Sunday, 24 February 2013

TLFG: 25 February - 3 March 2013

It's been another busy week at TLFG Towers and with paternity leave now over, my football watching time has been really squeezed.

On Saturday I did manage to finish work in time to make it to QPR v Manchester United but I had already decided to donate my ticket to a very good friend who has done me a lot of good turns over the years and particularly of late.

Born firmly in West Ham United's catchment area on the east side of London it may well come as no surprise to you that he's actually a Man Utd fan and, like so many in his position, had never been to see them play!

Well into his thirties I thought it was time to put that right so off he went to a very chilly 'Theatre of Shattered Dreams' (aka Loftus Road) for what turned out to be a very enjoyable afternoon for him - a tidy 2-0 win with pretty much all the big guns making an appearance at some point.

Although Rangers didn't really get going until late March last season, it doesn't look like happening this time round with relegation looking more certain by the day.

A club of QPR's size, to be honest, shouldn't really be in the Premier League so the fact they're struggling is no surprise or disgrace - at least it shouldn't be.

Knowing the club have clearly had one of the bigger transfer budgets in the division and completely wasted it means failure is a lot harder than it should be - especially if it ends up causing bankruptcy in the long term.

If they are to stay up, winning all their home games is essential but still won't be enough as there are only five left.

The next five games against Southampton (A), Sunderland (H), Aston Villa (A), Fulham (A), and Wigan (H) will almost certainly decide their fate - lose the first two and QPR could find themselves 13 points adrift and there's surely no coming back from that.

On the brightside, Harrow Borough (the non-league team I follow) recorded a sensational 3-1 win over Isthmian League leaders Whitehawk on Saturday.

The big spending Sussex side were 10 points clear at the top and had only lost three league games all season. Boro, on the other hand, could have ended the day propping up the table if results had gone against them. Hopefully it will give them renewed confidence in their fight against relegation.

Anyway that's enough about my football ups and downs, let me know where you've been or where you're going either in the comments section below or via Facebook or Twitter.

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).

Wednesday 29 May, 8pm - Republic of Ireland, international friendly, Wembley

Monday 25 March, 730pm - Brazil v Russia, Stamford Bridge

Saturday 25 May - tbc v tbc, Wembley Stadium
Ticket ballot open until 15 March

Thursday 23 May, 730pm - tbc v tbc, Stamford Bridge

Sunday 24 March, 3pm - Wembley Stadium

Nothing currently available

Thursday 14 March, 805pm - Steaua Bucharest, Europa League (on sale 1 Mar)

Friday 1 March, 705pm - Chelsea, U21 Premier League
Monday 1 April, 8pm - Queens Park Rangers, Premier League (on sale 25 Feb)

Saturday 9 March, 3pm - Sunderland, Premier League
Sunday 7 April, 410pm - Wigan Athletic, Premier League (on sale 26 Feb)

Thursday 7 March, 805pm - Inter Milan, Europa League (on sale 1 Mar)
Saturday 16 March, 3pm - Fulham, Premier League
Sunday 7 April, 205pm - Everton, Premier League 

Monday 25 February, 8pm - Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League
Saturday 30 March, 3pm - West Bromwich Albion, Premier League (on sale 26 Feb)

Over the next week there are whopping 100 matches taking place in the London area so there's plenty to choose from. We've got London derbies, top of the table clashes, relegation 'six-pointers' and some tasty looking U21 Premier League action too.

Details on all of them can be found in the following 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
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Magenta pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures

View London match map 25 February - 3 March 2013 in a larger map

Bad weather may cause a few postponements as the week progresses so, as always, check with clubs before you travel. Please also let me know if any of the details are wrong or missing.

Next up is this week's TLFG Top 10 match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch.


1. Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - arguably THE London derby gets it latest playing on Sunday afternoon. This time round it could well decide who gets crowned kings of north London - at the time of writing the gap is only one point but if Spurs win this it could stretch to seven. Over the course of history Arsenal do have the upper hand and the last two meetings have resulted in 5-2 wins for the Gunners. However, both those games were at the Emirates with Spurs winning 2-1 at White Hart Lane last season. If they do well at West Ham on Monday then I think Andre Villas-Boas's side could edge it. (Premier League, 3 Mar, 4pm. Ticket info)

2. West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - Spurs have a very busy and testing week ahead which begins with this derby on Monday. Arsenal are Tottenham's biggest foes but the Hammers vie with Chelsea for being second on the list. In this power struggle it is Tottenham who have the better record, a fact demonstrated by West Ham having only managed one win in their last 11 attempts. Current form suggests the visitors should avoid defeat again. (Premier League, 25 Feb, 8pm. Ticket info)

