Follow me:

Learn English Through Football Podcast: 2017 Merseyside Derby and Arsenal v Man City

2017 Merseyside Derby and Arsenal v Man CityThe international break is over and so on this week’s podcast we take a look back at some of the big news from those World Cup qualifiers – including the introduction of new technology into the game. We also look ahead to a really interesting week of domestic football including the Merseyside derby, a top-four clash and a relegation battle from the Premier League. Read the transcript for the show in our post below (Damian = DF, Damon = DB).

Learn English Through Football Podcast: 2017 Merseyside Derby and Arsenal v Man City

Subscribe to the show and receive automatic downloads every week

Transcript of the show

DF: You’re listening to languagecaster’s football language podcast. Hello everyone, my name is Damian and I am currently here in London looking forward to the football that’s going to take place over the next few days as the domestic game returns after the international break. Now Damon is in Tokyo over there in Japan. I wonder how he’s getting on. Damon, how are things?

DB: Hi Damian. Very good indeed. There are grey skies and there’s a bit of wet weather around here, but I’m looking forward to the Merseyside derby of course. How about you?

DF: Well, it’s a little grey here in east London early Saturday morning but the sun is starting to come out. And yes, I’ll be watching the derby later on today – it’s a great start to a packed week of football fixtures.

Line up

DF: Yes, you are listening to Can you guess what language that message was in? It was actually in Catalan. So drop us a line here at if you have the message “You are listening to languagecaster” in your language and we will play it on our show.

DB: Now next up we have our review of the football week in the good, the bad and the ugly.


DB: So, what was good Damian?

DF:  Congratulations to Brazil who became the first team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia as they defeated Paraguay 3-0 with four games to play in the South American tournament. Brazil’s win, along with Uruguay’s surprise defeat in Peru, meant that the five-time winners have maintained their record of being ever-present at all World Cup finals. Brazil have won eight consecutive qualifying matches under new coach Tite pushing them from fifth place a year ago to automatic qualifiers. Well done Brazil. By the way, Damon, Tite I learned that from Tim Vickery, that’s how you pronounce his name.


DF: How about bad Damon? What was bad from this week’s football?


DB: Well, yes, first of all good for Brazil and just hearing that they’ve won it five times the World Cup, that’s amazing isn’t it. But if it was good for Brazil it was bad for their South American rivals Argentina who suffered their fourth defeat of the qualifying campaign away in Bolivia which leaves them in fifth place in the group. Now, this would enable them to enter a play-off against the Oceania winners (which will be New Zealand) to qualify for the finals but they are only one point ahead of sixth-placed side Ecuador and sixth would mean not qualifying for Russia next summer. The Argentinians have also been rocked by the fact that their star player Lionel Messi has been suspended for four matches for verbally abusing an assistant referee in their game against Chile and although he has denied the charge and is appealing it does not look good for Argentina.

What about ugly, Damian?


DF: Well, sticking with the international football theme, this story is of a club versus country row. Everton manager, Ronald Koeman has publicly blamed the Ireland coach, Martin O’Neill of not looking after the player, James McCarthy, after he returned from international duty injured. The tension between clubs and national federations is nothing new, many club managers dread their players being injured while playing for their country, but in this case the very direct accusation is unusual. Koeman, of course, had a very distinguished international career and perhaps should remember that before accusing national coaches of mis-handling players.

Follow us

DF: Now, remember that you can follow us on twitter where our handle is @languagecaster, and you can find us on Facebook: Learning English Through Football, and we’d like to say hi to all those who have followed or liked us recently – including Vengat, Mahla, Hossam, Raffaelle and Anna. We also have an Instagram page – where we have recently posted pictures from London and Tokyo and of course you can contact us directly at We’d love to hear from you and hear what you think of the show!

DB: Indeed we would and we’d like to say thank you to Alejandro who works as a coach in Spain and is a fan of the show. And he asks if anyone knows about English football academies – these are like football schools – as he is interested in finding out more about the work that goes on there. If anyone knows then drop us a line at

DF: Nice one. Damon, just to say that we also have a forum on our site where you can read and discuss football language. This week I posted a link there on German football language – it’s the Bundesliga’s football dictionary – it’s a great resource for those learning German. If anyone knows of any other football-language dictionaries or glossaries then drop us a line or come along to the forum and ask a question! And talking of questions…

Quiz question

DB: Yep. It’s time for our weekly quiz question. It is the second Merseyside derby of the season and so we want to know who has scored most goals in this match. Is it:

  1. Dixie Dean (from Everton)
  2. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
  3. Ian Rush (Liverpool)
  4. Peter Beardsley (from both Everton and Liverpool)

We’ll have the answer at the end of the show.

DB: Now next up we explain some football language that has emerged from the week. Damian, what’s our first football language phrase?

