comes up quite a lot in football english. It normally means brave, in a way that shows that someone is willing to offend people. I think it’s most commonly used when someone challenges their boss or a more powerful figure. In football English, we use it when a player attempts to score from distance or attempts to take on several players or does something that is very difficult and that people wouldn’t normally expect them to be able to do. When Erling Haaland first arrived at Manchester City, in his first couple of matches, he might have been described as audacious. However, once people realised how good he is in front of goal, his goal scoring was not as surprising so it wasn’t audacious any more.

Spot on
This adjective means exactly right. Apparently, it’s mostly used in British English and it’s almost always predicative. So we say that something is or was spot on. I said Barnes’ aim was spot on, not he had spot on aim. This adjective is quite informal and used in speech more than writing. I also use it as an exclamation when someone says something that I really agree with. So if someone says: Gabriel is the most underrated defender in the Premier League, I might reply: Spot on.

Vocabulary

Language challenge

Right, now it’s time for you to think about this language again in another language challenge. As with the vocabulary from the first story, I have found examples of the words and phrases in stories online and edited them slightly. I have removed the vocabulary from the story so I want you to fill in the gaps with the correct forms of the language from the podcast.

Number 1. The championship opener with Featherstone Rovers will ‘_____________________’ says Batley Bulldogs’ head coach.

Number 2. Trees on the shore of a lake have been ________ in what has been described as an "act of unspeakable vandalism".

Number 3. The politician has demanded an apology from one of his ex-colleagues after he allegedly _________ him on the back of the head and called him a ... bad word.

Number 4. A farmer has been called _______ for saving a small lamb after a heartwarming video showed the farmer climbing head-first into a large pipe to rescue the lost animal.

Number 5. “When the history of our country is written, historians will have to acknowledge that much of the change that we have seen has been advanced through the Congressional Black Caucus,” Warnock said. “This caucus has been _______________ of change in our country.”

Number 6. Middlesbrough have just six games remaining this season but their Player of the Year award feels very much still ___________.

Number 7. Alexis Mac Allister has impressed Liverpool supporters again – but this time for the authenticity of his Scouse accent which has been described as 'surprisingly ____________'.

Number 8. The desire for Stanley tumblers has become a "craze" after images of the colourful drinking containers went viral on social media. On Jan. 3, customers lined up early to get their hands on one. But two people in line didn't want to wait. At about 7:15 a.m., police responded to a report of a _______ and theft of a tumbler.

Number 9. On the Premier League website: Backheels from Mane and Henry. Flicks by Bernardo and Ramsey. Watch the most _________ finishes in Premier League history

Number 10. Sheffield United grab an unlikely equaliser at Anfield through a Conor Bradley own goal. Could this prove to be a ________ moment in Liverpool's season? No.

Number 11. Wilfried Zaha says he was not ________ by his difficult spell at Manchester United and won’t let it derail his career.

Leave your answers to this language challenge in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Football phrase

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

This week, the phrase is the noun *************. At this point in the season, there are three battles. The battle for survival in the league, the battle for the title itself and the battle for ************* for European football. This word comes from the verb which means to earn enough points to play in a competition. So before the world cup, teams have to play rounds of matches in groups to see which teams are good enough to ******* for the main tournament. These are ************* rounds.

If you know the answer, leave it in a comment at the bottom of the page.

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Comentários

leofabiano's picture
leofabiano
12/04/2024
BR
13
points

Hello Jack,

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

Please find below my answers for the language challenge:

Number 1. The championship opener with Featherstone Rovers will ‘go down to the wire’ says Batley Bulldogs’ head coach.

Number 2. Trees on the shore of a lake have been felling in what has been described as an "act of unspeakable vandalism".

Number 3. The politician has demanded an apology from one of his ex-colleagues after he allegedly slapped him on the back of the head and called him a ... bad word.

Number 4. A farmer has been called heroic for saving a small lamb after a heartwarming video showed the farmer climbing head-first into a large pipe to rescue the lost animal.

