Sunday, 19 January 2020

TLFG: 20-26 January 2020

Greetings and welcome to this week's TLFG.

If you're in London over the next few days and looking for a bargain then you've picked a pretty good time as it's FA Cup Fourth Round weekend and most clubs are selling tickets at much cheaper prices than normal.

You should be able to get in for a cockle at West Ham, a commodore at QPR and a pony at Millwall. If your slang's not up to scratch, do a bit of research and find out what I'm on about here.

Although not as cheap, there are also opportunities to watch Premier League games at Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday with both matches on sale to non-members, something which doesn't happen very often.

It's also Women's FA Cup weekend with this tie topping the bill - tickets
It's also the Women's FA Cup Fourth Round this weekend with a number of ties taking place around the capital.

Earlier today I took up the FA's offer and bought a couple of tickets for the final at Wembley in May for the princely sum of £7.50 - you read that right, £7.50 for two tickets to a Wembley cup final!

I've been to the last two and really enjoyed the experience so give it some consideration, especially if you've never been to the national stadium.

The week ahead sees me head to Paris for what can best be described as a pan-European 'Non-League Day' planning meeting with the team at So Foot magazine and representatives from a few other other nations dialling in.

It's then off to watch Red Star play Bourg-en-Bresse in the French third tier - not the way I usually spend a Friday night.

Hopefully I'll be able to report back this time next week.

Lastly, many thanks as always to those who have donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. It makes writing this even more worthwhile so many, many thanks.

THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, men's and women's FA Cup, EFL and loads of other matches in our local non-league competitions. 

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Cheap tickets are on offer at Boreham Wood this Saturday
Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - blue pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin




TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Monday 20 January

Isthmian League North
Aveley v Felixstowe & Walton United @745pm - the Millers' fine run in the FA Trophy means they have some games in hand. If they win this one by three goals or more then they'll go top

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Tuesday 21 January

Premier League
Chelsea v Arsenal @815pm - we've got a midweek round of top-flight action to look forward to with this big London derby topping the bill. Both suffered disappointing results at the weekend but with the Blues 10 points and six places ahead of Arsenal, they must start as strong favourites. Tickets are not available to non-members
Crystal Palace v Southampton @730pm - the Eagles nicked a late equaliser to earn a 2-2 draw at Manchester City on Saturday as they avoided defeat at the Etihad again. That should give them confidence going into this match against a much-improved Saints side who have only lost one of their last five. Unusually for a Palace home game, tickets are on sale to non-members

League Two
Leyton Orient v Northampton Town @745pm - the O's lost at Port Vale on Saturday to remain in the bottom five and now find themselves just five points above the bottom club who will go down. It's going to get even tougher on Tuesday when the promotion chasing Cobblers pay them a visit. Tickets are available

FA Trophy Second Round Replay
Barnet v Farsley Celtic @745pm - after drawing in Yorkshire just over a week ago and then seeing the replay postponed, the Bees will have another go at beating the side from the National League North. The winners will host Barrow in the next round

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Havant & Waterlooville @745pm - the Hamlet have strung together a nice little four-game unbeaten run but they're not out of the woods yet as just five points separates them from the relegation zone. Havant have been up among the play-off places for a while and will be tough to beat - however, Dulwich did beat them in the FA Cup back in the autumn

Southern League Premier Division South
Hayes & Yeading United v Poole Town @745pm - after a slow start H&YU have got things together and are now starting to catch the leading pack. Saturday's results saw them end the day six points adrift of the play-off places so there is hope. Poole lost to Hayes in the FA Cup earlier in the season and are just behind them in the table but have several games in hand on all of those above them so they're real contenders

Isthmian League South Central
Barking v Uxbridge @745pm - sitting just outside the play-off places, both sides have games in hand on fifth placed Waltham Abbey who they need to catch. A big game for each team

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Wednesday 22 January

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City @730pm - after a pretty positive start to his time in N17, Jose Mourinho has now seen his side win only one of their last five league games and they could slide into the bottom half with a loss here. However, the chances of bottom club Norwich picking up any points are pretty remote although they did win their crucial game against fellow strugglers Bournemouth on Saturday. Tickets are on sale to non-members


Championship

Charlton Athletic v Fulham @745pm - in the second tier we have this crosstown London derby between sides seemingly going in opposite directions. Not much was expected of the Addicks when they came up so it raised quite a few eyebrows when they started so well. Sadly they've been going backwards since the autumn and Saturday's loss to Preston left them in the bottom six. Fulham, on the other hand, are third and closing in on the automatic promotion places. Tickets are available

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Crystal Palace @1pm - you can get a double helping of Addicks action on Wednesday as their U23 team are playing their counterparts from local rivals Palace at Dartford's ground

London Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Erith Town v Tooting & Mitcham United @745pm - the Dockers last made the final of this competition in 2000 but got thrashed by the now defunct Bedfont. Tooting & Mitcham are the second most successful club in LSC history with seven titles but it's been four years since their last one

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Thursday 23 January

London Underground League
This competition sees teams from each of the network's lines and associated TfL teams fight for glory at the 4G facility on Market Road near Caledonian Road station. Matches take place at 4pm and spectators are very welcome. There are usually a couple of fixtures a week - check the league's Twitter feed for all the latest. On Thursday, the Elizabeth Line take on the Piccadilly Line who are top of the league

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Friday 24 January

FA Cup Fourth Round
Queens Park Rangers v Sheffield Wednesday @8pm - the next round of the FA Cup gets underway in London on Friday at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium. QPR have been notoriously bad in this competition over the last 20 years but made it to the Fifth Round last year and demolished Swansea 5-1 to make the Fourth Round this year. After beating title chasing Leeds 1-0 on Saturday to extend their fine recent home record, they next face Wednesday who are in poor form and lost 5-0 at home to Blackburn this weekend. Tickets are available for £15

Essex Senior League
Tower Hamlets v Southend Manor @745pm - if you'd prefer some non-league action then make your way to Mile End where you'll find this ninth-tier contest taking place

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Saturday 25 January

FA Cup Fourth Round
West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion @3pm - the FA Cup often throws up some good ticket bargains and that's certainly the case here as the Hammers welcome the Baggies who currently top the Championship. Tickets are available from £10
Brentford v Leicester City @1245pm - arguably the tie of the day in the capital could end up being the last ever FA Cup match to be played at Griffin Park. The Bees are one of the Championship's top clubs and play some really decent football so Premier League high-flyers Leicester will have to be very careful. Tickets are not available
Millwall v Sheffield United @3pm - there's also a very decent looking game at The Den where we have a pretty similar match-up. The Lions kept themselves firmly in the hunt for a play-off place with a win over Reading on Saturday. The Blades, although newly promoted to the Premier League, are taking it by storm and should start as favourites. Tickets are available for £25

