Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time. We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.
This episode is easy so we’re looking at common football words and phrases. Things you use and need to know to play the game.
Learn more football vocabulary with Premier Skills English. Each lesson in our Premier Vocabulary section looks at one football word or phrase. This lesson looks at the word formation.
You can find more lessons on the side of this page.
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich and welcome to Premier Skills English - Premier Vocabulary.
Jack: Hi there! I’m Jack. We’re here to help you with your football English. Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time.
Rich: We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.
Jack: This episode is easy so we’re looking at common football words and phrases; things you use and need to know to play the game.
Rich: The word we are looking at in this episode is formation.
Jack: Formation is a word that you will see in and out of a football context.
Rich: There are a number of meanings of formation but we’re going to focus on just one meaning - how it is used to describe shapes and patterns.
Jack: We can talk about cloud formations - the shapes clouds make in the sky. My favourite cloud formations are the big summer storm clouds, great cumulonimbus clouds.
Rich: I like little fluffy clouds, little cumulus. We can also talk about rock formations. The weather often changes the shape of rocks to produce different rock formations.
Jack: Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland is probably the most famous rock formation in the UK.
Rich: We can also talk about things and people that are in formation. Soldiers march in formation or aircraft might fly in formation.
Jack: This means they march or fly in a specific shape or pattern.
Rich: Here’s a tricky sentence: We could look for more information about how planes fly in formation.
Jack: When we use the word formation in a football context we are nearly always speaking about a team’s pattern or shape on the pitch.
Rich: We talk might about a 4-4-2 formation or a 3-5-2 formation or a 4-3-3 formation.
Jack: The numbers are used to describe where players are usually positioned on the pitch. The first number is used to say how many defenders there are in the formation, the second number is for midfielders and the third for attackers.
Rich: So if a team has a 4-4-2 formation they play with four defenders, four midfielders and two attackers.
Jack: Managers and coaches may use different formations depending on how attacking or defensive they want to be in a game.
Rich: A 4-5-1 formation is quite a defensive formation. A 4-3-3 formation is a more attacking formation.
Jack: Teams often change formation during a game depending on whether they need to attack or defend more.
Rich: There is the final whistle!
Jack: We’ll be back soon with more Premier Vocabulary from Premier Skills English.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football.
Which formation does your team use?
Which formation do you think is most effective?