First-Half Goal Blitz – Learning English Through Football Podcast: 2021-22 Season Arsenal vs Tottenham

In this football language podcast we look at some of the words and phrases from the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham at the weekend – we use a report from the Guardian newspaper to do this. You can read a transcript for this podcast below, while you can also check out our glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at

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First-Half Goal Blitz – Learning English Through Football Podcast: 2021-22 Season Arsenal vs Tottenham

DF: Hello everyone, this is Damian from the team here in an autumnal London. I hope you are all doing well. It’s just me this week as Damon, who of course is based in Tokyo, is busy – I hope that he was not too busy to watch his favourite side Liverpool earn a draw in a six-goal thriller at newly-promoted Brentford at the weekend!

Right, this is going to be painful but on this week’s football-language podcast, I take a look back at the North London derby in which Arsenal beat my team Tottenham 3-1. I am going to look at some of the words and phrases from The Guardian newspaper report including the words ‘rampant‘; ‘goal blitz‘ and ‘claim the derby spoils‘. Did I mention this was going to be painful?

Stinger: You are listening to (Arsenal fan).

Rampant, Blitz & Claim Derby Spoils

Rampant Arsenal claim derby spoils as first-half goal blitz sinks Tottenham (, Sep 28 2021)
This is the headline from the Guardian report after the game and includes lots of really interesting language. As we know, this game between Arsenal and Spurs is a derby – the North London Derby – and when a team wins a derby we can often hear the verb ‘claim‘ used to describe the win; so Arsenal claim the derby win, they won the derby. This example also includes the word ‘spoils‘ which is a word used to describe the things taken (or claimed) in battle by the victorious side. So, as Arsenal won the derby we can see the phrase ‘claim derby spoils‘. Now, they don’t take anything physical but they do take the three points, the bragging rights and of course the glory of winning. The Gunners (Arsenal) are described in the first word of the headline as being ‘rampant‘ which is a word we recently explained on our football language forum and means that one side is completely dominating the other one.

In the second part of the headline we can see more information about how Arsenal were so rampant – they scored lots of goals (a goal blitz) in the first half (so ‘first-half goal blitz‘), while the verb used to describe this loss is ‘sinks‘ which suggests that Tottenham were completely defeated – they sank (or disappeared) and could not come back into the game.

To Overrun/The Interval

Arsenal overran Spurs before the interval (, Sep 28 2021)
So, the verb ‘overrun‘ is used to describe the dominance of one side over the other and it suggests that Arsenal were able to break through the Tottenham defence with ease. The defence was overrun, the attacking side overran their opponents. This all happened in the first half and we know this because of the use of the word ‘interval‘ which is another word for half-time – the goal blitz took place before the interval.

To Tear Into

Arsenal tore into their rivals from the first whistle (, Sep 28 2021)
If a team starts a game strongly we can say that they are playing well from the first whistle – the kick off. To tear into a team means to put intense pressure on the opponents as they try to break them down through a series of quick and continuous attacks. So, another way of saying this is that Arsenal continually attacked Spurs from the start.

Stinger: You are listening to (in Irish).

Good Bye

DF: Yes, you are listening to – that message was in Irish. Don’t forget that there’s a transcript to this podcast and lots of vocabulary support which you can access by coming along to our site. We also have a football language forum where fans of the beautiful game can ask and answer questions on all kinds of football language – come along and join in the football language discussion. And recent forum entries have included, ‘a long way back‘; ‘to offload’; ‘rusty’; ‘line one up’; ‘to wind up a shot‘ and the ‘evergreen Paul Scholes‘.

OK, that’s it for this week’s podcast in which we looked at the phrases ‘overrun a team‘, ‘claim the derby spoils‘, ‘rampant‘ and ‘goal blitz‘ from Arsenal’s win in the North London derby from last weekend – it really still is very painful! Don’t forget you can also come and find lots more football language on our site here at, including our football glossary and of course over ten seasons of podcasts too! Enjoy all the football this week and we’ll see you again soon. Bye.

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

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  • Hi all. Here ‘blitz’ is used as a verb, please let me know the meaning.

    The forward britzes past Marcal before hammering a low effort intk the back of fhe net.

    I also hear ‘diving save’, what does ‘diving’ mean here?

    Wow, what a goal! That is vintage. Please let me know the meaning of vintage.

    Thank you.

    • Hi Sandara,
      Good to hear from you and thanks for the questions!

      Blitz means doing something really quickly so here the forward ran past the defender really quickly.

      A diving save is how the keeper made the save – by diving across the goal (jumping across the goal in order to stop the ball going in).

      Vintage describes something from a different time in the past and has a very positive meaning/connotation – a vintage car is a precious car from the past. In this example, the goal has been described as vintage which means that it was a great goal – a goal that maybe this player has scored before (maybe we can also infer that it is a ‘typical’ kind of goal from that palyer).

      I hope that helps 🙂

      Maybe you can come along to our forum page and ask any other language questions you have there?


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