League Two

Leyton Orient v Newport County @3pm - the O's FA Cup run ended early at the hands of non-league Maldon & Tiptree who went on to lose to Newport in the next round. County are starting to generate a bit of form so should get something here. Tickets are available

National League
Boreham Wood v Barrow @3pm - in terms of attendance, the Wood are the smallest club in the NL by some distance. With average crowds of just 664 it's quite some achievement to find themselves in the top five after 30 games and firmly in contention for a play-off place. On Saturday they welcome the leaders for what should be an intriguing game. It's also the club's community day and there are special ticket deals on offer
Bromley v Barnet @3pm - the hosts have been London's top non-league club for most of this season but have lost form of late and could slip below Boreham Wood if results go against them. The Bees are on a decent unbeaten run but haven't played a league game for over two weeks because of bad weather
Dagenham & Redbridge v Notts County @3pm - the big games continue as the Daggers welcome the division's biggest club to Victoria Road. County suffered a surprise relegation from the EFL at the end of last season and have adjusted well after a disappointing start

National League South
Wealdstone v Bath City @3pm - the division's top two do battle at Grosvenor Vale in one of the biggest games of the weekend at any level. The reverse fixture, last month, ended in a 0-0 draw

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Cray Wanderers @3pm - the top 10 in this division is getting pretty congested with a number of teams having games in hand which could make a big difference on the final table. The Towners are seventh and Cray fifth but it's the hosts who have two of those games in hand so a win would be very handy for either

Isthmian League South East
Cray Valley PM v Ashford United @3pm - fifh placed CVPM welcome second placed Ashford in the game of the day in the eighth tier. A win for the hosts could end up giving leaders Hastings a seven-point lead whilst strengthening their hold on a play-off place

CCL Premier Division
Spelthorne Sports v Molesey @3pm - in the ninth tier, get yourself to Sunbury for this top four clash which could have a significant impact on a very competitive title race

SSML Division 1
St Panteleimon v Winslow United @3pm - there's another top-two clash over in west London. If the Wealdstone game doesn't take your fancy then this hugely important game in the 10th tier might. The hosts have only lost one league game this season but are only three points ahead
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Sunday 26 January

Women's FA Cup Fourth Round
West Ham United v Arsenal @1pm - it's not all about the men's FA Cup this weekend as the women's version is also taking place. The tie of the round is to be found in Rush Green out near Romford where the Hammers, last season's beaten finalists, do battle with the reigning league champions. On paper the Gunners should win but they got stuffed 4-1 at home by title rivals Chelsea on Sunday so maybe this is a good time to play them. Tickets are £8 

GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

TLFG: 13-19 January 2020

Greetings and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG - I hope you're well.

I've been really pushed for time this week so I'm going to keep this bit brief.

This week's piece has most of the normal features so you won't be lacking info but I don't have that much to say on a personal level.

However, big congratulations are in order to Aveley and Sutton Common Rovers who gave two of the performances of the week in the FA Trophy and FA Vase respectively.

Tickets for Tottenham's cup replay at their new stadium are only £20
SCR's win means they are now the only London club left in the competition, whilst Aveley are the only club from within the M25 to have so far made it through to the next round (there are a couple of replays pending).

The Millers are one of the lowest ranked teams left in the Trophy and they've beaten several 'superior' teams to make it through six rounds and into the last 16.

Former EFL clubs like Notts County, Stockport County and Yeovil Town will all be waiting for them in Monday's Third Round draw so let's see what happens.

Lastly, many thanks as always to those who have donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. It makes writing this even more worthwhile so many, many thanks.

THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, FA Cup, FA Trophy, Women's Super League and loads of other matches in our local non-league competitions. 

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - blue pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin




TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Monday 13 January

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Millwall @1pm - the week begins with some U23 action at Dartford's Princes Park stadium. I'm not sure of the admission cost but it won't be more than £5

Isthmian League North
Aveley v Bury Town @745pm - the best non-league game of the day takes place at Parkside where two of the division's top four go head-to-head

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Tuesday 14 January

FA Cup Third Round Replay
Tottenham Hotspur v Middlesbrough @745pm - after only managing a draw at the Riverside, Spurs entertain Championship club Boro at the THS. If you haven't been to their new ground, now's your chance as tickets are on sale to non-members and they're only £20

FA Trophy Second Round Replay
Barnet v Farsley Celtic @745pm - the Bees face opposition from Yorkshire as they look to make further progress down a more realistic road to Wembley. Farsley play one level below Barnet so should start as underdogs. Tickets are £15

Isthmian League South East
Cray Valley PM v Whyteleafe @745pm - the hosts won the SCEFL and made it to the FA Vase final last season. They've adjusted to life at the higher level really well and are in the top four again. Fellow south London club Whyteleafe are also challenging for promotion so this should be a decent contest

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Wednesday 15 January

FA Women's League Cup Quarter-Finals

Arsenal v Reading @7pm - the biggest crowds of the day will probably be found in women's football. The tie of the round pits the reigning Super League champions and current leaders against another one of the country's top four. Adult tickets are only £7 if bought online in advance or £10 on the gate
Chelsea v Aston Villa @7pm - in the other match to be played in London, the Blues should start as strong favourites against Villa who play in the division below. However, the Midlands club are top of the Championship and come into this match in great form. Adult tickets for this match are only £3

Isthmian League Premier Division
Cray Wanderers v Hornchurch @745pm - the oldest club in London welcome the Urchins to Hayes Lane as two of the division's top six look for crucial points to help with their promotion push. The visitors bowed out of the FA Trophy on Saturday after surprisingly losing at home to Aveley. As a result of their cup exploits they have four games in hand on most of the top six, meaning they could go top if they win them all

A bit further afield
In the FA Youth Cup, Chelsea U18s entertain their counterparts from Bradford City at Aldershot Town's ground. The Blues youngsters have dominated this competition in recent years but didn't win last season and will want to regain their crown. Tickets shouldn't be more than £5

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Thursday 16 January

London Underground League
This competition sees teams from each of the network's lines and associated TfL teams fight for glory at the 4G facility on Market Road near Caledonian Road station. Matches take place at 4pm and spectators are very welcome. There are usually a couple of fixtures a week - check the league's Twitter feed for all the latest. On Thursday, London Overground play the Elizabeth Line