Number 5. “When the history of our country is written, historians will have to acknowledge that much of the change that we have seen has been advanced through the Congressional Black Caucus,” Warnock said. “This caucus has been the tip of the spear of change in our country.”

Number 6. Middlesbrough have just six games remaining this season but their Player of the Year award feels very much still up for grabs.

Number 7. Alexis Mac Allister has impressed Liverpool supporters again – but this time for the authenticity of his Scouse accent which has been described as 'surprisingly spot on'.

Number 8. The desire for Stanley tumblers has become a "craze" after images of the colourful drinking containers went viral on social media. On Jan. 3, customers lined up early to get their hands on one. But two people in line didn't want to wait. At about 7:15 a.m., police responded to a report of a tussle and theft of a tumbler.

Number 9. On the Premier League website: Backheels from Mane and Henry. Flicks by Bernardo and Ramsey. Watch the most audacious finishes in Premier League history

Number 10. Sheffield United grab an unlikely equaliser at Anfield through a Conor Bradley own goal. Could this prove to be a pivotal moment in Liverpool's season? No.

Number 11. Wilfried Zaha says he was not bothered by his difficult spell at Manchester United and won’t let it derail his career.


leofabiano's picture
leofabiano
12/04/2024 20:04
Brazil
Tottenham Hotspur
13

Hello Jack,

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

Please find below my answers for the language challenge:

Number 1. The championship opener with Featherstone Rovers will ‘go down to the wire’ says Batley Bulldogs’ head coach.

Number 2. Trees on the shore of a lake have been felling in what has been described as an "act of unspeakable vandalism".

Number 3. The politician has demanded an apology from one of his ex-colleagues after he allegedly slapped him on the back of the head and called him a ... bad word.

Number 4. A farmer has been called heroic for saving a small lamb after a heartwarming video showed the farmer climbing head-first into a large pipe to rescue the lost animal.

Number 5. “When the history of our country is written, historians will have to acknowledge that much of the change that we have seen has been advanced through the Congressional Black Caucus,” Warnock said. “This caucus has been the tip of the spear of change in our country.”

Number 6. Middlesbrough have just six games remaining this season but their Player of the Year award feels very much still up for grabs.

Number 7. Alexis Mac Allister has impressed Liverpool supporters again – but this time for the authenticity of his Scouse accent which has been described as 'surprisingly spot on'.

Number 8. The desire for Stanley tumblers has become a "craze" after images of the colourful drinking containers went viral on social media. On Jan. 3, customers lined up early to get their hands on one. But two people in line didn't want to wait. At about 7:15 a.m., police responded to a report of a tussle and theft of a tumbler.

Number 9. On the Premier League website: Backheels from Mane and Henry. Flicks by Bernardo and Ramsey. Watch the most audacious finishes in Premier League history

Number 10. Sheffield United grab an unlikely equaliser at Anfield through a Conor Bradley own goal. Could this prove to be a pivotal moment in Liverpool's season? No.

Number 11. Wilfried Zaha says he was not bothered by his difficult spell at Manchester United and won’t let it derail his career.

Denis2000's picture
Denis2000
11/04/2024
BY
692
points

Hello Jack. The phrase is *************.

Language challenge
Number 1. The championship opener with Featherstone Rovers will ‘go down to the wire’ says Batley Bulldogs’ head coach.

Number 2. Trees on the shore of a lake have been fallen in what has been described as an "act of unspeakable vandalism".

Number 3. The politician has demanded an apology from one of his ex-colleagues after he allegedly slapped him on the back of the head and called him a ... bad word.

Number 4. A farmer has been called heroic for saving a small lamb after a heartwarming video showed the farmer climbing head-first into a large pipe to rescue the lost animal.

Number 5. “When the history of our country is written, historians will have to acknowledge that much of the change that we have seen has been advanced through the Congressional Black Caucus,” Warnock said. “This caucus has been the tip of the spear of change in our country.”

Number 6. Middlesbrough have just six games remaining this season but their Player of the Year award feels very much still up for grabs.

