This Week: Football Idioms 3
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, Rich and Jack talk about the latest action from the Premier League and have lots of football English for you to learn.
This Week: Football Idioms 3
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich and welcome to our weekly round-up section called ‘This Week’ on Premier Skills English.
Jack: Hi there. I’m Jack. We’ve got lots of interesting words and phrases to help you talk about football in English.
Rich: If you want to listen and read at the same time we have a transcript of this podcast on the Premier Skills English website.
Jack: This week we focus on an exciting final day of the season in the Premier League.
Rich: We’re going to look at three headlines from the weekend’s action and in each headline, we will include an idiom that we then explain in a little more detail.
Jack: Ah, yes. We are continuing to look at idioms - this is our third episode about idioms. You can find the other episodes on the Premier Skills English website in the listen section or subscribe to our YouTube channel.
Rich: You’ll be very surprised to hear that our YouTube channel is called Premier Skills English.
Jack: The three idioms we are looking at this week are: the key to success, to hand someone something on a plate and by a whisker.
Rich: Remember that we’ll also have a language challenge for you to have a go at later in the show so you need to be ready for that.
Jack: High five for City and Aguero.
Rich: Manchester City and Sergio Aguero lifted the Premier League trophy for a fifth time after crushing Everton 5-0. Aguero, the key to City’s success for so long, came off the bench to score twice and break the record for most goals for a single Premier League club in his final Premier League game.
Jack: It was an emotional end to the season for City and Sergio Aguero but what a way to finish.
Rich: Yes, five Premier League titles and 260 goals for Manchester City and in his final match, he broke that record.
Jack: Aguero has now scored 184 Premier League goals - that’s one more than any other player has scored for one Premier League club.
Rich: Aguero has been the key to City’s success for so long.
Jack: And that’s the first idiom we want to look at this week - the key to success. Manchester City have been very successful over the last few years and Sergio Aguero has scored lots of goals.
Rich: Aguero has been very important - he has been key to City’s success. We can also use this phrase when we ask someone: What is the key to your success?
Jack: Here we want to know how someone is so successful - what is the most important thing they do or what is their secret - what is the secret to their success?
Rich: Another similar idiom you might hear is a recipe for success. City have lots of good, young players and despite Aguero leaving I think they still have a recipe for success.
Jack: A recipe for success means to have everything ready or in place in order to be able to succeed in something.
Rich: A recipe is the instructions that you need to be able to cook something.
Jack: City have the recipe for success and have all the ingredients to succeed over the next few years.
Rich: Let’s move on to our next headline.
Rich: Liverpool clinch third place.
Jack: Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 2-0 to secure Champions League football - something that didn’t look likely just a few weeks ago. Defeats for Chelsea and Leicester
handed third place to Liverpool on a plate in what was a very frustrating campaign for the Reds.
Rich: Yes, I think in the end Liverpool will be very happy with third place and they can go again next season with all their players back from injury.
Jack: It will be good for all the players to have a break for a little while - they’ve been going non-stop for nearly two years.
Rich: OK, the idiom we want to look at from the headline is to hand something to someone on a plate.
Jack: To hand something to someone on a plate means to give something to someone very easily - without fighting to keep it.
Rich: However, the phrase often focuses on the person that receives - is given this thing - in our headline that was Liverpool.
Jack: The person who receives something doesn’t have to work hard for it - it’s just given to them.
Jack: Liverpool won but the other teams lost so third place and Champions League football was handed to them on a plate.
Rich: We might talk about someone who has been given lots of money or a job by their family as being handed things on a plate - they don’t have to work hard for them.
Jack: I wouldn’t say Liverpool were given third place on a plate they still had to work hard for it.
Rich: Yes, in the last couple of months they really pulled their socks up and went on a good run - they won eight of their last ten games.
Jack: That’s a bonus idiom - to pull your socks up. It means to start working really hard. Let’s move on to our final headline.
Jack: Chelsea make it but only just.
Rich: Chelsea lost their final game 2-1 to Aston Villa and with Leicester winning against Tottenham it looked like Chelsea would miss out on Champions League football but Spurs ended up winning 4-2 which left the Foxes disappointed and Chelsea making it by a whisker.
Jack: This is where all the excitement was on the final day - the race for the top four between Leicester and Chelsea.
Rich: It looked like Leicester would do it but then Spurs scored three goals in the last 15 minutes which means the Europa League for the Foxes and the Champions League for Chelsea.
Jack: The idiom we want to look at from this headline is by a whisker.
Rich: This idiom means by a very small amount. Chelsea finished just one point ahead of Leicester. They beat them by a small amount - Chelsea beat Leicester by a whisker.
Jack: Whiskers are the hairs that stick out from the face of animals like cats and mice. Imagine a race between two cats and one cat wins by a whisker. It would be a very close race.
Rich: We used another idiom in the headline when Jack said Chelsea make it but only just. The idiom here is only just.
Jack: We can use this idiom in a similar way - Chelsea won by a very small amount, they only just won. More generally it’s also used to mean almost not, we say it when something almost didn’t happen or something that happened very recently.