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Friday 17 January

Championship
Fulham v Middlesbrough @745pm - after playing Spurs on Tuesday, you wonder whether Boro will be staying in London for this game otherwise it's going to be a pretty punishing schedule for the Teesside club. After a poor start to the season, Jonathan Woodgate's side are on a great run of form and an inconsistent Fulham will have to be careful. Tickets are available to non-members

Premier League International Cup
Arsenal v Leicester City @7pm - if you'd prefer a cheaper option, head to Boreham Wood's ground for some U23 football. This competition features clubs from all over Europe and is currently at its group stage
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Saturday 18 January

Premier League
Watford v Tottenham Hotspur @1230pm - the Hornets looked dead and buried before Nigel Pearson came in. They're now one of the division's form teams and moved out of the relegation zone on Sunday with a very comfortable 3-0 win at fellow strugglers Bournemouth. With only one win from their last five games, Spurs could well become Watford's next victims. Tickets are not available to non-members
Arsenal v Sheffield United @3pm - the Gunners' disappointing season continued on Saturday with a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace. The result leaves the north London club 11 points adrift of the Champions League places which the visiting Blades are looking the more likely of the two to crack into. The Yorkshire club have made a superb return to the top flight and are still in the top six with well over half their games played. Tickets are not available to non-members
West Ham United v Everton @3pm - over at the Olympic Park we've got the David Moyes derby as the current Hammers' manager prepares to take on one of his former clubs. The Irons lost to Sheffield United in their last game to leave them just one point above the relegation zone. The Toffees also have a new boss in the dugout and things are improving steadily under Carlo Ancelotti. Tickets are available to non-members

Championship
Queens Park Rangers v Leeds United @1230pm - after losing the derby match to Brentford, QPR face another big game against title chasing Leeds. Last season, a pretty mediocre Rangers side really raised their game when playing Marcelo Bielsa's team and beat them 1-0 as Luke Freeman gave a virtuoso display. Speaking to a Leeds fan I know, they have a pretty poor record against London clubs in recent seasons and have only won on three of their last 10 visits to W12. Tickets are on sale to non-members but you must have been on QPR's ticket database prior to 23 December
Millwall v Reading @3pm - no such restriction will be in place for the kind of derby between the Lions and Royals. Millwall are one of the smallest clubs in the division so they're doing really well to be in the top eight in mid-January. Their form is a little inconsistent unlike Reading who are on a decent unbeaten run after a poor start - it could well be close. Tickets are on sale to non-members

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Peterborough United @3pm - the Dons narrowly lost at Portsmouth on Saturday as they failed to pull well clear of the relegation zone again. With only one win from their last five, they're only two points above the bottom three. Posh are once again going for promotion and they're currently one point outside the play-off places. It looks like being a tough afternoon for the hosts. Tickets are on sale to non-members

National League
Barnet v Dagenham & Redbridge @3pm - there's a crosstown derby in the fifth tier where the Bees will look to take all three points off a struggling Daggers side. The Essex club parted company with former England boss Peter Taylor a couple of weeks ago and they'll be hoping things improve under his replacement Daryl McMahon

National League South
Welling United v Hungerford Town @3pm - talking of new managers, the Wings have just installed former Braintree and Enfield Town boss Bradley Quinton to try and stave off relegation. The south-east London club are bottom of the form table and just above bottom club Hungerford in the real table which means this game is huge for both

Isthmian League Premier Division
Carshalton Athletic v Wingate & Finchley @3pm - my MOTD in the seventh tier is this one as it's highly important for goings on at either end of the table. At the time of writing, the Robins are fourth and are London's top ranked Isthmian League club. Wingate are rock bottom and you wonder if this is the year when they finally fail to stay up - with tiny crowds, they've been punching above their weight since getting promoted nearly 10 years ago

Isthmian League South Central
Hanwell Town v Westfield @3pm - there's only one place to be on Saturday if you're into eighth-tier football and that is Reynolds Field where the current top two do battle for the leadership of the division. Located a few minutes walk from Perivale Tube station on the Central Line and just off the A40, this is an easy ground to get to

CCL Premier Division
Sutton Common Rovers v Spelthorne Sports @3pm - it was hard to pick a game in the ninth tier but I've gone for this one after having a closer look at the league table. Although way down in 11th, SCR have three games in hand on most of those above them because of their great run in the FA Vase. After winning at Christchurch on Saturday, they are now the only London club left in the competition and will hope to emulate former Combined Counties League side Chertsey who won it last year. Spelthorne are in the top four but will be caught by SCR if they win those games in hand

SSML Division 1
New Salamis v Shefford Town & Campton @3pm - again there is no real standout fixture at this level on Saturday but this one between two of the division's top five should provide some reasonable fare. It's also being played at Enfield Town's ground so the facilities are pretty good

MCFL Premier Division
Clapton CFC v London Samurai Rovers @2pm - these two fought hard for promotion last season and both eventually came up. Much has been written about the large crowds the hosts get and they drew another one of 563 on Saturday for the visit of PFC Victoria - the highest 11th tier attendance in the country. Both have ambitions of doing well again this season so I expect another significant turnout here
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Sunday 19 January

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Chelsea @2pm - the game of the day in the WSL is this big London derby between the leaders and the side in third. The Gunners are currently three points clear at the top after thrashing Brighton 4-0 in Sussex on Sunday whilst Chelsea are only four points behind with a game in hand. The Blues were ruthless in beating Bristol City 6-1 at the weekend as the Robins' woeful defence let them down again. Adult tickets are only £7 if bought online in advance or £10 on the gate

GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

TLFG: 6-12 January 2020

Happy New Year - it's 2020 and TLFG is back!

I don't know about you but the last 20 years have just flown by and my memories of the '90s are also strong.

Is it really 30 years since Italia 90 and England's valiant run to the semi-finals?

I'm afraid it is.

One thing I vowed to do from day one of that tournament was to visit the San Siro - I remember being blown away seeing it on TV for the first time as it hosted the opening game between Argentina and Cameroon.

Luckily enough I did make it in 1999 to see Inter beat Fiorentina 2-0 in a league game with the original Ronaldo scoring a couple of penalties.

Baggio, Batistuta, Zanetti, Toldo, Rui Costa and Paulo Sousa were just some of the other names on show that night - both XIs were absolutely packed with notables. Looking back I don't think I appreciated just how strong the sides were as I only remember it for Ronaldo and Batistuta.

'Two Men In Search...' pay a visit to Hampton & Richmond Borough 

On the topic of European football, work commitments mean my next game is likely to be my trip to Paris to watch Red Star at the end of the month. I haven't seen a match overseas since watching Genk v Rapid Vienna in the Europa League in 2016 so I'm really looking forward to it.

