Football Language Podcast: Merseyside and Manchester Derbies

Merseyside and Manchester DerbiesLots of big Premier League games taking place this weekend with three huge derbies in London, Liverpool and Manchester. We look back at those games in our weekly predictions competition and also explain some new words and phrases from the week in football. There is also a quiz and for those who wish to practise their English, there is a transcript below to help with reading and listening. If you have questions or comments, email us at: (Damian = DF).

Football Language Podcast: Merseyside and Manchester Derbies

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Transcript of the show

DF: You are listening to Languagecaster’s football-language podcast. Hello and welcome to the podcast for all football fans and for those interested in improving their English. My name is Damian and I am here in London on a wintry Sunday evening after a weekend of some wonderful football action.

Line up

DF: Now, regular listeners to the show will know that our other presenter Damon, who is based over in Japan, is normally with us but this weekend it’s just myself as he’s busy in Tokyo – I wonder did he get a chance to see his favourite team Liverpool play in the Merseyside derby earlier on today. We’ll be talking about that game as well as the Manchester derby in our predictions section of the podcast a little later on in the show. Before that we will look back at some of the football news from the week in the good, the bad and the ugly and then we will have our weekly quiz question and we will also explain some football language expressions from the week, including the phrase ‘head-to-head record‘ which some of you may have heard or seen in some reports from the Champions League games this week.

You’re listening to (Japanese)

DF: Yes, you are listening to and that message was in Japanese. Now, if anyone would like to send us the message ‘You are listening to’ in their language that would be great!

Right, let’s start by looking back at some of the good, the bad and the uglyfrom last week’s football action.


DF: Well, it was good for all five English sides in the Champions League after Liverpool’s 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow in mid-week meant that all five of them qualified for the knock-out stages of this season’s Champions League. This is the first time that all five teams from one country has made it through to the last 16 so there is a really good chance that one of Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool or Tottenham could be winners next May.


Now for bad, Crystal Palace were awarded a last-minute penalty in their Premier League game against Bournemouth yesterday with the score at 2-2. Regular penalty taker, Luka Milivojević, had already scored once from the spot earlier in the game; but this time Palace striker Christian Benteke decided to take the kick instead of the Serbian midfielder. The Belgian forward missed and Palace lost two points and left their manager Roy Hodgson fuming. Bad decision indeed from Benteke.


Now ugly; a big story from Peru where the country’s captain and all-time record goalscorer Paolo Guerrero has been suspended for a year after testing positive for cocaine use. This means the Flamengo striker will miss the World Cup due to take place next summer in Russia – a huge loss for the South American side.

You’re listening to (Vasco da Gama fan)

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DF: Remember that we would love to hear your comments or suggestions, and you can do this by getting in touch with us via, we have a twitter page, Facebook – both of which are approaching the 1,000 follower mark so spread the word!. We also have an Instagram page where we post lots of football-related photos. If you come along to the site,, and click on the podcast post, you can read the transcript for the show too.

Quiz Question – Derby d’Italia

DF: OK, it’s quiz question time. As we mentioned at the start of the show, there is big week of derby matches in England this weekend: West Ham host Chelsea in an all London affair; Liverpool faced Everton and of course Manchester United played rivals Manchester City. But there was another huge derby taking place in Europe this weekend – the Derby D’Italia – the Derby of Italy – in Serie A. We want to know which two sides play in this derby; which two Serie A teams play in the derbi d’Italia?  And the answer will be at the end of the show.

Next up we’ve got some English for football phrases.

Football Language: Head-to-head record

DF: I’m going to start with ‘head-to-head record. When teams finish level in a league or a qualifying group they have to be separated in some way. Usually this is done by goal difference but sometimes the results between the two teams counts instead – this happens for example in La Liga in Spain. In the Champions League when teams finish level on points in the qualifying group the head-to-head record is used. So, for example if team A beats team B at home and then draws away, Team A will finish above Team B in the table. Sometimes this phrase is also used when comparing results between two teams over time, for instance, Brazil have a better head-to-head record against Germany: they have played each other 22 times with 5 wins for the Germans and 12 wins for the Brazilians and five draws. Here is another example, this time from the recent Champions League qualifiers: Roma finished ahead of Chelsea in their Champions League group thanks to a better ‘head-to-head record’ – Roma beat Chelsea 3-0 at home and drew 3-3 in London.

How are teams separated in the leagues and competitions where you are living – goal difference or head-to-head records? Drop us a line and let us know.

We have one more phrase this week which can also be found in our ever-growing glossary of footballing terms – we think it’s the biggest football glossary in the world!

Football Language: Shoulder barge

DF: You can use this phrase, shoulder barge, as a verb or a noun. A barge is a very strong push. It is done with the purpose of deliberately pushing someone to move them from their position. In football, a shoulder barge describes the action when a player, who is trying to get to the ball, uses his or her shoulder to push against an opposing player’s shoulder – the shoulders touch. It is not seen very often now, as referees will often award a direct free kick if their is physical contact off the ball. However, in the laws of the game a shoulder barge, or shoulder charge, is legal. Both players have a right to get to the ball and they can push each other’s shoulder with their own – they can shoulder barge their opponent.

Here’s an example from From Reading Referees Association, 11 (February 2016): Football fans often complain that ‘players can’t use the old fashioned shoulder charge these days’. To shoulder charge.


Right, it’s time for our final section, the predictions. The leaderboard after the weekend’s games shows that Alexrr is ahead of Johnny Magicboots – 112 to 107 – with Damon in third on 95 and I’m in fourth on 94. Definitely, though, a two-horse race at the top I think for the winter halfway prize!

Now let’s take a look at the three big games taking place this weekend. First up, is the London derby between West Ham and Chelsea.

West Ham vs Chelsea

West Ham found themselves in the relegation zone before facing the current champions Chelsea yesterday and both Damon and I thought the game would finish in a 1-1 draw but the Hammers won 1-0 so no points for Chelsa or for either of us.

Liverpool vs Everton

DF: Next up was the Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton. As it’s a derby and form can often go out of the window I went for a 1-1 draw while Damon, perhaps reflecting the fact that he is a big Liverpool fan, went for a 3-0 home victory.  It finished 1-1 so a nice three points for me there.

Manchester United vs Manchester City

DF: And the last game was Manchester United versus Manchester City. The top two in the Premier League faced off this weekend with City  8 points clear before the match and looking to put one over their city rivals. Both Damon and myself went for 1-1 draws in this one so again no points as City ran out 2-1 winners.

Quiz Answer

DF: OK, next up is the answer to the quiz question. We wanted to know which two teams play in the Derby D’Italia and the answer is, of course, Juventus and Inter. Their scoreless draw last night was the 169th time they have played in Serie A with Juventus having won 88 times to Inter’s 58 victories. Well done if you managed to get that one right and we’ll have another football question next week.

Good bye

DF: OK, that’s it from this week’s podcast. See you all again next week when we will be looking back at a full mid-week set of fixtures and look ahead to the big games in the Premier League, including Manchester City versus Spurs and West Ham hosting Arsenal. Bye bye!

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