language of predictions

This week’s main report discusses some of the words used with the language of predictions. On this report we feature some of the language Damian and Damon use when describing football predictions. You can hear more examples of the language of predictions here. Listen to the report by clicking on the link below, while vocabulary support (in bold) appears at the foot of the report. If you have questions or comments, email us at:

Language of Predictions

The Games

When choosing the matches for our weekly predictions battle we often focus on important games that will affect the top or bottom of the table (a ‘top-of-the-table-clash). So, a relegation battle or a dog fight will involve two teams at the bottom of the table who are involved in trying to survive in the division. If two teams have a similar number of points and are due to face each other then we can call the game a ‘six pointer‘ – this does not mean that the winning team will get six points for their victory but that a swing of six points could have occurred with a different result. One other common match that we feature in our weekly predictions is a derby: a game between two local rivals.

Who is playing?

We also use different kinds of language when describing which teams are playing in the match. So, for example, Spurs are playing against Arsenal or Spurs are taking on Arsenal. Another common phrase is the preposition ‘against’ which suggests a sense of battle taking place as in ‘I am looking forward to Liverpool against Chelsea this weekend’ or sometimes we can say ‘up against‘: ‘Chelsea are up against Liverpool this weekend’. We also use the Latin form for against which is versus (for example, Chelsea versus Liverpool) which is also commonly abbreviated to the sound of the letter ‘v‘, as in ‘Chelsea v Liverpool’.

Winning and Losing

Of course, the most common type of language used when predicting involves choosing a winner or loser in a match. The level of certainty involved is reflected in the language that you choose to use. So, ‘I think they are going to win‘ is a fairly confident statement but not as confident as ‘they’re gonna’ beat Milan‘ (gonna’ of course is a shortened or connected form of ‘going to’) or the fairly certain ‘They will beat Chelsea‘. Less confident would be the phrases ‘Spurs should beat Arsenal‘; ‘I’m going for a home win‘ or the phrase ‘I’ve got a feeling that this might end in a home win‘, particularly as the modal form ‘might’ is used.

There are other ways of describing the winning and losing of matches including the phrase ‘Chelsea will be too good for Fulham‘ that is, Chelsea are stronger than Fulham and therefore should win the game. Sometimes we also use the phrase ‘to have too much for‘ to mean the same thing ‘Spurs have too much for Arsenal and should be victorious‘. Other ways to talk about victories include:  ‘come out on top‘; ‘will get three points’ and ‘should be enough’. For example, ‘Home advantage should be enough to see Spurs pick up the three points.

The Scores

Mostly when talking about the scores of matches we simply us numbers: 2-2 means both sides will score twice – a two-two draw, while if we feel neither team will score we call this a nil-nil or scoreless draw.

There are of course many more examples of language used in football predictions and you can listen out for these in our predictions battle on our weekly podcast.

Vocabulary support

  • A relegation battle
  • A derby
  • A six pointer
A dog fight
  • Playing against
  • Take on
  • Versus (V)
  • To be up against
  • I think they’re gonna’ win
  • They’re gonna’ beat Milan
  • They are going to crush
  • They’re gonna’ lose
It’s going to end in a draw
Barcelona are too good for Paris
  • Have too much for
  • I’ve got a feeling that Roma are going to win this
  • To 
come out on top
  • will get three points
  • To end up 2-2
  • Home advantage should see them through
  • Will defeat/beat
  • They’re gonna’ get a point from Munich
  • I’m going for a 1-1 draw
  • A draw
  • Nil-nil
  • A scoreless draw
  • 2-2
 / 1-1 / 2-0
  • To win 2-1 away

Check out more football language in our football glossary

Check out our glossary of footballing phrases here If you have any suggestions, contact us at

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2012-13Episode 334