Sunday, 23 October 2011

TLFG: 24-30 October 2011

A short break to sunny Lyme Regis meant I only managed the one game this week but what a game! My Sunday afternoon was spent at Loftus Road for the big West London derby between QPR and Chelsea.

The trials and tribulations that have affected the Shepherd's Bush club in recent years meant that these two clubs hadn't met in a top flight game in W12 since 1996 so to say the Rangers fans were up for this one was an understatement.

The atmosphere generated by both sets of supporters was superb and as most of you know an enthralling game ensued with QPR edging to a 1-0 victory. In my honest opinion, Chelsea were unlucky and gave a masterclass in how to play with nine men - they did everything but score. However, QPR fought hard and got the luck and result they needed.

The next seven days are again packed with some very entertaining looking games. As well as league football, the FA Cup reaches the fourth qualifying round stage with a number of clubs in the London area just 90 minutes away from a potential first round meeting against a League One or Two club.

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures

View London midweek match map 24-28 October 2011 in a larger map

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London weekend match map 29-30 October 2011 in a larger map

With 67 matches taking place in the capital over the next week, here are my recommendations:


CHELSEA v ARSENAL (Saturday 29 October, 1245pm)
London's two biggest clubs meeting at Stamford Bridge needs no real introduction - it's a huge game. With Chelsea smarting from defeat at QPR, they'll be looking to bounce back in the league as soon as possible but the improving Gunners will put up stiff resistance.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v QPR (Sunday 30 October, 4pm)
Two London derbies in a weekend - we're really being spoiled. Spurs must definitely start as favourites but Rangers will be buoyed by their win over Chelsea and will approach the game with renewed confidence.

CRYSTAL PALACE v SOUTHAMPTON (Tuesday 25 October, 745pm)
The Championship's third and first placed teams (at time of writing) go head-to-head in this Carling Cup fourth round tie. How seriously they'll both take it is unclear at this stage but they've both got to this stage so they must be pretty keen.

BRENTFORD v STEVENAGE (Tuesday 25 October, 745pm)
I haven't given the Bees a mention since launching this blog and I feel this League One fixture is worth a go. Although not within the M25, Stevenage lies only a little way outside it so this comes close to being a derby game. It is also possible that if results go Brentford's way, they could climb into the play-off places.

BARNET v SOUTHEND UNITED (Tuesday 25 October, 745pm)
In a similar way to the game above, this has derby potential too and that's the main reason for choosing it. The Underhill club are becoming perennial strugglers and this season appears to be no different (they start this game in the bottom two). The Shrimpers, however, have made a great start and could go top if they win.

DARTFORD v BROMLEY (Saturday 29 October, 3pm)
These two Kent clubs meet in a mouthwatering FA Cup fourth qualifying tie on Saturday. With a possible meeting against a League One or Two club awaiting the winners, there is plenty at stake. The hosts took the honours (winning 3-1) when the teams met at the end of August in the Blue Square Bet South. Dartford are eight points and eight places above the Ravens in the table so should be favourites.

REDBRIDGE v EBBSFLEET UNITED (Saturday 29 October, 3pm)
Another intriguing FA Cup tie for your consideration at Oakside. The home team have had a pretty average season so far in the Ryman League Division One North but have enjoyed a fine FA Cup run and will really fancy giving their Blue Square Bet Premier opponents a run for their money. Possible cupset.

SUTTON UNITED v LEATHERHEAD (Saturday 29 October, 3pm)
On paper, the in form Us should seal their place in the FA Cup first round. They beat Bognor 4-0 in the last round and are currently just three points off top spot in the Blue Square Bet South. By contrast the Tanners have had a very poor start in the league, having won just one out of 11 but they did record a handsome win at Billericay in the last round of the cup so can't be written off.

THURROCK v DARTFORD (Tuesday 25 October, 745pm)
I try to avoid recommending the same team twice in a week but this game can't escape a mention. Although the teams are a long way apart in the Blue Square Bet South, they are just a short distance apart on either side of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge over the Thames. With both sides needing the points to fight relegation and to push for promotion respectively, there will be plenty to play for at Ship Lane.

BEDFONT SPORTS v GUERNSEY (Saturday 29 October, 3pm)
This game is worth a mention because it pits the top two in the Combined Counties League Division One against each other. It's also worth seeing because it features Guernsey - the first team from the Channel Islands to enter the English football pyramid. They have begun their first season with 12 league wins out of 14 and have already opened an eight-point lead. Bedfont, however, have three games in hand and will hope to close the gap by winning this one.

Outside of the TLFG top 10 I'd also like to give a special mention to Hanworth Villa of the Combined Counties League who against all the odds have also made it to the FA Cup fourth qualifying round. They have been drawn away to Evo-Stik Southern League leaders AFC Totton so will start as massive underdogs - good luck to them.

As always, please share any stories you have about your visits to grounds over the last week or ones you plan to make. Also let me know if I've got anything wrong or missed anything off.

TLFG can be contacted on Twitter, Facebook or via email.

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