Sunday, 25 October 2015

TLFG: 26 October - 1 November 2015

It's been another big week in the world of London football.

Arsenal beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League and then briefly went top of the Premier League. West Ham climbed to third whilst inflicting Chelsea's fifth league defeat of the season to leave the champions in 15th some 11 points off top spot.

Spurs saw off Bournemouth to stay in touch with the top four and Watford won again as their return to the top flight continues to go well.

Aside from Chelsea, only Crystal Palace let the side down with defeat at Leicester.

In the Championship, Fulham completed a stunning comeback from 2-0 down to beat high-flying Reading with four goals in a little over 20 minutes whilst Brentford won the derby at Charlton 3-0 which led to the dismissal of Addicks boss Guy Luzon as a result.

QPR picked up four points from back-to-back home games against Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons and most notably kept two clean sheets in the process.

Millwall picked up an excellent victory at Sheffield United to move within touching distance of the play-off places again and in League Two there were fine away wins for Barnet, Leyton Orient and Wimbledon. Sadly, Dagenham & Redbridge lost at Accrington to remain rooted to the bottom of the division.

There was also a big weekend of FA Cup football and I'd like to say many congratulations to non-league sides Boreham Wood, Staines Town and Wealdstone who all made it into the hat for the first round draw. Grays Athletic and Welling United also fought out a 1-1 draw on Sunday and will replay in midweek to see who goes through.

Said draw will be live on BBC2 at 7pm on Monday where the minnows will be joined by all the clubs in League One and League Two. Boreham Wood v Barnet, Staines Town v AFC Wimbledon, Wealdstone v Wycombe Wanderers are all potential derbyish ties that could come out. The biggest teams available include former Premier League sides Bradford City, Coventry City and Sheffield United and Millwall will also be in there too - a great tie for Welling if they should progress.

We've also got the FA Trophy and FA Vase this week so there's plenty of cup football to enjoy again.

Have a great week. 

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.

There are over 90 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 on the following match maps. If you've never used them 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 drop down menu at the top of the map page to make sure you get all the information. Games are listed from top to bottom in date order so Monday's games (yellow pin) will appear first and Sunday's (white pin) last. Games are also ranked in terms of status so the higher the division, the higher up the list they will appear on each day.

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).

Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Claret pin - Thursday fixtures
Black pin - Friday fixtures

Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
White 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.


1. Chelsea v Liverpool - this match between two of the Premier League's heavyweights has created some memorable matches over the years with the rivalry particularly fierce when Rafael Benitez was in charge of the Reds. Usually the sides are scrapping for titles and places in cup finals but this year couldn't be more different as both have made poor starts but their high standards. Despite lavishing millions building their respective squads, both lie in the bottom half of the table behind the likes of Leicester, Crystal Palace and West Brom. The Reds have already dispensed with their manager while Chelsea must surely also be thinking about it after suffering their fifth league defeat at West Ham on Saturday. These games are usually tight but Liverpool haven't won in eight attempts in all competitions and I think they'll be happy with a draw here. (Premier League, Saturday 31 October, 1245pm. Ticket info)

2. Crystal Palace v Manchester United - after flying out the blocks and into the league's top four, Palace seem to be coming back down to earth. Although still among the leading pack, four defeats in six have shown them to be vulnerable. Things won't get any easier on Saturday when the Red Devils come to town. Depending on how they do against Manchester City in today's derby, they could be joint top when they arrive. Despite being a match for anyone on home turf, the Selhurst Park club have a bad record against United and haven't beaten them for nearly 25 years. Away win. (Premier League, Saturday 31 October, 3pm. Ticket info)