Number 7. Alexis Mac Allister has impressed Liverpool supporters again – but this time for the authenticity of his Scouse accent which has been described as 'surprisingly spot on'.

Number 8. The desire for Stanley tumblers has become a "craze" after images of the colourful drinking containers went viral on social media. On Jan. 3, customers lined up early to get their hands on one. But two people in line didn't want to wait. At about 7:15 a.m., police responded to a report of a tussle and theft of a tumbler.

Number 9. On the Premier League website: Backheels from Mane and Henry. Flicks by Bernardo and Ramsey. Watch the most audacious finishes in Premier League history

Number 10. Sheffield United grab an unlikely equaliser at Anfield through a Conor Bradley own goal. Could this prove to be a pivotal moment in Liverpool's season? No.

Number 11. Wilfried Zaha says he was not bothered by his difficult spell at Manchester United and won’t let it derail his career.


Denis2000's picture
Denis2000
11/04/2024 09:28
Belarus
Tottenham Hotspur
692

Hello Jack. The phrase is *************.

Language challenge
Number 1. The championship opener with Featherstone Rovers will ‘go down to the wire’ says Batley Bulldogs’ head coach.

Number 2. Trees on the shore of a lake have been fallen in what has been described as an "act of unspeakable vandalism".

Number 3. The politician has demanded an apology from one of his ex-colleagues after he allegedly slapped him on the back of the head and called him a ... bad word.

Number 4. A farmer has been called heroic for saving a small lamb after a heartwarming video showed the farmer climbing head-first into a large pipe to rescue the lost animal.

Number 5. “When the history of our country is written, historians will have to acknowledge that much of the change that we have seen has been advanced through the Congressional Black Caucus,” Warnock said. “This caucus has been the tip of the spear of change in our country.”

Number 6. Middlesbrough have just six games remaining this season but their Player of the Year award feels very much still up for grabs.

Number 7. Alexis Mac Allister has impressed Liverpool supporters again – but this time for the authenticity of his Scouse accent which has been described as 'surprisingly spot on'.

Number 8. The desire for Stanley tumblers has become a "craze" after images of the colourful drinking containers went viral on social media. On Jan. 3, customers lined up early to get their hands on one. But two people in line didn't want to wait. At about 7:15 a.m., police responded to a report of a tussle and theft of a tumbler.

Number 9. On the Premier League website: Backheels from Mane and Henry. Flicks by Bernardo and Ramsey. Watch the most audacious finishes in Premier League history

Number 10. Sheffield United grab an unlikely equaliser at Anfield through a Conor Bradley own goal. Could this prove to be a pivotal moment in Liverpool's season? No.

Number 11. Wilfried Zaha says he was not bothered by his difficult spell at Manchester United and won’t let it derail his career.

hsn's picture
hsn
10/04/2024
TR
5533
points

Language challenge
1. The championship opener with Featherstone Rovers will ‘go down to the wire’ says Batley Bulldogs’ head coach.
2. Trees on the shore of a lake have been felled in what has been described as an "act of unspeakable vandalism".
3. The politician has demanded an apology from one of his ex-colleagues after he allegedly slapped him on the back of the head and called him a ... bad word.
4. A farmer has been called heroic for saving a small lamb after a heartwarming video showed the farmer climbing head-first into a large pipe to rescue the lost animal.
5. “When the history of our country is written, historians will have to acknowledge that much of the change that we have seen has been advanced through the Congressional Black Caucus,” Warnock said. “This caucus has been tip of the spear of change in our country.”
6. Middlesbrough have just six games remaining this season but their Player of the Year award feels very much still up for grabs.
7. Alexis Mac Allister has impressed Liverpool supporters again – but this time for the authenticity of his Scouse accent which has been described as 'surprisingly audacious.
8. The desire for Stanley tumblers has become a "craze" after images of the colourful drinking containers went viral on social media. On Jan. 3, customers lined up early to get their hands on one. But two people in line didn't want to wait. At about 7:15 a.m., police responded to a report of a tussle and theft of a tumbler.
9. On the Premier League website: Backheels from Mane and Henry. Flicks by Bernardo and Ramsey. Watch the most spot on finishes in Premier League history
10. Sheffield United grab an unlikely equaliser at Anfield through a Conor Bradley own goal. Could this prove to be a pivotal moment in Liverpool's season? No.
11. Wilfried Zaha says he was not bothered by his difficult spell at Manchester United and won’t let it derail his career.
Football phrase; **************/ *******
Sentences
• Tearing up the written proposition of peace causes new sufferings.
• In the history,some adventurers tried failed fly up over the Bosphorus with large wings.
• Investors had tucked into shares that its prices are falling down and they have to put up with it.
Notes
• Hi Jack, today we’re celebrating “Eid al-Fitr” another name is "Festival of sweets" in my country, kids traditionally ring neighbors’ bells and pick up candies:-)
• Commentator identified this match as "Cracker= an exciting match ". I think it might be next football phrase question:-)
• "To cut the ball " we use this phrase for a cross towards six-yard box to create scoring opportunity.
• A phrase in our culture is "The truth smacked her/his face like a slap". "Slapping" informal meaning is “to deceive” someone in order to get benefit.