Football Language: Video Assistant Referee (VAR)

DF: Yes, the first phrase this week comes from the trialling of a new technology in football that FIFA hopes will be used in more of its tournaments in the near future: the video assistant referee or VAR. In football there are, of course, many controversial moments thanks mainly to the fluidity and speed of the game making refereeing decisions difficult indeed. In recent times an increasing amount of technology has come into the game including goal-line technology in the Premier League and now FIFA are trying out the idea of a video assistant referee (VAR). Much like sports such as NFL, cricket, rugby and tennis the technology will aid referees with difficult decisions including goals, penalty decisions, red-card incidents and wrongful identity. Of course, this technology has not come without some controversy with those opposing it saying that it stops the flow of the game but surely anything to make a referee’s life easier has to be welcomed. So, for example, the French manager Didier Deschamps said he was in favour of the new technology even though his side had a goal disallowed and the Spanish opponents had a goal re-instated by saying “If it is verified and it is fair, why not [use VAR]?” ( 

DF: Damon, what do you think about the introduction of this new technology?

DB: Well, I’ve got to say I’m not that keen on it I’m afraid. Football is getting further and further away from its roots and these changes make it more difficult for all who play the game to feel it is the same game at all levels. You?

DF: I’m a fan. I saw this friendly game between France and Spain and the decisions were correct and took very little time to decide – a very good thing for me. Any other football language that caught your eye this week, Damon?

Football Language: Chance goes begging

DB: Yes. Thank you to loyal listener, José from Brazil, who asked about ‘to go begging‘. We used this phrase last week when talking about the chances missed in Liverpool versus Manchester City. To describe the situation when a chance to score or create a goal is missed we say the chance went begging. Perhaps there is a two-on-one situation, two opposition players versus the keeper, and because of a poor pass, the chance goes begging. Or a striker is in front of an open goal and fluffs the shot – again, the opportunity goes begging.
DF: It’s that Lallana chance, isn’t it Damon?
DB: It’s still bugging me.


DF: Right, it’s nearly the end of the show and that means predictions. Remember you can join our predictions and play in our monthly league, April starts today, or for the whole season – or really for the rest of the season. Come along to the site,, and at the top of the page you can see predictions competition – click, sign up for free, or login, and enter your predictions. Now, in the season competition, I am on 203 points with Damon way behind on 165. What happened this season Damon?

DB: I know, it’s awful isn’t it. I’ll put my predictions head on for today.

Liverpool vs Everton

DB: So let’s start today’s predictions with the Merseyside derby. Now Everton are in better form but Liverpool have an excellent record against the top sides and Everton are still to beat Liverpool at Anfield this century. I should feel confident but I’m not. However, I will follow my heart, maybe that’s why I am doing poorly in the predictions competition, and go for a 2-0 Reds win. Damian?

DF: Everton are missing a lot of players – many of them injured on international duty – so I am not sure they will get anything at Liverpool. 2-1 to Liverpool for me.

Swansea City vs Middlesbrough

DF: Now, next is Swansea v Middlesbrough and the team from the north east – that’s Middlesbrough – must win this to stand a chance of getting out of the relegation zone. Their problem this season has been in front of goal, can they remedy this Damon and get a win?

DB: No, I don’t think so, but I’m going to say they’ll get a draw; they did show a bit of fight against Manchester United last time out. You?

DF: No chance. Swansea will comfortably win this one – 2-0.

Arsenal vs Manchester City

DB: OK, and our last game is Arsenal versus Manchester City. So this is another big clash at the top. Arsenal will be desperate to put in a good performance against one of their rivals for the top four places. Equally, City will want to put some clear blue skies between themselves and Arsenal, but two draws in the league in their last two outings is not great form. I’m going to go for a 3-1 City win, though, Damian?

DF: I think this one will finish as a draw – maybe 2-2.

Quiz Answer

DF:  Now in our question earlier on in the show we asked which player has scored most goals in the Merseyside derby. Damon?

DB: Well, Dixie Dean (Everton legend) managed 19 goals, Steven Gerrard (Liverpool legend) got 10, while Peter Beardsley (Everton and Liverpool) scored 7 but Ian Rush (Liverpool) netted 25 times in Merseyside derbies. So, well done if you knew that Ian Rush was the Merseyside derby’s all-time leading goalscorer. Of course, we will have another quiz next week.

Good bye

DF:  Yes, well done if you got that one right. And don’t forget to add your predictions for April as there are games this weekend and on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Damon, who do Liverpool play in mid-week?

DB: Well, Liverpool host Bournemouth on Wednesday. How about Spurs?

DF: We take on Swansea City away from home – tricky enough.

DB: Enjoy all the football and see you next week.

DF: 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
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

Google | Facebook | Twitter | Mail | Website

Join the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More from this show