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Learn English Through Football Podcast: 2018 North London Derby

2018 North London Derby

This weekend’s big game is the North London derby that takes place on Saturday at Wembley and we’ll be featuring this match in our predictions section along with another needle match: Southampton against Liverpool. We’ll look back at some of the footballing news from the week in the good, the bad and the ugly and of course we’ll be explaining lots of football language in the show as well. You can see the transcript for the show below and if you have questions or comments, email us at: (Damon= DB; Damian  DF).

Football Language Podcast: 2018 North London Derby

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Transcript of the show

DF: You are listening to Languagecaster’s football-language podcast. Hello everyone and welcome to the show for all fans of football and espcially those who wish to improve their football language. My name is Damian and I am in London where the weather is a little grey and cold but still good weather for football. I am getting ready for the North London derby between my favourite team Tottenham and our arch-rivals Arsenal that’s going to take place in a few hours. There is, of course, lots of needle between those two teams but luckily not too much needle between myself and Damon who is over in Tokyo – Damon, how are things? Did you manage to survive the languagecaster derby?

DB: Well, let’s just say I was a bit disappointed at the end to have a win snatched away in the last minute of the game. But, I mustn’t grumble! What did you think?

DF:  Well if it was five minutes before that, I think I could have said the same thing as well But it was a great game. I mean it had everything, didn’t it. And people were talking about it all week. So, what do we have on the show today?

Line up

DB: We’ll start with some news from the footballing world this week including stories about Swansea, Chelsea and some sad news from Irish football. We’ve also got some football phrases to explain for those wanting to learn more about footballing English and this week we’ll talk about ‘hand a team a defeat‘ and ‘needle‘.

DB: And have we got a quiz question?

DF: Yes we do, and this week it is all about derbies.

DB: And that’ll bring us to predictions at the end of the show, right?

DF: Yes, that’s right! And don’t forget of course that you can also read the transcript for this show by coming along to our site here at, while ou can also read it on your phone.

You’re listening to (Italian)

DB: And we’d love more of you to send us a message just like that with the team you follow and where you are from in English or your own language – just include ‘you are listening to’ Right, now, the good, the bad and the ugly, the footballing news. What was good Damian?


DF:  It’s been a good week for Swansea City as they continue their remarkable turnaround under Portuguese manager Carlos Carvalhal. Since he took over as manager they have only been beaten once in 11 games and on Tuesday night they hit eight past League Two side Notts County in an FA Cup 4th Round replay. Things are looking up for the Welsh side and as their manager has said – the Swans are starting to fly. How about bad?


DB: It’s been a bad week or so for the champions of England, Chelsea. After receiving a surprising 3-0 home thrashing against Bournemouth, the Blues were beaten by another three-goal margin on Monday night when they lost 4-1 at Watford. Their midfielder Bakayoko was also sent off for two yellow cars after only half an hour and the team was not able to respond at all. Tough times for their manager Antonio Conte who looks like he might be on his way out of the club.

DF: Yes, there’s a lot of talk in British media hear about the fact that Conte is about to leave I think.

DB: Yep.


DF: I’m not going to talk about an ugly story this weekend but instead will report on some sad news concerning Liam Miller who played for Celtic, Manchester United and Ireland who sadly passed away yesterday at the very young age of 36. Very sad news indeed.

Follow us

DB: Now, of course you can get in touch with us by coming along to our site at, while we also have a twitter and Facebook account. Listeners to the show can also follow us on Instagram and if you want to contact us by email you can do so by writing to us at We’d also love to hear from you. Don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly podcast – you can do this with i-tunes, tunedin, stitcher or any other podcast player and make sure you also tell your friends who are interested in learning more about football language.

Quiz Question

DB: OK, time for our weekly quiz question; what do we have for this week’s question.

DF:  Well Damon, as it is the North London derby this weekend we thought we’d take a look at some of the other big derby games. We want to know which two teams play in the following derbies:

  1. The Second City Derby – this one is in England’s championship.
  2. The superclasico in Buenos Aires
  3. Il Derby Capitolino from Italy.

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

DB: Good stuff. Next up we explain some football language.