hsn's picture
hsn
10/04/2024 15:23
Turkey
Tottenham Hotspur
5533

Language challenge
1. The championship opener with Featherstone Rovers will ‘go down to the wire’ says Batley Bulldogs’ head coach.
2. Trees on the shore of a lake have been felled in what has been described as an "act of unspeakable vandalism".
3. The politician has demanded an apology from one of his ex-colleagues after he allegedly slapped him on the back of the head and called him a ... bad word.
4. A farmer has been called heroic for saving a small lamb after a heartwarming video showed the farmer climbing head-first into a large pipe to rescue the lost animal.
5. “When the history of our country is written, historians will have to acknowledge that much of the change that we have seen has been advanced through the Congressional Black Caucus,” Warnock said. “This caucus has been tip of the spear of change in our country.”
6. Middlesbrough have just six games remaining this season but their Player of the Year award feels very much still up for grabs.
7. Alexis Mac Allister has impressed Liverpool supporters again – but this time for the authenticity of his Scouse accent which has been described as 'surprisingly audacious.
8. The desire for Stanley tumblers has become a "craze" after images of the colourful drinking containers went viral on social media. On Jan. 3, customers lined up early to get their hands on one. But two people in line didn't want to wait. At about 7:15 a.m., police responded to a report of a tussle and theft of a tumbler.
9. On the Premier League website: Backheels from Mane and Henry. Flicks by Bernardo and Ramsey. Watch the most spot on finishes in Premier League history
10. Sheffield United grab an unlikely equaliser at Anfield through a Conor Bradley own goal. Could this prove to be a pivotal moment in Liverpool's season? No.
11. Wilfried Zaha says he was not bothered by his difficult spell at Manchester United and won’t let it derail his career.
Football phrase; **************/ *******
Sentences
• Tearing up the written proposition of peace causes new sufferings.
• In the history,some adventurers tried failed fly up over the Bosphorus with large wings.
• Investors had tucked into shares that its prices are falling down and they have to put up with it.
Notes
• Hi Jack, today we’re celebrating “Eid al-Fitr” another name is "Festival of sweets" in my country, kids traditionally ring neighbors’ bells and pick up candies:-)
• Commentator identified this match as "Cracker= an exciting match ". I think it might be next football phrase question:-)
• "To cut the ball " we use this phrase for a cross towards six-yard box to create scoring opportunity.
• A phrase in our culture is "The truth smacked her/his face like a slap". "Slapping" informal meaning is “to deceive” someone in order to get benefit.

jacob_burns
09/04/2024
PL
58
points

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

My answers to language challange:
Number 1. (...) will ‘go down to the wire’ (...)
Number 2. (...) have been felled (...)
Number 3. (...) allegedly slapped him (...)
Number 4. (...) called Heroic (...)
Number 5. (...) has been the tip of the spear of (...)
Number 6. (...) up for grabs.
Number 7. (...) 'surprisingly spot on'.
Number 8. (...) report of a tussle and (...)
Number 9. (...) the most audacious finishes (...)
Number 10. (...) to be a pivotal moment (...)
Number 11. (...) he was not bothered by (...)


