Sunday, 19 August 2012

TLFG: 20-26 August 2012

This time last year QPR fans were licking their wounds after watching their side get routed 4-0 at home by Bolton.

The fact we'd lost after a summer of virtually no investment wasn't a huge shock but getting stuffed by a team who were expected to struggle was very disappointing. Somehow come the end of the season, we just managed to stay up and Bolton went down.

A year on and so much has changed at Loftus Road - new owners have come in and splashed the cash. Since last August almost a whole new squad has been purchased with some decent players brought in.

Only two of the team that started against Bolton began Saturday's season opener against Swansea so big had the changes been.

The signings of Ji-Sung Park, Robert Green, Fabio da Silva, Junior Hoilett, Andy Johnson, Ryan Nelsen and Jose Bosingwa had given many QPR fans the right to believe things might go a little bit better this time but how wrong we were!

The moment the gaffe-prone Green let in a soft goal on eight minutes we knew it could be a tough afternoon.

However, QPR raised their game and should probably have been at least a goal ahead by the time their Welsh opponents next threatened. Sadly the chances weren't taken and the rest is history.

With their side trailing 4-0, three QPR fans consider ending it all
If you haven't seen the result, Swansea added four to their 1-0 half-time lead and romped to a resounding 5-0 win. QPR never came close in the second period, leaving the new Korean fans I saw dotted around the ground looking bemused and probably more than a little embarrassed in their freshly bought replica shirts and caps.

I'm hoping it's just a case of the game coming too soon for all the players to have bedded in properly. It took manager Mark Hughes a while to figure out his best formation after taking over in January and that could well be the problem at the moment.

Next up it's a trip to Norwich who started equally badly albeit away from home. To be talking about a 'six-pointer' just two games in after this summer's investment is a blow but that's football.

I hope your weekend's football watching has been more enjoyable than mine - let us all know where you went and your plans for the week ahead.

Each week at TLFG we attempt to compile a list of what's on general sale to non-members at London's Premier League clubs and for other notable matches (click on the team name for details).

Monday 20 August, 7pm - Bolton Wanderers, U21 Premier League
Saturday 25 August, 2pm - Blackburn Rovers, U21 Premier League

Nothing currently available

Saturday 15 September, 3pm - West Bromwich Albion, Premier League
Saturday 29 September, 3pm - Manchester City, Premier League
Saturday 20 October, 3pm - Aston Villa, Premier League
Saturday 3 November, 3pm - Everton, Premier League
Sunday 18 November, 4pm - Sunderland, Premier League

Nothing currently available

Saturday 25 August, 3pm - West Bromwich Albion, Premier League
Saturday 1 September, 3pm - Norwich City, Premier League
Sunday 23 September, 4pm - Queens Park Rangers, Premier League

Tuesday 28 August, 745pm - Crewe Alexandra, Capital One Cup
Saturday 1 September, 1245pm - Fulham, Premier League
Saturday 22 September, 3pm - Sunderland, Premier League (on sale 21 Aug, 9am)
Saturday 6 October, 530pm - Arsenal, Premier League (on sale 21 Aug, 9am)

Aside from these there are still tickets available for England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley Stadium on 11 September and Republic of Ireland's friendly against Oman at Craven Cottage on the same night.

Over the next seven days there are more than 80 matches taking place in the London area. Aside from all the usual action, we've also got another big weekend of FA Cup football to look forward to. We've now reached the Preliminary Round and there are ties on Friday, Saturday and Sunday so there's little excuse not to see one. Also this week I've included a couple of Arsenal's games in the Barclays U21 Premier League (a new competition for this season) which provide a great chance to see a game at the Emirates for only £4.

With all that in mind, here's this week's match map. If you've never used it 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 left side of the page to make sure you get all the information.

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London match map 20-26 August 2012 in a larger map

As always, please check with the host club whether a match is still taking place before you travel. Please also let me know if any of the details are wrong or missing. 

