From the highest elite of football journalists and even the players and managers themselves, down to the man in the pub, everyone has an opinion on all aspects of football. However its the supposedly ‘football educated’ studio pundits and match commentators that have a tendency to confirm the obvious through well-rehearsed and used-to-death clichés. Here are the 16 most common offending phrases:

16. “On his day, he’s unplayable.”

Usually used when referring to skilful number 10’s or powerful number 9’s. Translates as, ‘he makes defenders look as bad as Ian Harte’

"You fell ova, you fell ova"
“You fell ova, you fell ova”

15. “Mark the Man and not the zone because zones can’t score goals”.
Zonal marking has been used for years as an effective strategy. If it didn’t work, it wouldn’t be so widespread. Man marking has its own risk/reward factor as well but most teams now use a hybrid of man and zonal anyway.

A Glaswegian Cuddle (Celtic-Rangers man marking )
A Glaswegian Cuddle (Celtic-Rangers man marking )

14. “Your Arsenals, your Barcelonas…” or “Your Gerrards, Your Neymars…”
I don’t own any of these things, and as far as I’m aware there is only one of them. (Although a few Thierrys would be most welcome.)

I'll have these 5 up front please
I’ll have these 5 up front please

13. “He goes missing in big games.”
The more expensive a players transfer fee, the more likely it is that they’ll somehow disappear from the pitch as if by magic. They don’t call Ronaldo a magician for nothing (especially good at disappearing in a Portugal strip.)

I'd go missing too if this was my post big game attire
I’d go missing too if this was my post big game attire

12. “He doesn’t have the pace he once did”
Even if a pundit hasn’t seen someone play for 5 years, if he’s over 30 then he’s definitely slower than he was. Used extensively by commentators when describing the last 8 years of Beckham’s career.

Beckham trying to find the pace that he magically lost when he turned 30

11. “He’d be arrested if he’d made that tackle on the street.”
If anyone decided to dive in two-foot on my gran outside Tesco then yes, chances are they’ll be in jail soon.

The attack of the modern mugger

10. “They’ve scored too early on.”
I’m not sure many teams would rather concede within 5 minutes or not score if they had the opportunity. A goal is a goal.

A goal from kick-off? Too early

9. “There’s no doubting he knows where the goal is.”
You mean to say that multi million pound contracted professionals can tell you where two stationary objects are? Ones that always stay in the same place at the end of each pitch? Footballers do have brains after all. I think even Titus Bramble scored a few goals.

Titus Bramble proving he can spell too

8. “He should be hitting the net every time from there.”
Pro’s can obviously reach the goal from 25 yards but it’s targeting the corners that scores goals. No player aims the ball straight at the keeper in the middle of the net.

However sometimes hitting it straight at the keeper is the best option….

7. “Each game is now a cup final for them”
Cup Finals – from the tea ladies to the star striker, the entire club is in it together and the atmosphere is as special as it is positive.
10 games to go and you’re in the relegation zone – a siege mentality. No game becomes enjoyable for fans, the clubs are under intense pressure and the players develop an increased fear of losing. I’m not sure anyone at Burnley will tell you it feels like they play 10+ cup finals a season.

Toon tea lady on Cup Final day
Newcastle: 60 years of mugs but no cups







6. “He’s got a good touch for a big lad”
Said about any player over 6 foot 2 who shows a decent level of flair. I think it’s safe to assume every professional player has been practising skills since they were a kid. Here’s looking (up) at you, Peter Crouch.

“I’m a little teapot”

5. “This game is a 6-pointer”

If you beat Brazil in The World Cup group? 3 points. Beating Wigan at the DW Stadium? Still 3 points. Let’s leave the make-believe fantasy rules to the mind of Sepp Blatter.

“Hmmmm how about second-half multi-ball?”


4. “Away goals count as double”
No. A 0-3 loss at home, and a 2-0 win away does not mean you lose 4-6 on aggregate. It’s simple mathematics Motty.

Malmo actually only scored 3.5 goals
Malmo actually only scored 3.5 goals

3. “He worked his socks off today”
Nailed the perfect hat-trick? Scored a calamitous own goal? It matters not, because if a player has run around a lot, as they’re being substituted the commentator will let the viewers know that they’ve earned their socks. (And they probably “gave 110%” and “put in a good shift” too.)

The harder the work, the smaller the socks get
The harder you work, the smaller your socks get

2. “Goals win Games”
Unfortunately as an Arsenal fan I can confirm that attractive football does not put a trophy in the cabinet unless the ball is put in the net. A beautiful Ronaldinho rabona pass doesn’t change the scoreline by itself.


1. “Football is a game of 2 halves”
Straight from the Ministry of the Bleedin’ Obvious, it’s a rule that hasn’t changed for 150 years. Utter this classic cliche at your peril, as ridicule is sure to follow.

James Tomkins said the dreaded phrase
James Tomkins said the dreaded phrase

If someone could forward this on to Adrian Chiles that’d be great.