You’ve just dusted off the last of the pigs in blankets, the Christmas pudding is warming in the oven, and conversation has calmed.
People shift around in their seats nervously, waiting for the first person to crack.
“So how’s your football team doing this season, Gary?” a relative bravely asks. Bang! We’re off, and there’s no looking back from the footballing conversation that has just been unleashed.
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But what do you talk about if you’re not up to speed with all the goings-on this season? Fear not – we’ve got you covered.
From basic, entry level chat to advanced footballing analysis, here’s our rundown of what you should and shouldn’t say at Christmas time.
Basic level chat
“Man City are pretty good, aren’t they?”
Yes, yes they are – currently top of the Premier League by 11 points and set to have the title wrapped up by March time, this would be a good entry point in any Christmas football conversation.
For a bit of added conversational juice, praise Raheem Sterling’s start to the season, Kevin De Bruyne’s genius and Pep’s childlike wonder at it all.
“I see Wayne Rooney’s still scoring goals”
Even your Nan will have heard of Wayne Rooney (hmm), so here’s another good starter.
Yes, Rooney is still scoring goals, hitting double figures already this campaign, but no he should not be considering coming out of retirement for England. Why? Just, because, alright.
“The battle to stay up will be interesting this season”
To give yourself a bit of gravitas, also mention that only four points separates Southampton in 12th to West Brom in 19th, so the battle to avoid the drop could be a very interesting one indeed.
Medium level patter
“Harry Kane has been impressive again, though he has had the most shots by some distance”
Quite right – Kane continues to be the shining light when it comes to England’s World Cup hopes, scoring 12 goals in 17 Premier League matches.
However, he’s now had an incredible 100 shots – 33 more than Mo Salah in second place on the shots taken list.
“What Sean Dyche has done at Burnley is nothing short of miraculous”
Indeed it is – Dyche has led the Clarets to 6th in the Premier League table, just two points off the top four and only conceded 12 in 18 games.
What’s that Auntie Susan? Their style of football leaves a lot to be desired? That’s not for me to say – it works, after all, doesn’t it? Yes, I will have another potato, thank you.
“It’s brilliant to see so many English teams excelling in Europe”
We’re finally back lads! After years of underperforming in Europe, the big six are dominating the Champions League.
Man City are now favourites for the tournament, Spurs won their group that contained Real Madrid, and Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United all enjoyed a safe route through their groups.
Even Arsenal are doing the business in the Europa League – Vamos!
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Advanced level analysis
“If you ask me, Wilfred Ndidi looks a brilliant prospect”
Aside from his sending off for simulation last weekend, Leicester’s Ndidi leads the way in the tackling charts, notching up 77 challenges so far, 11 more than Everton’s Idrissa Gueye.
He’s become a more than capable replacement for N’Golo Kante, and the Nigerian has only just turned 21.
“Abdoulaye Doucoure’s goals to shots on target ratio is remarkable”
Seriously advanced chat, this. The Watford man had had 43 shots this season, with only 17 of those going on target.
However, of those 17, seven have gone in, which is a tremendous return for someone you probably haven’t thought about at all this season.
“Of course, the most entertaining team in the country isn’t actually Manchester City”
No, it is in fact Luton Town, as we’ve explained before. Also, mention that Wolves look like they’ll be a great addition to the Premier League next season, the top of League One is full of old Premier League teams, and football in this country has probably never been better.
The Ultimate Conversation Starter
“Do you read that Dream Team site? You really should!”
Obvs. Where else do you get hot content like this?
DREAM TEAM COMEDY – Saturdays without football