3. Watford v West Ham United - these two must be very happy with where they are right now. Newly promoted from the Championship, the Hornets sit snugly in 13th some two points ahead of reigning league champions Chelsea. With a fine 2-0 win at Stoke on Saturday, they should be in good spirits heading into this derby. The Hammers, on the other hand, seem to go from strength to strength with their weekend win over the aforementioned Blues lifting them into the top three. After their early exit from the Europa League, Slaven Bilic's detractors have now gone very quiet. (Premier League, Saturday 31 October, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Brentford v Queens Park Rangers - to say this west London derby has been hotly anticipated would be an understatement - tickets, certainly for the away allocation, sold out in minutes. The clubs play about four miles apart, either side of the leafy suburb of Chiswick, but haven't met in competition for nearly 12 years. The Bees have spent most of their history flitting between the third and fourth tiers of English football but made it into the Championship last season. They strongly threatened to replace relegated QPR in the Premier League as they made the play-offs but lost out to Middlesbrough. With manager Mark Warburton leaving for Rangers in Scotland, Brentford are already on their second manager of the season with former coach Lee Carsley lifting them away from the bottom three and into midtable just behind the visitors. QPR are the bigger club and have far more to lose in what should be a cracking game. Under-fire manager Chris Ramsey has enjoyed a decent week and a win here will earn him some much needed breathing space. Although QPR's unbeaten record against Brentford goes all the way back to 1965, their recent performances in televised derbies on Friday nights have been atrocious so if things start going wrong they could fall apart. (Championship, Friday 30 October, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Leyton Orient v Accrington Stanley after their wobble of recent weeks, the O's steadied the ship on Saturday with a much needed 1-0 win at fellow promotion contenders Morecambe. The result keeps them in League Two's top six just two points behind second placed Portsmouth in what is a very congested table. Another side in the mix are Accrington, who on attendances, are the smallest club in the division. The former non-league side average less than 1,500 a game so to achieve a place in the top seven is no mean feat. Both sides are among the division's highest scorers so a high-scoring draw could ensue. (League Two, Saturday 31 October, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Welling United v Grays Athletic - after the weekend's FA Cup excitement, there's only need for one replay in the London area. Isthmian League side Grays were on the verge of causing a significant upset until Welling found a late equaliser in Sunday's tie. The National League side, two divisions above Grays, spared their blushes and get another chance to make sure of a place in the First Round Proper on Tuesday. With the draw live on BBC2 on Monday at 7pm, the sides will know who awaits them should they win. (FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round Replay, Tuesday 27 October, 745pm. Ticket info)

7. Harrow Borough v Dulwich Hamlet - with the FA Cup out of the way, this weekend sees the FA Trophy and FA Vase take centre stage as many of our local clubs get plunged into cup action again. The Trophy is the more senior competition and includes sides from the top four levels of non-league football - in other words, the fifth to the eighth tiers nationally. The teams in the eighth tier contested the Preliminary Round and now the survivors are joined by teams from the seventh tier. Two such clubs are Harrow and Dulwich. Both from the Isthmian Premier, it's a David v Goliath contest with midtable Boro and their select group of fans playing host to league leaders Dulwich whose crowds often top 1,000. Despite these differences, the games between them have been competitive in recent years and I even witnessed a 3-1 win for Harrow at Earlsmead on Non-League Day 2013. The hosts made a shockingly good start to the season but have slipped back of late so will very much start as second favourites as they set out along another 'Road to Wembley'. (FA Trophy First Qualifying Round, Saturday 31 October, 3pm. Club info)

8. AFC Hornchurch v Metropolitan Police - after narrowly losing at National League outfit Boreham Wood in the FA Cup on Saturday, the Urchins welcome The Met to Bridge Avenue as they look for another extended cup run. Having pushed an opponent from three divisions above them so hard, the visit of a team from the lower reaches of the division above won't faze them. The visitors also exited the FA Cup against a team from a parallel level to Hornchurch so they've got form when it comes to being 'cupset'. (FA Trophy First Qualifying Round, Saturday 31 October, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Ilford v AFC Kempston Rovers - in the FA Vase, a competition primarily for clubs in the ninth and tenth tiers which also finishes at Wembley, we have a tie between two of the better teams in the Essex Senior League and United Counties League. The hosts, who featured in my Non-League Day match two weeks ago, have had a very solid start to the season and have climbed to fourth. Kempston have an almost identical record in the parallel UCL so couldn't be much better matched in that regard. These games are a useful indicator of what leagues are strongest at this level with clubs from the Northern League (Newcastle/Sunderland region) dominating in recent years. (FA Vase First Round Proper, Saturday 31 October, 3pm. Club info)

10. Edgware Town v Whitton United - after some time away, Edgware reformed last year and moved to a new ground in Hendon. After consolidating their position in the Spartan South Midlands League Division 1, they are firmly going after the title this season. Having won 10 of their 11 league games, they've pretty much made it a two-horse race with Crawley Green already. Whitton, who hail from the Ipswich area, play at a level above them but are struggling and could be there for the taking. (FA Vase First Round Proper, Saturday 31 October, 3pm. Club info)

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.

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