Sunday, 30 November 2014

TLFG: 1-7 December 2014

Welcome one and all and thanks for paying a visit to TLFG.

It's been quite a weekend for my beloved West London with all four of my local teams recording victories - oops, sorry Chelsea only managed a draw at Sunderland but they're still the best team in the country right now so it's still been a decent weekend for the area.

I'm pleased to report that of those four games, QPR's against Leicester was the most entertaining with the two relegation threatened sides registering 51 shots as Rangers edged to a thrilling 3-2 win. One of the best things about this is that German TLFG reader and Arminia Bielefeld fan Sebastian was there to enjoy it with one his friends who had come over to also watch Borussia Dortmund's midweek game at Arsenal, a match which was 'more like a friendly' in his opinion.

Sebastian and friend at the Emirates for Arsenal v Borussia Dortmund
There was also some exciting news from long-time Dutch reader Paul who I helped research his 'Match Days' book, about watching football in London, this time last year. After having his book published, last weekend he got it inducted into the Charlton Athletic club museum. The Addicks are Paul's favourite English team and he came over to watch their game against Millwall as part of his visit. Well done Paul!

TLFG reader Paul meets Charlton boss Bob Peeters
Thanks so much for taking the time to send in your pictures, I really appreciate it and I'm glad you enjoyed watching our teams.

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 within the London area for this blog then get in touch. You might also want to have a go at writing a 'Top Ten' one week. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries.

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


LATEST TICKET NEWS
Please follow this link or click on the tab at the top of the page for all the information you need about how to get a ticket, what's currently available to non-members at London's biggest clubs and any other special offers or promotions which might be running.


THE WEEK AHEAD
There are 80 matches in the London area over the next seven days so there's plenty to choose from whatever your budget.

However, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or venue has been changed. Also, please let me know if anything is wrong or missing.

Details on all of this week's games 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 map page to make sure you get all the information.

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 (e.g. clubs in the Conference South).

MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Turquoise pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Claret pin - Friday fixtures
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Red pin - Sunday fixtures




Next up is this week's TLFG match recommendations where I list a few games which I think could be worth a watch. If I miss one that you think should get a mention then add your own in the comments section below. 

TLFG TOP 10

1. Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - there are some big old games in London this week and I rank this derby as the biggest of them. In terms of rivals, these two probably rank as number two most hated on each other's scales although that is debatable. The Blues historically hold the upper hand and this season shouldn't see much change as they are currently top and unbeaten. Despite a dodgy September and October, Spurs have fought back with three wins from four in November to put themselves back in the race for a Champions League spot. However, it's still going to take something special for them to win at Stamford Bridge  - they've failed on the last 27 visits! (Premier League, Wednesday 3 December, 745pm. Ticket info)

2. Arsenal v Southampton - the Saints have made a dream start to the season, climbing to second, but many felt they hadn't been properly tested. On Sunday they hosted reigning champions Manchester City and lost comfortably to slip to third. Next up they travel to another of the big boys - Arsenal. When they met at the Emirates in September, Ronald Koeman's side enjoyed a 2-1 win but that was in the League Cup which the Gunners often take less than seriously as they can normally afford to. This season they've been pretty average across the board dropping points in the Premier League and Champions League and could find this a bit of a struggle too. (Premier League, Wednesday 3 December, 745pm. Ticket info)

3. Queens Park Rangers v Burnley promoted from the Championship last season, it's no surprise that these two find themselves in the bottom three at the time of writing. QPR began badly but have improved greatly over the last month and got a well needed and deserved 3-2 win over fellow strugglers Leicester on Saturday. The Clarets have also hit form of late, taking an impressive seven points from their last three games. Last season's fixture produced a thrilling 3-3 draw so hopefully we'll enjoy another cracker here. (Premier League, Saturday 6 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Fulham v Watford - the Cottagers' revival under Kit Symons continued on Saturday with a 2-1 win at Brighton as they moved further away from the relegation zone. Next up they have a derby on Friday night against the Hornets who are starting to slip into freefall after previously topping the division. Four straight defeats have seen them slip to seventh and the table is so tight that they could find themselves firmly in midtable should they lose here. Amazingly these two haven't played that regularly over the course of history which might explain why Watford haven't won at Craven Cottage since 1998. (Championship, Friday 5 December, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Welling United v Bristol Rovers - while Barnet have been amassing an eight-point lead at the top of the Conference, Bristol Rovers have been climbing up the table to third. The Pirates suffered the indignity of relegation from the Football League last season to become the biggest club in non-league football by a country mile. When they failed to win any of their opening three games people began to wonder how bad things would become. However, they've turned things around and are now unbeaten in six. This run has culminated most recently in back-to-back wins over Barnet and Welling so the Wings have much to fear from this almost immediate return fixture. (Conference Premier, Saturday 6 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Wealdstone v Staines Town - we've got a massive relegation six-pointer at the bottom of the Conference South on Saturday. At present six points separate the two but Staines, the lower of the two, have two games in hand so their records are pretty even. The Stones, freshly promoted as Isthmian League champions, began really badly and found themselves winless after nine games. They've picked up four wins since the middle of September but that's still nowhere near good enough as they've failed to pull convincingly away from the bottom two. The Swans' season has almost run in reverse with a fairly decent start followed by a huge dip in form which saw them lose nine on the trot. There's a lot to play for here and you feel defeat for the visitors could be pretty terminal for their chances of surviving. (Conference South, Saturday 6 December, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Hanwell Town v Kettering Town west London club Hanwell have surprised many this season following their promotion from the Spartan South Midlands League. Topping the Southern League Division 1 Central at times this term, they are still doing superbly to be third after 19 games. If they still harbour ambitions of winning the title then beating league leaders Kettering, who are seven points ahead, is almost essential. (Southern League Division 1 Central, Saturday 6 December, 3pm. Club info)

8. Haringey Borough v Waltham Forest - we've got a top-four clash in the Essex Senior League to look forward to on Saturday. Haringey have had a season that most teams dream about losing only one of their 16 league games and scoring 65 goals in the process (an average of just over four goals a game). Such form has seen them open a seven-point lead at the top, something which is starting to look unassailable. Near neighbours Waltham Forest are next to visit and will hope to become only the second team to beat them. It doesn't bode well though as they lost the reverse fixture 3-0 back in August. (Essex Senior League, Saturday 6 December, 3pm. Club info)

9. Hanworth Villa v Erith & Belvedere after being shut for a couple of weeks the road to Wembley re-opens again this weekend as the FA Vase returns at its third round stage. Hanworth Villa have done pretty well in league and cup competitions over the last two or three years but they've found the going decidedly tough in the Combined Counties League Premier Division this season which they currently prop up. E&B, on the other hand, are on fire and are currently top of the parallel Southern Counties East League. An away win looks likely but this is a big cup game so anything could happen. (FA Vase third round, Saturday 6 December, 3pm. Club info)

10. Colliers Wood United v Lingfield there are only two ties in the London area and this is the other one. Strangely it's between teams from the same two leagues as above. In this one Colliers Wood, the Combined Counties League side, are the higher ranked so I'd have to favour them to go through. (FA Vase third round, Saturday 6 December, 3pm. 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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