Sunday, 16 November 2014

TLFG: 17-23 November 2014

Hello there and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG.

I'm pleased to report that over the last few weeks, readership of this blog appears to have grown steadily. If you're new, then thanks for taking the time to have look and if you've recommended TLFG to someone then you're a top person and I really appreciate it. As for the rest of you, what can I say? Legends, the lot of you. I wouldn't do it if I didn't know you were there.

So how has your 'international break' been? Did you go and watch England at Wembley on Saturday or one of the friendlies we were also blessed with here in London town? Did you take the opportunity to visit a non-league club instead or did you watch nothing at all? Let me know, I want details.

The week ahead is littered with some absolute crackers but unless you're a member of some of our top clubs it's pretty much another international break for casual football watchers as tickets won't be available to them at any Premier League or Championship match over the next seven days.

Nothing unusual about that for our top-flight clubs but the games are of such magnitude in the second tier too that you need a ticket booking history with said clubs at the very least if you want to have any hope of getting in.

So if you are in town and just want to turn up and watch a game, then the highest ranking fixture you'll be able to get into will be the relegation battle between Leyton Orient and Crewe Alexandra in League One.

There are also some ties in the FA Cup and FA Vase, plenty of county cup action and some other non-league derbies too - a pretty decent selection in my view.

Anyway, that's it from me. Enjoy your week and don't forget that you can get all the latest ticket information for our local clubs and other big games taking place in the capital on the 'Match Ticket Info' page .

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 over 70 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
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. Arsenal v Manchester United - at the top of the bill this week we have this heavyweight clash between two former Premier League champions who are a shadow of their former selves. At the moment both reside outside the top five behind the likes of Southampton, West Ham and Swansea. Who would've thought that a couple of years ago? Putting this aside, these games are usually among the high points of the season, producing some decent entertainment. It will be a particularly big evening for Danny Welbeck who recently joined Arsenal after being discarded by United and is having little difficulty scoring since his arrival both for club and country. I've got a good feeling about the Gunners going into this one and they're due a win having not beaten the Red Devils in the last six attempts. (Premier League, Saturday 22 November, 530pm. Ticket info)

2. Crystal Palace v Liverpool - the last time these two met in May it produced arguably the match of the season. With just 11 minutes to go, title-chasing Liverpool held an almost unassailable 3-0 lead against a midtable Palace side with little to play for. However, the hosts pulled one back, the Reds collapsed and eventually had to settle for a 3-3 draw, a result which went a long way to robbing them of the Premier League crown. This time round Palace are sitting just above the relegation zone and with new boss Neil Warnock in charge should be really fired up. Liverpool have been poor of late and could be there for the taking. They also have a poor record at Selhurst Park where they haven't won (against the Eagles) since 1997. (Premier League, Sunday 23 November, 130pm. Ticket info)

3. Brentford v Fulham once again it's a really big week for all our local clubs in the Championship. To kick-off we've got this west London derby on Friday night. Until really quite recently, a league match between these two would have seemed a distant dream with the Bees down in League Two and Fulham living it up in the Premier League. Not now though as steady progress by the Bees has seen them climb to sixth in the second tier while the Cottagers have fallen from the top flight and were at the bottom of the pile after a dreadful start. Putting Kit Symons in charge has stopped the rot and now the club from SW6 are climbing the table fast, having gone unbeaten in six. The Bees are also in great form with three wins on the bounce against Derby, Forest and Millwall so this could be a cracker. (Championship, Friday 21 November, 745pm. Ticket info)

4. Charlton Athletic v Millwall - the following day it's south-east London derby time. Less than four miles separate these two but strangely neither see each other as their biggest rivals with clubs further away holding that honour. Nonetheless, they're probably number two on each other's list so there should be a decent atmosphere. Over the course of history, the Lions have much the better record with the Addicks winless against them since 1996. It could be different this time though as Charlton have lost only two of their 17 league games this season and are well in the hunt for a play-off spot. Millwall are just two points above the relegation zone but, roared on by their fans, usually give these sort of games a really good go. (Championship, Saturday 22 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Watford v Derby County - the Hornets were top of the Championship a couple of weeks ago but back-to-back defeats have seen them slip to fifth in what is a very tight division. On Saturday they welcome current leaders Derby who they will draw level with if they win. The two have also scored plenty of goals this season - both average the best part of two a game so I'll go for a 2-2 draw. (Championship, Saturday 22 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Leyton Orient v Crewe Alexandra - the O's frequently made the Top 10 last season as they pushed for the League One title. It sadly didn't happen for them, they lost in the play-offs and have had a bit of a shocker so far with three wins from 17 leaving them in the bottom four. On Saturday they have an early relegation six-pointer against Crewe. Unfortunately they're running into Alex at the wrong time. Like Fulham, they were utterly hopeless at the start of the campaign but have now taken 11 points from their last six games to climb off the bottom and become one of the form teams of the division. Contrast this with Orient who have taken five points in the same period and lost to fellow strugglers Gillingham this weekend. A huge game for Mauro Milanese's side. (League One, Saturday 22 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. AFC Wimbledon v York City it's all about the FA Cup on Tuesday in Kingston where this first round replay takes place. The original tie ended in a 1-1 draw and there's little to choose between them when it comes to current league form with both earning a fairly paltry five points from their last five games. The reward for winning is a trip to Wycombe Wanderers which is pretty much a derby for the Dons. Other point to note - all adult tickets have been reduced to £10. Bargain! (FA Cup first round replay, Tuesday 18 November, 745pm. Ticket info)

8. Bromley v Sutton United it's all about Boreham Wood in the Conference South at the moment and you could go and watch their match against Gosport Borough which should be good but I personally think this will be a bigger match. In this division, these two south London clubs are the geographically nearest rivals each other have got. Although the aforementioned Wood are top, Bromley are only five points behind in third and have a game in hand. Sutton are usually right up there too but are struggling by their standards and are down in 16th. It should still be a good occasion though so I strongly recommend it. (Conference South, Saturday 22 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Sun Sports v Stanway Rovers the last two games I've gone for this week are in the FA Vase which has reached the second round stage. Sun Sports have come out of nowhere, relatively speaking, over the last year or so. Prior to last season they were also-rans in the Spartan South Midlands League Division 1 before winning it by a seven-point margin. This year the Watford club have gone from strength-to-strength climbing to the top of the Premier Division. On paper this should make them one of the current favourites for Vase glory but Stanway will provide tough opposition. Hailing from Colchester, they're a top-five club from the parallel Eastern Counties League and have a more prestigious record in the competition having made it all the way to fifth round in 2008. (FA Vase second round, Saturday 22 November, 3pm. Club info)

10. Erith Town v Phoenix Sports the other tie in the London area which really catches my eye is this south-east London derby. If you can't get a ticket for Charlton v Millwall then head down the road to the Badgers Sports Ground in Eltham where Erith currently reside. Both clubs play in the Southern Counties East League and both have been among the title contenders over the last year or two and Phoenix still are. However, little has gone right for Erith this term with only three wins from 18 league games. One bright spot was their 0-0 draw at Phoenix so they know they've got a chance. (FA Vase second round, Saturday 22 November, 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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