So how was your festive period? Did you gorge on food and football or just manage the odd nibble of action here and there.

After a rubbish end to 2019, QPR have come flying out of the traps at the start of 2020 enjoying back-to-back 6-1 and 5-1 wins over Cardiff and Swansea respectively.

Apparently the performances haven't been that different to most weeks, they've just been taking their chances - more of the same against Brentford on Saturday please.

Lastly, many thanks as always to those who have donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. It makes writing this even more worthwhile so many, many thanks.

THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, FA Trophy and loads of other matches in our local non-league competitions. 

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - blue pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin




TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Monday 6 January

FA Cup Third Round
Arsenal v Leeds United @756pm - the week gets underway with an FA Cup tie at the Emirates. The Gunners are the most successful team in the competition's history and given their poor showing in the league, you'd think they'd make it a big priority this season. Leeds are pushing hard for promotion back to the Premier League so they might be tempted to rest one or two for this one but there will be a packed away end and anything's possible. Tickets are not available to non-members

Premier League 2 & Professional Development League
There are numerous U23 matches on Monday in the afternoon and evening - the best in London is West Ham's game against Manchester United at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground at 7pm. If you're prepared to travel a bit beyond London's boundaries, then Tottenham v Chelsea at Stevenage could be well worth a watch

Velocity Trophy
Haringey Borough v Maldon & Tiptree @745pm - in the competition formerly known as the Isthmian League Cup, two sides who did really well in the FA Cup do battle at Coles Park. Like most league cups, sides often field weakened sides and it might well be the same here

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Tuesday 7 January

Kent Senior Cup Second Round
Bromley v Gillingham @745pm - London's top ranked non-league club play host to the League One Gills in this county cup game. With promotion the main priority for the hosts, this could well turn into a development game for both sides

Isthmian League South East
VCD Athletic v Chichester City @745pm - there are a few non-league games on Tuesday but not many really grab me. This is notable as it features Chichester the minnows who had such a great run in the FA Cup earlier this season. As a result they have four games in hand and could end up among the frontrunners if they win them

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Wednesday 8 January

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round

Millwall v Fleetwood Town @7pm - have you always wanted to visit the Den? Well now's your chance to do it on the cheap as this U18 game is being played there. Tickets are £5

Friendly
Ilford v Romford @745pm - although only a friendly, this hastily arranged local derby is generating quite a bit of interest. Romford have recently been taken over by the high profile and shall we say 'eccentric' former Billericay owner Glenn Tamplin. He's completely revamped the Isthmian League side's squad with players from higher levels but will they be able to gel successfully?

ECL Division 1 South
Lopes Tavares v Barkingside @745pm - the hosts have been top pretty much all season but they haven't played for a while and Little Oakley have taken their place. Still only a point behind with three games in hand, they will return to the summit with a win

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Thursday 9 January

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
Arsenal v Southampton @7pm - the Gunners' U18 side take centre stage on Thursday night as they host the Saints at Boreham Wood

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Friday 10 January

Premier League 2
Fulham v Stoke City @7pm - the pick of the action on Friday would appear to be this U23 match at Craven Cottage. Adults tickets are £3 on the gate

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Ilford @745pm - if you'd prefer a non-league alternative, get on a Central Line train to Barkingside and enjoy this east London derby at Oakside

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Saturday 11 January

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool @530pm - there are some big old games in London on Saturday with this one dominating proceedings at the end of the day. With Liverpool on the verge of 'champions elect' status already given their amazing form and 13-point lead, Spurs will have to be at their very best to get something out of this match. The north Londoners are a shadow of last year's side and they're now without the injured Harry Kane so it's going to be very tough. Tickets are not available to non-members
Crystal Palace v Arsenal @1230pm - earlier in the day, there's a derby at Selhurst Park. Normally you'd look at this game and think Arsenal would start as favourites but not so this time. Palace are currently a point ahead of the Gunners and should be confident of getting something here. Tickets are not available to non-members
Chelsea v Burnley @3pm - sandwiched between these two, there's also a game at Stamford Bridge where the Blues will look to consolidate their place in the top four. Burnley have taken four points from their last two visits to Chelsea so Frank Lampard's side could be in for a rough ride. Tickets are not available to non-members

Championship
Brentford v Queens Park Rangers @1230pm - over in west London there's a game of huge significance as the Bees prepare to host local rivals QPR in the last ever derby between the two before Griffin Park closes at the end of the season. Although a smaller club on paper, Brentford have dominated these games in recent years and are actually 28-23 up in the historical head-to-head which began in 1920. A home win looks highly likely again but Rangers come into this on the back of 6-1 and 5-1 wins over Cardiff and Swansea respectively so who knows? Tickets are not available to non-members
Charlton Athletic v West Bromwich Albion @3pm - with the four games above all hard to get tickets for, this is the most realistic/best option for a casual fan or football tourist wanting to see a pro game on Saturday. It's not a bad one either as the Addicks host the division's joint leaders. Lee Bowyer's side ended their lengthy winless run with a home victory over Bristol City on Boxing Day but have since lost two league games, another cup game to West Brom and are sliding ever closer to the bottom three. Tickets are available to non-members

League Two
Leyton Orient v Grismby Town @3pm - the O's didn't win over the Christmas/New Year period and are back in the bottom six. Grimsby were down there with them but a win for new boss Ian Holloway, which extended their unbeaten run to four games, lifted them to up to 17th on Saturday. Tickets are available to non-members

Premier League 2
Chelsea v Manchester City @12pm - if you're prepared to travel beyond London to Aldershot, then you can catch this U23 game before combining it with a local non-league game at the likes of Farnborough or Farnham Town

FA Trophy Second Round
This knockout competition for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers with its final at Wembley is down to its last 32. At this stage, the draw is open and no longer regionalised 
Hornchurch v Aveley @3pm - given they could have drawn a side from Devon or Yorkshire, these two Essex clubs did well to end up getting paired together. The Urchins play in the division above so should start as favourites but the Millers, one of the lowest ranked teams left in the competition, have caused a number of upsets already and could very conceivably win again
Kingstonian v Leamington @3pm - the K's made it to the second round of the FA Cup and are having a fine run in this competition too. This time they welcome National League North side Leamington, a division above, so it could be tough. However, given they beat National League Woking in the last round, they shouldn't fear anything here
Dorking Wanderers v Stockport County @3pm - just beyond London's boundaries there's a tie that can't be ignored as the hosts prepare for possibly the biggest match in their history. The National League South side have risen rapidly through the divisions in recent seasons and now get to host a club who were a second tier side earlier this century. Tickets are available for £12 and must be booked online in advance - no sales on the day

