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Willy Caballero was the hero for Man City in their League Cup Final win.

Podcast 40 - Fair Play

Podcast 40 - Fair Play

Premier League badge.

In this week's podcast, Rich and Jack talk about the League Cup Final between Manchester City and Liverpool, the latest news in the Premier League title race and the ideas of fair play and sporting behaviour. The language focus is on being polite when you speak.



How much did you understand?


In this podcast, Rich and Jack used some vocabulary that might be new for you. Try the activity below to see how much you understand:

"Leicester City eventually got the winner in the 89th minute. Norwich were very unlucky not to hang on for a point."

"Arsenal’s title challenge took a knock against Manchester Utd when they lost 3-2 at Old Trafford."

Activity 1: In this activity, have a look at the vocabulary and try to match it to the correct definition.
Can you match the words to their definitions?

Manchester City goalkeeper, Willy Caballero, was the hero for City in the penalty shoot-out against Liverpool.

Language - Invitations and Refusals

In the podcast, Jack and Rich talked about how to be extra polite when they ask people to do things (invitations and requests) and also when they say 'no' to those things (refusals). In these situations, it's often important to be polite because you don't want to be rude or to hurt someone's feelings. Have a look at the table below and think about what phrases you could add to the table.


Less Polite
More Polite
Can you......?
Could you.....?
Would you mind + verb in the -ing form
Do you want to....?
Would you like to....?
No, I can't.
I'd love to but I'm afraid I can't.


You can see two more examples from the podcast below. If you want to learn more, try the activity below or take a look at our Learn English Grammar Pages.

"I’ve got an extra ticket for Arsenal against Watford next month. Would you like to come with me?"

"That’s very nice of you but I’d rather not if that’s OK."


Activity 2: It's often important to be polite in English, and we use different language to show if we are being polite or not. In this activity, choose the language that you think is more polite.
Which sentence is more polite?

Vincent Kompany shook hands with all the Liverpool players and staff before celebrating with his own teammates.

If the listening was a bit difficult, you can listen again and read the transcript at the same time.
Listen to the podcast and read at the same time.

Rich: Hello my name’s Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast.

Jack: Hi everyone. I’m Jack and every week we talk about football and help you with your English.

Rich: This week, we’re going to talk about the League Cup Final, the latest news from the Premier League and the ideas of fair play and sporting behaviour. The language focus is on being polite when you speak.

Jack: And later, we’ll tell you about this week’s vote and Rich will make another Premier League prediction.

Rich: In last week’s vote, we asked you who you thought would win this season’s FA Cup. As always, we had a great response and it was interesting to see that you don’t always choose the favourites to win.

Jack: Most of you went for Arsenal to win the Cup again, 42% think the Gunners will win the Cup for a third time in a row. 25% of you chose Manchester Utd and 22% of you chose Chelsea.

Rich: But, 11% of you chose Watford. My outside tip for the cup is West Ham, but you disagree and think Watford is the dark horse of the tournament.

Jack: We’ve looked at the word dark horse before. It means a team or a person in a competition that seems unlikely to win at the beginning but gets better and better and eventually surprises everyone by winning the competition.

Rich: Look at Leicester and Spurs. At the beginning of the season, many people might have chosen Tottenham as their dark horse  but I don’t think many would have chosen Leicester - they were real long shots - nobody thought they had any chance at all.

Jack: Last week we asked you what you thought were some of the most important moments in the history of football. Aragorn1986 from Montenegro says that the most important event is the World Cup because it brings people from different nationalities together. He said that the most important event in his country was Red Star Belgrade winning the European Cup in 1991.  

Rich: One of the most important events for AssemJuve form the United Arab Emirates was Liverpool beating Milan to win the Champions League in 2005. I think we can all agree on that one!

Jack: Yes, especially if you’re a Liverpool fan. HakanUslu1881 from Turkey made an interesting point. He said that the most significant event in Turkish football was when teams were given 3 points for a win. This happened all over the world and often made football much more attacking and exciting to watch.