3. AFC Wimbledon v Plymouth Argyle - nothing's really taking my fancy in the Championship and League One this week so next we drop right down to the foot of the Football League where these two strugglers are set to do battle on Tuesday night. It's hard to explain in full detail in a paragraph but both of these clubs and their supporters have enjoyed much better times. The Dons descend from the club which won the FA Cup in 1988 and were a top-flight team. A highly controversial relocation to Milton Keynes caused the formation of non-league 'AFC' in 2002 and the club have climbed back up the pyramid but they are in danger of taking their first backward step having been in or around the bottom two all season. Argyle enjoyed back-to-back promotions which saw them rise from League Two to the Championship where they stayed from 2004 until 2010 but then financial problems and back-to-back relegations saw them back in the fourth tier for the 2011/12 campaign. They narrowly avoided another demotion last season and come into this match bottom having lost two in a row. The hosts, however, have won two of their last three and will start as favourites. (League Two, 26 Feb, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Thurrock v Harrow Borough - this Isthmian League match also falls into the 'six-pointer' category with both sides having struggled for some while now. The hosts, relegated from the Conference South last season, seem to have been bottom for the whole campaign but the odd draw and even rarer win have kept them in touch. It should have been obvious they would struggle when Harrow, one of the Premier Division's perennial strugglers, stuffed them 4-1 on the opening day and they've never really recovered. Boro have picked up some eye-catching victories as they always seem to do but they've fouled up even more times and have never pulled away from the bottom two. A pack of eight teams has formed at the wrong end of the table and with only eight points separating 15th from 22nd, a win here could be priceless for either. (Isthmian League Premier Division, 2 Mar, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Thamesmead Town v Witham Town - I've written quite a bit about the Mead in recent weeks as their fine winning run has endured. Sadly it ended in midweek when Dulwich Hamlet, a similarly impressive side, knocked them out of the Isthmian League Cup albeit only on penalties. On Saturday they returned to league duties and got back to winning ways against Potters Bar Town as they ended the day third in the Isthmian League Division 1 North table. A trip to Romford looms in midweek before this game against fellow top-six side Witham. Town were crowned Essex Senior League champions last season and have adjusted well to life at the higher level. Although well placed in the table, they are still 10 points adrift of the all-important fifth and final play-off spot so losing this could be terminal to any promotion ambitions they may have. (Isthmian League Division 1 North, 2 Mar, 3pm. Club info)

6. Egham Town v Guernsey - Tuesday night is a mammoth one in the Combined Counties League with a couple of huge games at the top of the Premier Division taking place. It was hard to know which one to put first but I've gone for this as second host sixth. Why is such a fixture so 'mammoth' I hear you ask? Well it's because Guernsey are the biggest club in the division and are favourites to win it. The fact they are sixth is down to the fact that they've suffered over 20 postponements during the course of the season meaning that although they are 17 points off top spot, they have 10 games in hand! The Sarnies, who will start the game in second, are no mugs though and will look to frustrate the team from the Channel Islands as they somehow attempt to get through their fixtures. (Combined Counties League Premier Division, 26 Feb, 745pm. Club info)

7. Epsom & Ewell v Windsor - the other game that night in the same division that looks a bit tasty pits first against fourth. Although having played many more games than Guernsey, the E's are worthy leaders having won their last 12 league matches. Although not in quite as imperious form as their hosts, Windsor have had a very decent season too and are the division's highest goalscorers. Having netted an average of 2.6 goals a game and scored five or more on six occasions, they should be worth a watch. (Combined Counties League Premier Division, 26 Feb, 745pm. Club info)

8. Whyteleafe v VCD Athletic - if you're on the south-east side of town a bit of Kent League action could be for you. Over the last few months it looked as if the battle for the title would be a two-horse race between the two Erith clubs. However, while Erith & Belvedere have kept going, Erith Town have slipped away. Of late they have been barged aside by the these two. Whyteleafe, actually a Surrey club relegated from the Isthmian League last season, have been in the top four for some time while VCD to me seemed to be out of it. How wrong I was - eight consecutive and emphatic wins have lifted them up to second and they suddenly look like a force to be reckoned with. It will take something special to topple E&B who have a five-point lead and two games in hand but a win here will surely make them contenders again. (Kent League, 2 Mar, 3pm. Club info)

9. Barkingside v Burnham Ramblers - we finish off this week with a couple of cup matches, the first being this Gorden Brasted Memorial Trophy semi-final. I'm not sure of the significance of this competition - as far as I know it's competed for solely by members of the Essex Senior Football League but it's separate to the Essex Senior League Challenge Cup. The hosts are currently sixth in the table among a clutch of clubs aspiring to catch Burnham who are five points clear at the top. Although this isn't a league game, it will give you a chance to look at one of the best sides playing in the ninth tier. Barkingside regularly interact with TLFG and are always looking at ways of getting people to attend their games - aside from being a friendly and forward-thinking bunch, they often play on Mondays and their ground is right next to the Tube station bearing their name meaning it's pretty easy to get to. Give them a go if you're in the Ilford/Redbridge area on Monday. (Gorden Brasted Memorial Trophy, 25 Feb, 745pm. Club info)

10. Oxhey Jets v Hanwell Town - this time last week I was imploring you to watch Oxhey take on Dunstable Town in a top-two clash. Sadly for the Jets they got hammered 4-0 as their opponents opened a 10-point lead at the top of the Spartan South Midlands League. On Thursday they entertain Hanwell in a League Cup match which has been postponed on numerous occasions over the last few weeks. Although humbled on Saturday, Oxhey are still a force in this division and have 54-goal top scorer Lewis Putman among their ranks. After a season to forget last year where they somehow avoided relegation, Hanwell have completely turned their fortunes around and are fifth in the table at the time of writing. A decent cup tie looks to be in the offing. (Spartan South Midlands League Challenge Trophy, 28 Feb, 730pm. 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.

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