The guide to bullshitting your way through conversations about football.

Pick a defensive midfielder and call him “underrated”.

It doesn’t matter who he is as long as he’s a holding midfielder that doesn’t score too many goals. Defensive midfielders never receive the same amount of praise as their goal-scoring counterparts. I mean, really, just look at his tremendous off-the-ball movements! Look at the way he holds up play and protects the back four! Superb!

Too many chiefs. Not enough Indians.

Whenever a big team is going through a bad run of form, you should blame it on the fact that they have too many world class players. You see, the insinuation is that a team should also contain mediocre players that are willing to follow orders and put in a good shift.

But could he do it on a cold Tuesday night at Stoke?

If the player has a foreign-sounding surname and is well known for his silky skills, then doubting his ability to cope with the physicality of the English game should be your first course of action.

He’s too small, in my opinion. British midfielders would kick seven shades of shite out of him.

If a team manages to string five passes together, automatically assume that they are playing Tiki-taka.

If the team you’re watching isn’t lumping it up the field at every opportunity, then it is fair to say that they have mastered the intricacies of possession-based football. Be sure to comment on the fact that they are playing “good football” and that they have become “a joy to watch” since [Insert Manager Here] took over.

Team X won because of anti-football tactics.

If a team plays defensively, it is automatically considered to be an act of anti-football. True footballing teams will plant their entire starting 11 in the opposition’s box. They’ll be playing their free-flowing possession-based samba-like football, only to have it shamelessly interrupted by an opposition team that uses archaic tactics such as tackling and blocking.

That young lad will be the next Maradona.

If he’s young and has managed to play for 15 minutes without scoring an own goal, then you’re probably looking at the next wonder kid. With some “future development” and a season on loan, he’ll undoubtedly rise to the top and become your club’s next megastar.

It’s a game of two halves.

Did the team squander away their overwhelming 1-0 lead? Was the final scoreline slightly different than what it was at half-time? If so, feel free to use this phrase relentlessly throughout the post-match discussion.

Box-to-box midfielder.

If you’re struggling to figure out the role of a particular midfield player, just play it safe by referring to him as a box-to-box midfielder.

They could easily finish in the top four this year.

If a team manages to win two games in a row, then the odds of them reaching the top four will sky rocket. Be sure to use the word could, just in case they lose the next game and your mates decide to call you out on your bullshit.

He’s fulfilling that false nine role rather nicely.

Does he play as a central attacking midfielder? Does he score the odd goal? Does he push forward? If so, refer to him as a false nine and hope to God that none of your friends know what that actually is.

He’s good at going forward but he’s shit at defending.

A wing back cannot be good at both. He’s either good at going forward or he’s good at fulfilling his defensive responsibilities. There is no middle ground.

Horror tackle.

Was there contact? If so, it was a horror tackle and he should have been booked or sent off. No exceptions.

Form is temporary. Class is permanent.

Use this phrase whenever an under-performing striker manages to do the job that he gets paid to do.

Technique is permanent.

To be used whenever a player that is over the age of 26 manages to cast aside his zimmer frame and score a goal.

He must be a bandwagoner.

Does he support a team that recently made it into the top half of the table? If so, he’s probably a filthy bandwagoner that has no sense of loyalty whatsoever. He probably didn’t even support them back when they were grinding it out in the conference league in 1927.

It’ll all even itself out over the course of the season.

If a certain team is under-performing or over-performing, then you should assure those around you that everything will iron itself out by the end of the season. Bonus points if you selectively quote occasions from the past where this turned out to be true, while completely ignoring instances where teams imploded and everything went to shit.

He’s a great playmaker.

If a midfield player somehow manages to pass the ball to a striker, then he should be immediately lauded for his playmaking abilities. Remember: A midfield player only needs to get two or more assists per season in order to be considered a world class playmaker.

He knew exactly what he was doing.

Some of your friends might actually be surprised to find out that the football player who gets paid 150K a week after tax meant to do exactly what he just did.

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