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Weekly Phrase: To Take On

Football Language PodcastThis week’s weekly football phrase is to take on which has a couple of meanings in football: to try and beat a player and also to describe when one team faces another. Find out more about this phrase by reading the transcript below and listening to the audio. You can also find many more examples of soccer vocabulary by going to our football cliches page here and our huge football glossary here.

(to) Take on

This week’s football phrase is the verbal phrase ‘to take on‘ which has a couple of meanings in football. The first is when a team plays another, we can say the team takes on the other team. So, for example, this weekend Arsenal took on Aston Villa in the FA Cup. Another meaning of to take on is when a player, usually an attacking player, attempts to dribble past an opponent, they take on the defender. For example, the winger took on the full back before crossing to the centre-forward. In this usage, the phrase can be split: the winger took the full back on.

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  • Example: Arsenal take on Aston Villa in the 2015 FA Cup final
  • Example: The Champions of Europe will take on the Europa League champions in the Super Cup
  • Example: The game looked sealed when Mutch took on three players and passed it to former Sunderland striker Campbell. (Cardiff 2-2 Sunderland 2013/14 Premier League Season)
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

Welcome to the website that helps students interested in football improve their English language skills. Soccer fans can enhance these skills with lots of free language resources: a weekly podcast, football phrases, explanations of football vocabulary, football cliches, worksheets, quizzes and much more at

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