In this short podcast on the language of football, we talk about a way to describe a shot. The phrase is ‘a sighter’. Check out the transcript of the show below, and you also make sure you check out our huge glossary of footballing phrases here and visit our site to access all our previous posts and podcasts. Teachers of English can use the audio and transcript to provide practice for their students, too. Try a gap-fill activity for example. If you have any suggestions or questions then you can contact us at

Learn English Through Football: (a) Sighter

sighterDB: Thanks for tuning in to, the podcast and website for all those interested in the language of football. My name’s Damon and I’m based in Tokyo, and in the city at the moment it is grey and rainy, which actually is quite nice, as we’ve had very dry weather for about a month.

I’m not sure what the weather is like in London, where Damian, the other half of Languagecaster is based, but I had heard it has been wet for a long time. I hope it’s brightened up a bit. Damian, might need a bit of sunshine to cheer him up after his team Tottenham lost the North London Derby 2-0 to Arsenal. I’m also in search of something to cheer me up too, after Liverpool, my team, were thrashed 3-0 by Brighton and Hove Albion.

The word we are looking at today is connected with that North London derby, and it is connected with how we describe shots. The phrase is ‘a sighter‘.

Stinger: You are listening to (Vancouver Whitecaps fan)

(a) Sighter

DB: Yes, you are listening to, and thank you to that Vancouver Whitecaps fan.

So, while I was watching the North London Derby between Tottenham, playing at home, and Arsenal, their massive rivals, I heard today’s football phrase ‘a sighter‘. Arsenal were dominating the first half play and had had a few chances and shots on goal, and then Martin Ødegaard received the ball just outside the Tottenham area. He shifted the ball to his left and then hit a powerful shot towards the bottom left corner of the Tottenham goal. Loris dived to his left and pushed the ball around the post, but it was close!

A short time afterwards, Ødegaard again had the ball in a similar position and tried again. This time, his low powerful shot flew into the corner for a 2-0 lead. This is when I heard ‘a sighter‘. The pundit, Gary Neville, mentioned Ødegaard had had ‘a sighter earlier‘. This means the player had tried a shot, but missed, before being successful with the next attempt. A sighter is like a practice, you are ‘seeing’ if you can score, to see if you have the correct distance and connection with the ball.

Here is what Neville said in his commentary: “It’s absolutely brilliant from Arsenal. Spurs don’t win the first ball, they don’t win the second ball, he pops it around the corner to Saka who is in acres of space, which is unforgivable with the back five, but once it comes into Odegaard – he had a sighter earlier in the half – but this time he wasn’t going to make the [same] mistake”.

So, basically ‘he had a sighter earlier‘ means he tried before but this time succeeded.

Pops it around the corner

He also uses another interesting phrase, ‘pops it around the corner‘. This is a type of pass, when a player who is being marked by a defender receives the ball. He or she has his back to the defender and then plays the ball around the defender, pops it around the corner, and forwards The ball goes forwards to his or her teammate, who is running ahead. It describes a clever, delicate pass, that glances the ball just past the defender.

Stinger: You are listening to (Cantonese)


DB: Yes, you are listening to and that message was in Cantonese. OK, we looked at two phrases today, a sighter – a kind of first shot, which is usually followed by a successful shot and goal. We also talked about a kind of pass, to pop it – the ball – around the corner.

Contact us if you want to ask any football-language questions, have comments, or simply want to say hello at or by using our forum at Make sure you look out for us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Follow and retweet, etc. Spread the word!


DB: OK, that brings us to the end of this short football-language podcast. Enjoy all of the football and we’ll be back soon! Ta-ra!

Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
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I was born and brought up near Chester in the north west of England. I have always loved playing and talking about sport, especially football!
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