Rich: We also asked you to use ‘used to’ and tell us some things you ‘used to’ do in the past. Kwesimanifest from Ghana told us that he used to go to matches in Ghana’s Premier League  but he stopped going because the quality of the football isn’t as good anymore.

Jack: And Elghoul from Algeria said that he used to listen to Elvis songs. Why don’t you listen to Elvis anymore Elghoul? He was a great singer!

Rich: Remember, we ask you to use the new language we present in the podcast in the comments every week. Don’t forget to have a go and if you want us to correct your language, just write ‘correct me’ at the start of your message.Jack: What’s been happening in the Premier League this week, Rich?

Rich: There was a lot of excitement in the Premier League title race this weekend. It started on Saturday when Leicester City extended their lead at the top.

Jack: But they had to wait for it, didn’t they?

Rich: Yes, it looked like it wasn’t going to be their day. They eventually got the winner in the 89th minute. Norwich were very unlucky not to hang on for a point.

Jack: That’s a nice phrasal verb ‘hang on’. We often hear it in football. It means to continue to do something even if it’s very difficult. So, Norwich were defending a lot and it looked like they would hang on but Leicester scored in the last minute.

Rich: Then, on Sunday, it was Tottenham and Arsenal’s chance to close the gap on Leicester. Tottenham were losing to Swansea City with 20 minutes to go but managed to turn things around and win 2-1. Arsenal’s title challenge took a knock against Manchester Utd when they lost 3-2 at Old Trafford.

Jack: Bad news for Arsenal fans. Arsenal’s confidence may have taken a knock after losing to Barcelona and Manchester Utd. They’ll want to bounce back when they play Tottenham this week in the North London Derby.

Rich: These two phrases; take a knock and bounce back are interesting. To take a knock means to experience something that means that you are less successful or damaged in some way and to bounce back means to return to what you were like before. So, Arsenal’s title chances and confidence have taken a knock but I’m sure they’ll bounce back!

Jack: The other title challengers, Manchester City, didn’t play in the Premier League this weekend because they were in action in the League Cup Final against Liverpool. How are you feeling Rich?

Rich: Not great. Losing in a penalty shoot-out is never an easy way to lose a final. Maybe Manchester City were the better team but when it reaches penalties anything can happen.

Jack: The City goalkeeper, Willy Caballero, was amazing. He saved three of Liverpool’s spot kicks.  Maybe Liverpool’s player confidence has taken a knock but they also have a chance to bounce back soon. Liverpool are in action again this week and guess who they are playing - Manchester City!

Rich: Yes, we have some massive matches coming up, especially the two matches against Manchester Utd in the Europa League. I’m sure we’ll bounce back.

Jack: I have to say one more thing about the Cup Final. You know Vincent Kompany, the Manchester City captain?

Rich: Yes, of course.

Jack: He was great after the penalty shoot-out. All the other City players ran to celebrate with each other, but Kompany went to the Liverpool players first and shook their hands.

Rich: That’s a very nice thing to do.

Jack: He also said that both teams need to be remembered for a great game and that winning on penalties is an unfair way to win.

Rich: That’s a very sporting thing to do and very generous. When someone does something that is sporting we mean that someone is treating another player fairly and in a nice way. We can also use the word generous or gentlemanly here. Did you know that Willy Caballero’s surname means gentleman in Spanish?

Jack: Maybe it would have been more gentlemanly if he had not saved all those penalties!

Rich: Sometimes fair play becomes more important than the game. I remember one Premier League match a few years ago. West Ham were playing Everton and West Ham were attacking. The Everton goalkeeper was injured on the floor. West Ham crossed the ball and the Italian player, Paulo Di Canio could have scored in an empty net but instead caught the ball.

Jack: He won a FIFA fair play award for his actions. I’m not sure how many players would have done the same but it was great to see.

Rich: Vincent Kompany and Paulo Di Canio showed examples of politeness on the pitch and it’s also important to be polite off the pitch, too.

Jack: In English, there are specific words we can use to be more polite, especially when we are asking for help or saying no to something.

