Football Language: Put on a plate
The phrase ‘to put on a plate‘ means to serve something for somebody, to give them something. It combines both the meaning do a service for someone and to give someone something. In football, if you put it (the ball) on a plate, you present a player with a good scoring chance. The pass is so good that it creates a good opportunity. You mostly hear this phrase describing a cross from the flanks, the wings, into the centre of the box. The verb hand is sometimes used – to hand someone something on a plate – which has a slightly wider meaning, as it could refer to allowing a team the chance to win a match as well as the meaning to score a goal.
Example: “He puts the ball on a plate for Foden, whipping it perfectly across the face of the goal where the Man City midfielder cannot miss at the far post.” (Telegraph minute-by-minute October 2017)
Example: “The trouble with Tottenham on this occasion was that they handed the points to Chelsea on a plate and Chelsea’s men took them.” (The Mirror, August 2017)