Rich: Chelsea almost didn’t qualify for the Champions League - they only just made it. Here are a couple of other examples of only just:
Jack: I only just passed my driving test. I really thought I was going to fail it.
Rich: You haven’t missed much - the match has only just kicked off.
Jack: OK, we’ve looked at three stories and three idioms in our headlines. The idioms we’ve looked at were: the key to success, to hand someone something on a plate and by a whisker.
Rich: Listen to the headlines again to hear these idioms in context and don’t forget to look at the website for the transcript if you want to check your understanding of any of this vocabulary.
Headlines - Repeat
Rich: It’s time for our football prediction. Last week Jack correctly predicted that it’d be Liverpool and Chelsea that qualified for the Champions League.
Jack: And we’re going to talk about the Champions League now. The all-Premier League final between Manchester City and Chelsea.
Rich: The match is on Saturday and I’m really looking forward to it. I think City are the favourites but what do you think is going to happen Jack?
Jack: I think you’re quite right to say that City are favourites - they have just won the Premier League and are in great form. Chelsea have been stumbling recently - losing to Leicester and Aston VIlla but I think they’ve been waiting for this one and Chelsea have beaten City twice already this season so maybe my prediction for a Chelsea win is not too outlandish. Final score Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City.
Rich: I’d forgotten that Chelsea had beaten City twice this season but I’m still going for a City win. I think City will win 1-0.
Jack: And a quick mention of the Europa League Final. Manchester United play the Spanish team - Villareal. We both think United will win, don’t we?
Rich: I think they will, yes.
Jack: We want you to make your predictions and talk about all this week’s football on the Premier Skills English website.
Jack: To finish up the show we’ve got a quick language challenge connected to this week’s vocabulary.
Rich: We looked at three idioms in this week’s headlines, and your language challenge is to learn three more idioms. You may have noticed that we spoke about some other idioms and phrases, in the headlines.
Jack: We’re going to give you three sentences and you have to guess the missing words from the phrases. If you can’t remember or you’re not sure you can find all of them in the transcript or you can try listening to the podcast again.
Rich: Here are the three sentences. You have to try to guess the missing word. Are you ready?
Jack: Number one: Having attacking full-backs has become a ________ for success in the Premier League.
Rich: Number two: He really needs to ______ his socks up if he doesn’t want to be left on the substitutes bench.
Jack: Number three: Sergio Aguero only _______ beat the record for the most goals scored for a single Premier League club.
Rich: We want you to write the answers on the Premier Skills English website where we have some more questions and activities connected to this week’s show.
Jack: Or write your answers on Apple Podcasts or on Youtube if that’s where you listen to us. Just write the answers in the comments and say hi.
Rich: Before we finish we just wanted to say that we hope you found this lesson useful and we hope all of you stay fit and healthy.
Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football.
High five for City and Aguero
Manchester City and Sergio Aguero lifted the Premier League trophy for a fifth time after crushing Everton 5-0. Aguero, the key to City’s success for so long, came off the bench to score twice and break the record for most goals for a single Premier League club in his final Premier League game.
Liverpool clinch third place
Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 2-0 to secure Champions League football - something that didn’t look likely just a few weeks ago. Defeats for Chelsea and Leicester handed third place to Liverpool on a plate in what was a frustrating campaign for the Reds.
Chelsea make it but only just
Chelsea lost their final game 2-1 to Aston Villa and with Leicester winning against Tottenham it looked like Chelsea would miss out on Champions League football but Spurs ended up winning 4-2 which left the Foxes disappointed and Chelsea making it by a whisker.
Idioms in the headlines
We looked at six words and phrases in our headlines that you can learn to improve your English. Take a look at the idioms in bold. Do you understand what they mean?
Aguero, the key to City’s success for so long, came off the bench to score twice
Defeats for Chelsea and Leicester handed third place on a plate to Liverpool.
Chelsea made the Champions League by a whisker.
Football Prediction: Chelsea v Manchester City
This week sees Chelsea play Manchester City in the Champions League Final and Manchester United play Villareal in the Europa League Final. What do you think will happen? Make your predictions in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Champions League Final
Chelsea v Manchester City
Europa League Final
Manchester United v Villarreal
Jack and Rich set you a language challenge. In the podcast, we focussed on three idioms. Here are three sentences that use three different idioms from the podcast. Can you guess the missing words?
Having attacking full-backs has become a ________ for success in the Premier League.
He really needs to ______ his socks up if he doesn’t want to be left on the substitutes bench.
Sergio Aguero only _______ beat the record for the most number of goals scored for a single Premier League club.
Write the correct answer in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Talk about the headlines
Jack and Rich looked at three stories in the news and some idioms that might be new for you. Now it's your turn! Have a look at the questions and write your answers in the comments section below.
- What has been the key to Manchester City's success this season??
- Did Liverpool work their socks off or were they handed third place on a plate?
- Which team got into the Champions League by a whisker?
- Have you got a Champions or Europa League prediction?
- Can you do our language challenge?
Write your comments and answers in the section below