fashion a chanceOn today’s football language listening post we look at some words and phrases connected to creating chances in football and in particular the verbs, ‘to fashion’; ‘to set up’ and ‘to conjure up‘. For this audio report there is a transcript which is great for learners and teachers of English. If you have questions or comments about this, or any other football phrase, you can email us at:

Football Language: Creating Chances

DF: Hello everyone, this is Damian from the Learning English Through Football team – we hope you are all well and in this short football language podcast we are going to look at some verbs connected to the creation of chances in football: to fashion a chance, to set up a chance, to engineer a chance and to conjure up a chance.

Stinger: Hi my name’s David and I’m from London and I’m an Arsenal fan and you are listening to

DF: We use the word ‘chance‘ in football to describe a time during the game when a team has the possibility to score a goal. These chances can be described as ‘clear’, that is, there is a high possibility of scoring or converting the chance or maybe the chance is only a half-chance, which obviously means there is much less chance of scoring. But what kind of language can we use to describe how these chances are made?

Set up a chance

Well, in addition to the verb, ‘to make’, we can also use the verbal phrase ‘to set up a chance‘, so for example, ‘Maddison set up a clear chance for Vardy’ means that Leicester’s Vardy had a chance to score thanks to his team mate Maddison. We can also say to set up a goal which is when the chance has been converted.

Fashion/Engineer a chance

Another verb that can be used with ‘chance’ is to createto create a chance. So, you might hear the phrase ‘Manchester City created a lot of chances but were unable to score’ which means they failed to score despite making a lot of opportunities. Another verb that collocates with ‘chance’ is to ‘fashion a chance‘ – to fashion usually refers to someone making something with their hands but in football it means to create or make a chance, for example, the playmaker fashioned a wonderful chance for the striker who then slotted the ball home. We can also hear the verb, ‘to engineer a chance‘ which means something similar to fashion, though maybe not as common.

Conjure up a chance

Sometimes we say that a chance has been created from nothing, which means that an opportunity to score a goal has appeared from nowhere and when this happens we might say that it was conjured up as this has a sense of something magical – the verb to conjure is associated with magic. The winger conjured up a chance out of nothing when she beat the defender suggests that no one was expecting the chance to be created but the player did something special; something magical.

Stinger: ‘You are listening to’ (in Catalan).

DF: Thanks everyone for listening – we hope you enjoyed our look at the five verbs that link with the noun ‘chance‘: ‘to fashion‘; ‘to conjure up‘; ‘to engineer‘; ‘to set up‘ and ‘to create‘. Listen out for these when you are watching or reading about a game and let us know how these phrases are said in other languages – you can drop us a line at and let us know or you can leave in the section below the post. We’d also like to hear who you think has been the best creator of chances in your favourite team, who has set up or fashioned the most chances?

Don’t forget there is also a transcript for this report which can be accessed for free at OK, we’ll be back soon with some more football language. Enjoy all the football this week and see you soon. Bye bye.


Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here. If you have any suggestions, contact us at
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

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CEpisode 703