National League South
Wealdstone v Welling United @3pm - after winning their top-two clash against Slough, the Stones then went and lost to midtable Oxford City to see their lead cut to four points. Next up is this crosstown derby against the Wings. Welling are being kept out of the relegation zone by virtue of their goal difference with four consecutive defeats leaving them in a perilous position

Southern League Premier Division South
Harrow Borough v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - in the seventh tier we've got a local derby to look forward to. With wins over Hendon and Walton Casuals and a draw with Merthyr, Harrow's form has improved dramatically since Boxing Day ending a terrible run that had seen them slide down the table. H&YU are also in good form, taking 10 points from their last five games including a draw with title chasing Tiverton. Boro won 3-2 in the reciprocal fixture back in August so here's hoping for another entertaining game

Isthmian League South Central
Tooting & Mitcham United v Uxbridge @3pm - two of the division's top six meet at Imperial Fields for what should be the game of the day in the eighth tier. Although eight points behind leaders Ware, Tooting have four games in hand which means they're still very much in title contention. Uxbridge also have two games in hand so a play-off spot is still very much in their sights

SCEFL Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Sheppey United @3pm - with only two wins from five games, the Becks' hold on top spot is looking a bit shaky. On Saturday they welcome one of their main challengers who could end up just a point behind if they win here

CCL Division 1
Bedfont & Feltham v Tooting Bec @3pm - with new boys Jersey Bulls so far out in front already, it's now all about who will get the other remaining promotion spots. As it stands, both of these sides are in the top four and on course to join the Channel Islanders in the Premier Division but Sandhurst are breathing down the necks of the Bec and they can't afford too many slip ups

MCFL Premier Division
Clapton CFC v PFC Victoria London @2pm - I went to watch Polish club PFC Victoria on Non-League Day 2017 whilst they were still a 12th-tier side and they managed to pull in a couple of hundred fans, some of whom indulged in a bit of naughty pyro. On Saturday they travel to the biggest club in the division who draw several hundred for every game and have been known to let off the odd smoke bomb themselves. Being played at Wadham Lodge in Walthamstow, a lively crowd of several hundred will make you feel like you're watching a game at a much higher level. Entry is by donation
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Sunday 12 January

FA Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United @2pm - Sunday afternoon in London is dominated by women's football with matches all the way down to the fifth tier. In the top flight, this derby at Barnet's ground looks like the best on offer. Newly promoted Tottenham have more than held their own at this level and sit snugly in midtable where they should finish. The Hammers, last season's beaten FA Cup finalists, are just behind them but are in better form and will move above Spurs on goal difference if they win. Tickets are only £6.50 if bought in advance or £8 on the day
Chelsea v Bristol City @2pm - in the other game, the title chasing Blues should pick up a pretty comfortable three points against the Robins at Kingsmeadow. The West Country side have the leakiest defence in the league and are conceding an average of three goals a game. Tickets to watch Chelsea are £9 for adults

Friendly
South Western Railway v Gatwick Express @3pm - for the groundhoppers among you, there's a chance to take in this train-crew match at Fisher's ground in Rotherhithe. SWR have been going for a year now whilst Gatwick Express have only just formed. Admission is free and SWR pin badges are available

GET INVOLVED
If you're going to see a game, whether you're a local or a visitor, please let me know what you've been up to. If you're interested in reviewing a ground in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

Monday, 23 December 2019

TLFG: 23 December 2019 - 5 January 2020

It's finally here - TLFG's Christmas and New Year Special.

My annual labour of love covers the next two weeks and includes all the derbies of Boxing Day right through to the FA Cup Third Round.

I've been working on this all week and there are, as usual, some really great games coming up.

One striking thing about this festive period is the lack of games at the lower levels. In the eight years since I started writing this blog, the amount of non-league football on Boxing Day and New Year's Day has decreased markedly.

London's non-league scene lost one of its biggest characters on Friday
On Boxing Day this year there's nothing on in the ninth and 10th tiers and only one match in the eighth and the same is true of NYD.

There are all sorts of strange kick-off times and make sure you check all public transport details before you travel.

Boxing Day travel is usually the most affected with very few National Rail services and there also appears to be some major engineering work on the Northern Line too.

On a more sombre note, the big story on London's non-league scene this weekend was the sad news of the death Mishi Morath.

The Dulwich Hamlet superfan was known by all and sundry on the non-league scene and was seen on live TV a few weeks back giving an interview to Dan Walker during the BBC's coverage of the Hamlet's FA Cup tie against Carlisle.

Heavily involved in the club's community outreach team, he saw the real benefits of Non-League Day and played a big part in generating the huge crowds that have now become the norm at Champion Hill.

He lived and breathed Dulwich but loved to groundhop as a neutral too, visiting hundreds of grounds around the world.

Known for being a bit of a spiky character at times, most people got on the wrong side of him at some point (me included) but it's a testament to the man that tributes poured in from all over on Friday, even from those who didn't have much time for him.

Very fittingly, the Hamlet's players ended a long winless run with a resounding win at fellow strugglers Hungerford on Saturday as a perfect tribute to the man they all knew.

RIP Mishi.

Lastly, many thanks to Stefan B from Germany and all those who have donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund this year - many, many thanks.

THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next two weeks include games in the Premier League, EFL, FA Cup and loads of other matches in our local non-league competitions. 

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games can be found on the following match maps. If you've never used them before, please note that when there is more than one match at a specific ground you'll only be able to see individual match pins if you zoom right in. If you don't, the pins obscure each other and you might miss them. To avoid this, you can also scroll down the list of games on the drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (orange pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.
Also if you're unfamiliar with the English league structure I indicate the level at which an individual league sits in the national 'pyramid' with the Premier League at the top (Level 1) and various minor leagues at the bottom (Level 10). Typically a top level game will see crowds of anywhere between 20,000-60,000. These figures will gradually decline as you go down the leagues until you get to Levels 8-10 where attendances of 150 or less are most common.

It should also be noted that the top four levels are for fully professional teams. Level 5 has a mixture of professional and semi-professional teams, while Levels 6-10 will see most players paid but it will vary from no more than travel expenses at the bottom, right up to several hundred pounds a week at the top.