jacob_burns
09/04/2024 21:06
Poland
Manchester United
58

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

My answers to language challange:
Number 1. (...) will ‘go down to the wire’ (...)
Number 2. (...) have been felled (...)
Number 3. (...) allegedly slapped him (...)
Number 4. (...) called Heroic (...)
Number 5. (...) has been the tip of the spear of (...)
Number 6. (...) up for grabs.
Number 7. (...) 'surprisingly spot on'.
Number 8. (...) report of a tussle and (...)
Number 9. (...) the most audacious finishes (...)
Number 10. (...) to be a pivotal moment (...)
Number 11. (...) he was not bothered by (...)

Lukáš
09/04/2024
CZ
16
points

this week's football phrase is a *************


Lukáš
09/04/2024 09:20
Czech Republic
Liverpool
16

this week's football phrase is a *************

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
07/04/2024
UA
6292
points

************* is the FP.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
07/04/2024 20:28
Ukraine
Liverpool
6292

************* is the FP.

Wojciech M.
07/04/2024
PL
26
points

************* is this week's football phrase.


Wojciech M.
07/04/2024 16:17
Poland
Arsenal
26

************* is this week's football phrase.

sisman74
07/04/2024
TR
25
points

Hello Jack. This week, the phrase is the noun *************.


sisman74
07/04/2024 09:38
Turkey
Liverpool
25

Hello Jack. This week, the phrase is the noun *************.

andretorre102
06/04/2024
BR
208
points

Hello Jack,

This week’s story was tough. There were 11 words/idioms to study, and most of them were new to me. I only knew the words “slap”, “heroic”, “audacious”, and “bother”. “To fell” is new to me; I was familiar with “to fall”, but I found out they are not the same.

Here are my attempt to the Language Challenge:

1. The championship opener with Featherstone Rovers will ‘go down to the wire’ says Batley Bulldogs’ head coach.

2. Trees on the shore of a lake have been felled in what has been described as an "act of unspeakable vandalism".

3. The politician has demanded an apology from one of his ex-colleagues after he allegedly slapped him on the back of the head and called him a ... bad word.

4. A farmer has been called heroic for saving a small lamb after a heartwarming video showed the farmer climbing head-first into a large pipe to rescue the lost animal.

5. “When the history of our country is written, historians will have to acknowledge that much of the change that we have seen has been advanced through the Congressional Black Caucus,” Warnock said. “This caucus has been the tip of the spear of change in our country.”

6. Middlesbrough have just six games remaining this season but their Player of the Year award feels very much still up for grabs.

7. Alexis Mac Allister has impressed Liverpool supporters again – but this time for the authenticity of his Scouse accent which has been described as 'surprisingly audacious'.

8. The desire for Stanley tumblers has become a "craze" after images of the colourful drinking containers went viral on social media. On Jan. 3, customers lined up early to get their hands on one. But two people in line didn't want to wait. At about 7:15 a.m., police responded to a report of a tussle and theft of a tumbler.

9. On the Premier League website: Backheels from Mane and Henry. Flicks by Bernardo and Ramsey. Watch the most spot on finishes in Premier League history.

10. Sheffield United grab an unlikely equaliser at Anfield through a Conor Bradley own goal. Could this prove to be a pivotal moment in Liverpool's season? No.

11. Wilfried Zaha says he was not bothered by his difficult spell at Manchester United and won’t let it derail his career.

Football Phrase: *************


andretorre102
06/04/2024 19:52
Brazil
Nottingham Forest
208

Hello Jack,

This week’s story was tough. There were 11 words/idioms to study, and most of them were new to me. I only knew the words “slap”, “heroic”, “audacious”, and “bother”. “To fell” is new to me; I was familiar with “to fall”, but I found out they are not the same.