Here's a list of few games that I think could be worth watching in the week ahead:


CHELSEA v READING (Wednesday 22 August, 745pm)
After beating Bayern Munich to be crowned European champions back in May, this is the first time Blues fans will get to see their side play at Stamford Bridge and I'm sure the club will mark the occasion in some way. Hopefully for them they will have beaten Wigan in their season opener on Sunday and be ready to pick up another three points against newly promoted Reading. Supporters of the Royals will feel relatively satisfied with a point from their first game against Stoke, having staved off defeat with a 90th-minute equaliser. However, Chelsea will be a totally different proposition and the Berkshire club have never beaten them away from home. TICKET INFO

This match will be the first under new boss Andre Villas-Boas at White Hart Lane. Spurs narrowly lost 2-1 to a late penalty up at Newcastle on Saturday so they will want to bounce back here. However, the Baggies will be in buoyant mood having comprehensively beaten Liverpool 3-0 in their opening game so should provide a stern test. Last season Tottenham edged the corresponding fixture by a goal to nil and it's likely to be close again here. TICKET INFO

WATFORD v IPSWICH TOWN (Tuesday 21 August, 745pm)
Those who took TLFG's advice and went to see Saturday's game between Crystal Palace and Watford won't have been disappointed as the Hornets left it late to win by the odd goal in five. Next up for the new look Hertfordshire club are Ipswich Town at Vicarage Road. Much is expected of Gianfranco Zola's men this season so it will be interesting to see how they fare against the Tractor Boys who managed to hold former Premier League club Blackburn to a 1-1 draw in their season opener. TICKET INFO

Last season this was a significant match in the fight to avoid relegation from League Two and after one game of this campaign it looks as though little has changed. The Daggers slipped to a 2-0 reverse at Cheltenham while Argyle suffered the same fate at home to Aldershot. The sides dished up a five-goal thriller the last time they met at Victoria Road so I'm hoping for more of the same. TICKET INFO

DULWICH HAMLET v HYTHE TOWN (Saturday 25 August, 3pm)
This week I'm going to dedicate the non league part of the top 10 to FA Cup ties because there are quite a few good ones around. First up we have these two who both began their Ryman League Division One South campaigns with wins. Dulwich saw off Ramsgate 3-0 while Hythe won 3-1 at Walton Casuals. Having missed out in the play-offs two years running, the hosts will be going all out for the title this time so a morale boostng cup win over one of their rivals should be high on their agenda. TICKET INFO

ROMFORD v WALTHAM FOREST (Friday 24 August, 745pm)
Two east London clubs give you the chance to begin your football watching weekend early when they go toe-to-toe in this FA Cup tie on Friday night. Both play in the Ryman League Division One North and experienced differing fortunes on Saturday with the former winning and the latter losing. Neither side excelled last season either so I expect this game to be close. Before you go steaming off to Romford, please be aware that they are currently playing their home games six or seven miles away at Thurrock's ground. CLUB INFO

The hosts didn't have a great season last time but did manage to pull away from the foot of the table in the latter stages and avoided relegation fairly comfortably. Dunstable on the other hand play at a level below North Greenford in the Spartan South Midlands League but are currently the best team in it. With three wins out of three so far, they may well fancy their chances of causing a 'cupset' at Berkeley Fields so I recommend you check it out if you're on the west side of town. CLUB INFO

HANWORTH VILLA v ROYSTON TOWN (Saturday 25 August, 3pm)
After thrashing Bethnal Green 5-1 in a replay on Tuesday, Hanworth now face Royston in the next round. The Crows beat Dunstable Town to the Spartan League title last season and began life in the Southern League on Saturday with a 2-0 win at Thatcham Town. Although unbeaten this season and at home, I think Hanworth will come unstuck here but they are a good cup team and should make Royston work hard for the win. CLUB INFO

UXBRIDGE v WEMBLEY (Sunday 26 August, 230pm)
After edging past Langford in the previous round, the Wembley 'Legends' team are next in action against Uxbridge at Honeycroft. Normally you'd expect the higher ranked hosts to win this but the Lions are again expected to field a team including the likes of Ray Parlour, Graeme Le Saux, Brian McBride and Claudio Caniggia thanks to the involvement of a large beer company. A sizeable crowd, for a Combined Counties League team, turned out for their last match and Uxbridge seem to be building up the game in a fairly big way as well. The Sunday afternoon kick-off should ensure a few extra people through the turnstiles too. CLUB INFO

VCD ATHLETIC v WHITSTABLE TOWN (Saturday 25 August, 3pm)
Another Step 5 team to come flying out the blocks this season are VCD Athletic of the Kent League Premier Division. With three wins out of three they look well placed to give the higher ranked Whitstable a good work out. It's still early days but their opening day defeat and lack of home advantage in this all-Kent tie makes the Oystermen look vulnerable. CLUB INFO

If you have any questions or want advice about watching football in London, you can contact TLFG using the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or email.