MATCH MAP 23-27 DECEMBER
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



MATCH MAP 28-29 DECEMBER
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin



MATCH MAP 30 DECEMBER-3 JANUARY
Wednesday fixtures - blue pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



MATCH MAP 4-5 JANUARY
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin





TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Thursday 26 December

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion @1230pm - a busy programme of top-flight football gets underway at lunchtime. Spurs have won five of the eight games Jose Mourinho has presided over since joining the club and they should more than fancy themselves against Brighton. However, the Sussex club beat them comfortably earlier in the season and roared on by what should be a sizeable away support, they could nick a draw. Very unusually for league games at the THS, tickets are on sale to non-members
Chelsea v Southampton @3pm - the Saints have had a poor season but won their huge relegation six-pointer at Aston Villa on Saturday to move out of the bottom three. If they can get anything at Stamford Bridge to stay out of the relegation zone it will be quite some achievement as they are winless in nine against the Blues so a home win looks likely. Tickets are not available to non-members
Crystal Palace v West Ham United @3pm - there's a traditional Boxing Day feel at Selhurst Park where we've got a proper London derby to enjoy. Two midtable teams could well produce a competitive and entertaining game so this could well be worth a watch on Amazon Prime - sadly it's not on sale to non-members

Championship
Brentford v Swansea City @3pm - the Bees picked up one of their best results of the season on Saturday when they drew 1-1 at leaders West Brom. The point kept the west London club in the division's top six at Christmas, a fine achievement for one of the smallest clubs in the division. Elsewhere, Swansea won at Luton to end the day just behind Brentford on goal difference so this could be a cracker. Tickets have sold out
Charlton Athletic v Bristol City @3pm - the Addicks nicked a 95th-minute equaliser to salvage a point at QPR on Saturday as their winless run extended to 11 games. Down in 18th they're going to find it tough going against play-off chasing City who are unbeaten in three against the London club and beat them earlier in the season at Ashton Gate. Tickets are on sale to non-members

League Two
Leyton Orient v Colchester United @1pm - after a very dodgy spell, the O's have gone on a three game unbeaten run and are up to 15th. Essex club Colchester dispatched struggling Carlisle 3-0 on Saturday to leave them nicely placed on the edge of the play-off places so will start as favourites. Tickets are on sale to non-members

National League
Barnet v Boreham Wood @3pm - the pick of the games for me in the fifth tier is this north London derby at The Hive. Both sides are pushing hard for the play-offs but it's The Wood, historically a smaller club, who are in the top five at the time of writing. A couple of years back they made the play-off final at Wembley but lost - maybe this is their year?

National League South
Welling United v Dartford @1pm - in terms of derbies, this is the big one for these two. Located about five miles apart on the south-east side of town, there have been some huge games between them particularly in recent years. With both sides in midtable it doesn't have quite as much riding on it as it could do but it should still draw a substantial crowd
Dulwich Hamlet v Hampton & Richmond Borough @3pm - talking of crowds, there could be an even bigger one here as the Hamlet pull in the biggest attendances in the division (c.2,500-3,000) which is quite an achievement for a side which has barely won a match this season. That terrible run finally came to an end at Hungerford on Saturday. This will also be the first home game since the death of Dulwich superfan Mishi Morath who sadly passed away at the end of last week and no doubt the club and his fellow supporters will mark the occasion accordingly

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Haringey Borough @3pm - if you don't fancy the north London derby at Barnet then there's another one at Donkey Lane - ahem, I mean the Queen Elizabeth II Stadium. Of the two I'd choose this - it might be two levels below but it's a lot cheaper and hence better value. The two have lost a bit of momentum of late but with their games in hand, they are both realistic play-off contenders

Southern League Premier Division South
Hendon v Harrow Borough @1pm - my personal choice for Boxing Day will be this derby between two old rivals. I can't remember the last time these two didn't play each other on 26 December but it's been a while. In recent years these games have produced goals, loads of 'em - 48 from the last 10 league games! Both sides are having a season to forget so any points will be very gratefully received

Isthmian League North Division
Grays Athletic v Aveley @1pm - if you're over on the far eastern side of town you've got the chance to enjoy this intriguing looking groundshare derby. Both sides are in the division's top six so there's plenty to play for
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Friday 27 December

ECL Division 1 South
May & Baker v Lopes Tavares @745pm - Parkside plays host once again as this 10th tier match takes centre stage on Friday. The visitors are going for the title and could move five points clear with a win

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Saturday 28 December

Premier League

Watford v Aston Villa @3pm - one of the most important games of the festive period is this relegation six-pointer at Vicarage Road. With Villa having lost four on the trot, Nigel Pearson's Watford side might fancy their chances after beating Manchester United on Sunday. This match appears to have sold out
West Ham United v Leicester City @530pm - tickets shouldn't be a problem to see this arguably more attractive fixture at the London Stadium later in the afternoon. The Hammers didn't play this weekend but with two wins from four, they are improving. However, they'll need to be at their very best for this one as the Foxes are still outside contenders for the league title

National League
Sutton United v Yeovil Town @1230pm - with no EFL action scheduled for Saturday the focus next switches to the fifth tier where there are a number of games. The action kicks off in south London at lunchtime where the struggling U's welcome title contenders Yeovil. Sutton are usually among the frontrunners themselves but have found it hard to adapt to life without old boss Paul Doswell who stood down towards the end of last season. Thankfully for the Gander Green Lane faithful, new manager Matt Gray does seem to be getting things to work and they're now up to 17th and building a decent unbeaten run. Yeovil were a Championship side as recently as 2014 so they've suffered quite a bit over the last five years but they're up in second and looking for a quick return to League Two
Bromley v Dagenham & Redbridge @3pm - only a point behind Yeovil, Bromley look like ending the year as London's top non-league club something they'll make sure of with a win here. Alongside Torquay, the Daggers are suffering the worst form in the division right now so an away win looks highly unlikely

National League South
Wealdstone v St Albans City @3pm - in my opinion there isn't really a standout game in the NLS on Saturday so I've gone for this as it features the Stones who are still seven points clear at the top and going for the title. When I was growing up in the '80s, Wealdstone were one of the top non-league clubs in the country. In 1985 they won the Gola League (the fifth tier) and the FA Trophy to do the 'non-league double' but things started to get very complicated after they sold their ground in the early '90s and they fell down the leagues. Here we are over 30 years later and they're on the cusp of returning to the big time. St Albans have been among the play-off contenders in recent seasons but all's not well this year with the team fighting relegation and many fans unhappy with the way the club is being run - the walk-up admission fee of £18 being, understandably, one of their biggest gripes. Thankfully it's only £13 at Wealdstone unless you're a season-ticket holder from another club in which case it's £9

Isthmian League Premier Division
Corinthian Casuals v Cheshunt @3pm  - again there aren't any really eye-catching games at this level on Saturday but this relegation six-pointer will be of great importance to all those involved. Corinthian Casuals are one of London's most historic clubs and gave rise to the formation of Brazilian giants Corinthians and a strong link exists between the clubs to this day. Sadly the Tolworth-based club are having a very poor season and have only one league win to their name