Rich: Jack and I are going to act out a couple of dialogues. The first will be impolite and the second one polite. Listen to the differences and see what phrases you could use to show that you’re being polite.

Jack: Hi Rich, I’ve got an extra ticket for Arsenal against Watford next month. The friend I usually go with can’t come. Do you want to come with me?

Rich: Err, no. I don’t like Arsenal very much.

Jack: Ok, I’ll ask someone else then.

Rich: If we had conversations like this all the time we wouldn’t stay friends very long. It’s not a problem to say no to something but you need to be more polite. Have a listen to this next conversation and see how different it is.

Jack: Hi Rich, I’ve got an extra ticket for Arsenal against Watford next month. Would you like to come with me?

Rich: That’s very nice of you but I’d rather not if that’s OK. I’m not really an Arsenal fan and I don’t think I would feel totally comfortable cheering an Arsenal goal.

Jack: Don’t worry, that’s fine I thought I’d ask, just in case.

Rich: Thanks for the offer. Have you asked Rob? I’m sure that he’d love to go.

Jack: This second conversation was much more polite and resulted in a happy conclusion and everybody is still friends. Let’s take a look at some of the language.

Rich: When we invite someone to something or ask someone to do something we can use ‘could’ or ‘would’ to be more polite or formal. In the first conversation Jack said ‘Do you want to come with me?’ but in the second conversation he said ‘Would you like to come with me?’. This is  more polite.

Jack: This is the same with requests; instead of saying ‘Can you help me?’ we should say ‘Could you help me?’ or ‘Would you mind helping me?’ to be more polite.

Rich: When we say no to an invitation or a request we should also be more polite. Instead of just saying ‘No!’ or ‘I can’t’ we should use phrases like ‘That’s very nice of you but……’ or ‘Thanks for the offer but…’ ‘I’m sorry, but I’d rather not’.

Jack: If you want to learn more about being polite in English we’ve added some links on the side of this page to content about British politeness and to the grammar pages on our LearnEnglish website.

Rich: Here are our questions for you to answer this week: Question 1: We’ve spoken about Fair Play and politeness today. How important do you think fair play is on the pitch? And how important do you think politeness is off the pitch?

Jack: Question 2: Which is more important? Fair play or winning? Can you think of any football moments when a team won by not playing fairly?

Rich: Question 3: If someone invited you to do something you didn’t want to do, how could you use your English to say ‘no’ politely?

Jack: You predicted that Liverpool would win the cup but it was City who won. I saw that SalvaGH from Spain, HakanUslu1881 from Turkey, and Kwesimanifest from Ghana all thought City would win but nobody said that it would go to penalties. What’s your prediction this week, Rich?

Rich: The big matches keep coming. This weekend sees Tottenham play Arsenal in the North London Derby. It’s not only a derby match but a match between two of the teams battling for the Premier League title. Spurs have won 6 Premier League matches in a row and are the form team in the division. Arsenal are beginning to fall behind and won’t want to drop more points against their local rivals. I’m going to go for a draw in this one. Final score: Tottenham 1-1 Arsenal.

Jack: Arsenal need to get back to winning ways in this one, let’s wait and see what happens.

Rich: Right, anyway that’s it for today - we’ve run out of time! Thanks for listening. And don’t forget to write your answers to our questions, your predictions and anything you want to say about the website or football English in the comments below.

Jack: Don’t forget if you sign in, you can score points to see if you can get your club, your country and your name to the top of our leaderboard.

Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football!



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What do you think?

In this week's podcast, we spoke about fair play and politeness. Here are some questions for you to answer:

  1. How important do you think fair play is on the pitch? And, how important do you think politeness is off the pitch?
  2. Which is more important? Fair play or winning? Can you think of any football matches where a team won by not playing fairly?

  3. If someone invited you to do something you didn’t want to do, how could you use your English to say ‘no’ politely?

Rich predicts that Tottenham and Arsenal will draw 1-1 in the North London Derby this weekend. Do you agree?
Remember to write your predictions and answers to the questions above in the comments section below. Good luck!

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I can't agree more!

07/03/2016 11:36

I can't agree more!


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