Football Language: To hand a team a defeat

DF: I’m going to start by explaining the phrase ‘to hand a team a defeat’. When a team defeats an opponent you will sometimes hear or read that they have handed a team a defeat, as in Tottenham handed Manchester United a second defeat in a row, which means that Manchester United have a lost for the second time in succession. The phrase is often used with numbers so for instance, West Ham were handed a third defeat in a row or Real Madrid handed Sevilla a second defeat of the season are heard quite commonly. Here’s an example from the BBC (Feb 4th 2018) about Scottish football where leaders and current champions Celtic were beaten by Kilmarnock last week. This was a bit of a surprise as Celtic had only lost once this season until ‘Kilmarnock handed Celtic second domestic defeat under Rodgers’ – Rodgers, of course, is the Celtic manager. To hand a team a defeat.

DF: I’m hoping that Spurs hand Arsenal a defeat in today’s derby. Any other language Damon?

Football Language: Needle

DB: Well, I’m going to focus on the word ‘needle‘. Needle is a non-countable noun. Needle is a feeling of hostility towards an opponent. It could be a personal rivalry, when a player does not like another player. It can also refer to when there is hostility, dislike, between two teams. If there is needle, it is stronger than rivalry, as it includes a feeling of dislike. So, here’s an example from the The Telegraph (May 2017): ‘Stoke’s alleged roughhouse tactics, Wenger’s protests and the Ryan Shawcross tackle that broke Aaron Ramsey’s leg in 2010 have created genuine needle between the two sides’.

DF: Yes, there is needle between Stoke and Arsenal, how about for Liverpool; what games involve needle for the Reds?

DB: Needle for Liverpool, well, after last weekend’s game against Spurs there may be a bit of needle next time we meet!

DF: Right, next up is our predictions section.


Tottenham Hotspur vs Arsenal

DB: OK, let’s start with the big derby this weekend – it kicks off in just under an hour. Damian are you nervous?

DF: Yes, of course!. It’s funny because we are playing very well at the moment and players are coming back from injury, confidence is high and we are at home. But that home is not the same as White Hart Lane, our opponents Arsenal have bought well in the transfer window and are buoyant – they are very confident – after defeating Everton 5-1 last week. I’m hoping for a 2-0 victory… You?

DB: I’m hoping for a 0-0 draw with a few red cards. Both Arsenal and Tottenham are just behind Liverpool in the table so a draw would suit us. And I think it will be a draw – but hopefully an exciting 2-2.

Southampton vs Liverpool

DF: Next up is Southampton hosting Liverpool which takes place on Sunday and there is definitely some needle between these two sides as Liverpool seem to have signed half of the Saints squad over the past few seasons. I still think Liverpool will have too much for the home side and run out 3-1 winners. You?

DB: You’re right, there is definitely going to be a bit of needle in this game, with the Southampton fans booing every touch by Lovren and Van Dyke, not to mention Mane. I’m not confident and I think this could be a slip up from Liverpool 1-1.

Chelsea vs West Bromich Albion

DB:  Our last game for this week takes place on Monday night and involves Chelsea and West Brom. On paper this should be a comfortable home victory but as we mentioned earlier in the show Chelsea are not playing well at all. Damian?

DF:  I can’t see the Blues losing for the third time in a row – 2-0 for me. You?

DB: Neither can I, but I can see them drawing. 2-2 for me. Now that’s three draws this week from me.

Quiz Answer

DB: Now, before we go, what was the answer to the quiz question, Damian?

DF:  We wanted to know which teams play in the following derbies. The Second City Derby – this one is in England’s championship. This is taking place this weekend when Aston Villa play Birmingham city in the Championship. The second one is the superclasico in Buenos Aires. Did you know this one Damon?

DB: I certainly did. That’s Boca Juniors facing River Plate.

DF: Yep. How about the third one, Il Derby Capitolino from Italy. did you know that one?

DB: Well, the capitalino gave me a little bit of a hint there, because that’s capital, so I think that’s the Rome derby- Lazio against Roma.

DF: That’s right. Good stuff and we’ll have another quiz question next week.

Good bye

DF: Right. That’s it for the show this week. Enjoy all of the football. Next week is the FA Cup 5th Round and we’ll be looking at some of the big games taking place there and also looking back at some of the Champions League last 16 first leg matches including Tottenham’s trip to Juventus and Liverpool’s game in Porto.


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Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

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