Isthmian League South Central
Hanwell Town v South Park @3pm - the hosts have been top for a while now and if they hold on, they'll be promoted to the highest level they've ever competed at which would be quite a way to celebrate their centenary year. The visitors are in lower midtable so they should be beatable

SSML Premier Division
Broadfields United v Harefield United @3pm - the best match in the ninth tier would appear to be this groundshare derby on the far west of TLFG's catchment area. These sides got promoted together last season and it seems to be all about consolidation this time with both sides holding their own in midtable

SCEFL Division 1
It's hard to pick one game in the 10th tier as the fixture secretary in this division has lined up a number of groundshare derbies to keep you entertained. Bridon Ropes play Meridian VP, Forest Hill Park host Lewisham Borough and Sutton Athletic take on FC Elmstead - all at 3pm. The first is the longest established groundshare so will probably be the most meaningful

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Sunday 29 December

Premier League
Arsenal v Chelsea @2pm - one of the biggest matches of the festive period takes place at the Emirates on Sunday and will be Mikel Arteta's first home game in charge of the Gunners. With Chelsea ending their disappointing run of results with a superb 2-0 win at Tottenham on Sunday, Frank Lampard and his team will head into their Christmas games in good spirits. The sides haven't met since the Blues thrashed Arsenal in last season's Europa League final in Baku and, at the present time, look the more likely to win again. Tickets are not available to non-members

Championship
Fulham v Stoke City @3pm - the EFL returns on Sunday and you shouldn't struggle to pick up a ticket for any of the games on offer. At the time of writing, the Cottagers are London's top Championship club courtesy of their superb win over Leeds United on Saturday. On paper, a game against struggling Stoke should yield another three points but anything's possible in this crazy division. Tickets are on sale to non-members
Millwall v Brentford @3pm - the pick of the day's games in the second tier must be this derby at The Den. The Lions' unbeaten run came to an end at home to bottom club Barnsley on Saturday to once again highlight how unpredictable the Championship is. As mentioned above, Brentford are having a fine season so they should start as marginal favourites. Tickets are on sale to non-members
Queens Park Rangers v Hull City @3pm - lastly, and I'm afraid leastly, we have this game of little consequence between two average sides who ultimately probably won't achieve that much this season. QPR won at Hull during a brief purple patch back in the autumn and are in very similar form to them at the current time. Tickets are on sale to non-members

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Oxford United @3pm - the Dons' narrow loss to Tranmere on Saturday means they still can't quite break free and leave the relegation zone well behind. In fact, it could well get a whole lot closer if they lose this one against a talented Oxford side who gave Manchester City a good game in the EFL Cup last week and are well in contention for an automatic promotion place. Tickets are available

Isthmian League South East Division
VCD Athletic v Phoenix Sports @1pm - before all of the action above, we have this non-league derby to look forward to. If you're on a budget and in south-east London then this is the one for you. These clubs are so close together that you can hear what's going on at the other's stadium if they're playing at the same time - it's about 260m as the crow flies

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Wednesday 1 January

Premier League
Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers @3pm - after a three-day lull the action returns with a bang on New Year's Day with three top-flight games taking place in the capital at different times. Sadly hopping from one to the other is logistically impossible unless you have lots of money and a helicopter. Given that they're bottom, every match for the Hornets will be important until they become mathematically safe. With the Villa game out of the way, they welcome a very useful Wolves side who look all set to fight for a top-six finish. These sides first played way back in 1912 and in the 48 matches since then, each have won 15 times - I'm going for a draw. Tickets are available
West Ham United v AFC Bournemouth @530pm - the Hammers' festive programme continues with an important if unglamorous game against the Cherries. The Dorset club are locked on 19 points with their opponents and both need to be watchful of a resurgent Southampton and Watford who could reel them in if they drop too many points. Tickets are on sale to non-members
Arsenal v Manchester United @8pm - the day ends with its biggest match as two titans of the English game meet at the Emirates. If you go back 20 years then this really would have been a match to watch out for but unthinkably both these sides are midtable alsorans these days. Nevertheless, this is still a huge occasion. Tickets are not available to non-members

Championship
Millwall v Luton Town @1245pm - there's an early kick-off in the second tier for this almost derby (with Luton just outside the M25, any game against a London club is effectively a derby). The Hatters have found it tough going since returning to this level at the start of the season and are perched precariously just above the relegation zone. Fans of both sides have a bit of a reputation too so it could get lively. Tickets are available to non-members
Fulham v Reading @3pm talking of almost derbies, there's another one at Craven Cottage where the representative side of another one of London's satellite towns pay a visit. With only one defeat in five, Reading have improved a lot over the last couple of months but Fulham should still be too good for them. Tickets are available
Queens Park Rangers v Cardiff City @3pm - at the time of writing, this is just another match between two midtable sides but with two games to play before this, things could look very different. There have been some pretty big matches between these two in their struggles to get out of League One and the Championship over the years with both coming out on top at various points. These games are usually pretty tight but there are usually goals. Since first playing in 1932, there's only been one 0-0 draw between them at Loftus Road and that was way back in 1948. Tickets are available to non-members

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Southend United @3pm - there's another almost derby at Kingsmeadow but it looks like being really important for the Dons. Both sides are in the bottom five but Southend have been really terrible, picking up just seven points from 22 games - they would be bottom if Bolton hadn't been deducted loads of points. If the hosts don't win, they will see it as a huge missed opportunity. Tickets are available

National League
Boreham Wood v Barnet @3pm - it is a fun quirk of the National League that the clubs who play each other on Boxing Day, always meet in the reciprocal fixture on New Year's Day so you often get to play your nearest and possibly biggest rival home and away in quick succession. As with most games by this stage, it's significance could have changed greatly given how the previous two festive fixtures pan out
Bromley v Dover Athletic @3pm - the Ravens could be top again by the time this kicks-off  but they could just as easily be down in sixth. Although a London club, Bromley play on the Kent side of the city and are affiliated to the Kent FA hence the reason Dover are seen as an appropriate opponent at this time of year. The visitors had a great run in the FA Cup this year but they're struggling a bit in the league and have fallen to 15th
Sutton United v Woking @3pm - of the three fifth-tier matches in London, this Surrey derby could well draw the biggest crowd. Aside from Dulwich, these two have won the Surrey Senior Cup more times than anyone else (28 times between them) and are almost certainly the biggest clubs in the county. The Cards are back in this division following promotion and are on course for a play-off place - on paper they are the favourites to win here