Here are my attempt to the Language Challenge:

1. The championship opener with Featherstone Rovers will ‘go down to the wire’ says Batley Bulldogs’ head coach.

2. Trees on the shore of a lake have been felled in what has been described as an "act of unspeakable vandalism".

3. The politician has demanded an apology from one of his ex-colleagues after he allegedly slapped him on the back of the head and called him a ... bad word.

4. A farmer has been called heroic for saving a small lamb after a heartwarming video showed the farmer climbing head-first into a large pipe to rescue the lost animal.

5. “When the history of our country is written, historians will have to acknowledge that much of the change that we have seen has been advanced through the Congressional Black Caucus,” Warnock said. “This caucus has been the tip of the spear of change in our country.”

6. Middlesbrough have just six games remaining this season but their Player of the Year award feels very much still up for grabs.

7. Alexis Mac Allister has impressed Liverpool supporters again – but this time for the authenticity of his Scouse accent which has been described as 'surprisingly audacious'.

8. The desire for Stanley tumblers has become a "craze" after images of the colourful drinking containers went viral on social media. On Jan. 3, customers lined up early to get their hands on one. But two people in line didn't want to wait. At about 7:15 a.m., police responded to a report of a tussle and theft of a tumbler.

9. On the Premier League website: Backheels from Mane and Henry. Flicks by Bernardo and Ramsey. Watch the most spot on finishes in Premier League history.

10. Sheffield United grab an unlikely equaliser at Anfield through a Conor Bradley own goal. Could this prove to be a pivotal moment in Liverpool's season? No.

11. Wilfried Zaha says he was not bothered by his difficult spell at Manchester United and won’t let it derail his career.

Football Phrase: *************

Jack Radford's picture
Jack Radford
06/04/2024
GB
22
points

Hi AndreTorre102

Thanks for the feedback. There was so much action in that match, I ended up writing way too much. I will have to try to get back to shorter stories about different features of the weekend's football and stop writing match reports. 

Do you want to know if you have made any mistakes in your language challenge? 

Thanks

Jack


Jack Radford's picture
Jack Radford
06/04/2024 22:32
United Kingdom
Arsenal
22

Hi AndreTorre102

Thanks for the feedback. There was so much action in that match, I ended up writing way too much. I will have to try to get back to shorter stories about different features of the weekend's football and stop writing match reports. 

Do you want to know if you have made any mistakes in your language challenge? 

Thanks

Jack

jacob_burns
10/04/2024
PL
58
points

"I will have to try to get back to shorter stories "

I agree this weeks's story was quite difficult. From the other hand, I'm not bothered by the length of the story ;)


jacob_burns
10/04/2024 09:39
Poland
Manchester United
58

"I will have to try to get back to shorter stories "

I agree this weeks's story was quite difficult. From the other hand, I'm not bothered by the length of the story ;)

andretorre102
07/04/2024
BR
208
points

Sure! Go ahead! Language challenge is the best way to take in these new words and phrases.


andretorre102
07/04/2024 01:12
Brazil
Nottingham Forest
208

Sure! Go ahead! Language challenge is the best way to take in these new words and phrases.

Jack Radford's picture
Jack Radford
08/04/2024
GB
22
points

You have done very well, and there's only one pair of mistaken words. However, the mistakes are almost correct - I mean, you could arguably use the vocabulary in the way that you have. The only hint that one of the words might be wrong is that spot on is more commonly used after a noun and a linking verb. e.g. His accent was spot on. You can find examples of spot on used before a noun, but they are not common, and it feels wrong to me.

Does that help?

Thanks

Jack


Jack Radford's picture
Jack Radford
08/04/2024 11:16
United Kingdom
Arsenal
22

You have done very well, and there's only one pair of mistaken words. However, the mistakes are almost correct - I mean, you could arguably use the vocabulary in the way that you have. The only hint that one of the words might be wrong is that spot on is more commonly used after a noun and a linking verb. e.g. His accent was spot on. You can find examples of spot on used before a noun, but they are not common, and it feels wrong to me.

Does that help?

Thanks

Jack

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