National League South
Dartford v Welling United @3pm - it's also derby day part two at Princes Park, see Boxing Day for more info on the clubs' rivalry
Wealdstone v Slough Town @3pm - if you're anywhere on the west side of town and looking for a game then this top-two clash (at the time of writing) should provide a decent spectacle. I've spoken a lot about the Stones already but Slough were also a force to be reckoned with when I first got into non-league football in the late '80s. They too have led a nomadic existence since then but they now have a very smart new stadium near Slough station and they're pushing hard for promotion - the gap between them could be as little as one point by the time this gets underway

Isthmian League Premier Division
Haringey Borough v Wingate & Finchley @3pm - below the sixth tier there's really not very much going on at all. The pick of the action is this north London derby at Coles Park where the hosts should beat relegation threatened Wingate

Isthmian League South Central Division
Staines Town v Uxbridge @3pm - the Swans have been poor this season and are struggling again following their relegation last season. Uxbridge are still very much in the hunt for a play-off place and should win here

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Friday 3 January

Premier League 2
Arsenal v Derby County @7pm - there's no rest for the Gunners' U23 side who return to action early in the New Year with this PL2 match against Derby at Boreham Wood. Admission to these games is usually free but check all the details on the day

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Saturday 4 January

FA Cup Third Round
In the eyes of most people, the FA Cup starts here as the Premier League and Championship clubs enter the draw. They go up against all the other League One, League Two and non-league clubs who have battled through the earlier rounds which began way back in August. For the casual fan, groundhopper or football tourist, this round often provides a great opportunity to get a good price ticket to watch a game at some of the biggest clubs. Demand for these games from regular attendees is often low as top teams usually field several reserves or youngsters. The other thing to note is that all matches are kicking off at one minute later than normal to raise awareness of the 'Heads Up' mental health campaign 
Watford v Tranmere Rovers @301pm - the only Premier League side playing at home on Saturday are last season's beaten finalists Watford. Given how seriously they took it last season, you'd think they might give it another good go but given their fight against relegation, they probably won't want that distraction. However, losing to League One strugglers Tranmere would be terrible for the morale of the fans and the squad so they shouldn't take this too lightly. Tickets are available to non-members and cost £15
Fulham v Aston Villa @301pm - there's huge potential for a cupset at Craven Cottage where promotion chasing Fulham welcome relegation threatened Premier League side Villa. With John Terry on the visitors' coaching staff, I'm sure the home fans will be very keen to win. Tickets are available and are cheaper (£25) if bought in advance
Brentford v Stoke City @301pm - there's an all-Championship tie at Griffin Park which is unlikely to get too many pulses racing. As a result there are tickets available priced at £15. Remember, this much-loved stadium is closing at the end of the season and tickets are becoming very hard to get hold of for non-members so take your chance while you can
Millwall v Newport County @1231pm - after seeing off non-league minnows Maldon & Tiptree in the last round, League Two Newport head for the capital with some giantkilling pedigree of their own. Last season the Welsh side beat Middlesbrough and Leicester. The season before that they beat Leeds and held Tottenham to a draw. All in all, the Lions won't be able to take anything for granted. Tickets are on sale to non-members for £12

National League
Barnet v FC Halifax Town @3pm - at the time of writing, Halifax are one of Barnet's main rivals for a play-off place. The north London club should fancy their chances though as the visitors are on a poor run and could be vulnerable to another defeat
Dagenham & Redbridge v Torquay United @3pm - with five defeats in a row each, at the time of writing, these are the two clubs at the bottom of the NL form table. What kind of match it's likely to produce I'm not too sure

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Braintree Town @3pm - there's nothing particularly outstanding going on in the sixth tier on Saturday but it's really hard to ignore a game at Champion Hill. Even though the Hamlet are having a disappointing season, the overall fan experience is usually a good one so if you're new to the capital and want to experience something a little different then get yourself down there. Given how big the crowds are these days, it's worth turning up early to make sure you get a decent view or you could get stuck at the back and see very little

Isthmian League Premier Division
Hornchurch v Horsham @3pm - two of the Isthmian League title contenders meet at Bridge Avenue for one of the games of the day. The Urchins are currently down in fifth but have two games in hand so could easily catch up with the leaders if they won them

Isthmian League South East
Whyteleafe v Hastings United @3pm - the Leafe have surged into the play-off spots in recent weeks and face current leaders Hastings in a match which could propel them into the title race if they won it

SCEFL Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Chatham Town @3pm - there were a few contenders for match of the day in the ninth tier and I've gone for this as the Becks, one of our local sides, are going for the title and look like ones to watch. The visitors are in fourth and it will do Beckenham's hopes no harm at all if they can see them off

CCL Division 1
Tooting Bec v Farnham Town @3pm - in the 10th tier, two of the top four meet in the battle to see who finishes second. With leaders Jersey Bulls still yet to drop a point (19 wins out of the 19), they're 24 points clear at Christmas so the rest are left scrapping for the remaining promotion places. Both of these sides have games in hand on second placed Bedfont & Feltham so they should catch them in the not too distant future

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Sunday 5 January

FA Cup Third Round
Chelsea v Nottingham Forest @201pm - at the time of writing, former European champions Forest look like heading to Stamford Bridge in pretty dreadful form. Since thrashing QPR 4-0 at Loftus Road, their form has completely fallen apart and they're five without a win. It looks ominous for Sabri Lamouchi's side. Impressively, this match has already sold out
Crystal Palace v Derby County @201pm - the Rams are another Championship club who are really struggling to win at the moment. Down in 17th, their hopes of another play-off push look long gone. With Palace looking relatively comfortable in midtable, I'd like to see them have a real go at this competition. Unusually for Palace home games, tickets are on sale to non-members for £15
Charlton Athletic v West Bromwich Albion @201pm - the Addicks would love to get any kind of win under their belts just to build a bit of momentum. Whether they do will depend a lot on which West Brom team turn up. The Baggies look all set to secure promotion this season so might rest a few players just to make sure they get back into the Premier League. Tickets are on sale to non-members for £15
Queens Park Rangers v Swansea City @201pm - the R's enjoyed a very rare run to the Fifth Round last season after beating Leeds and Portsmouth. Given their realistic promotion hopes are slim, I'd like to see Mark Warburton play a strong side here and really go for it. Swansea won here in the league earlier in the season and are firmly in the promotion race so they might rest one or two for this one. Tickets are on sale to non-members for £15

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Reading @1230pm - women's football makes its return after the festive break with a full round of Super League games. Of the several matches on offer, this match between two of the top six would appear to be the most interesting

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