Sunday, 1 November 2015

TLFG: 2-8 November 2015

I've been a bit pushed for time again this week having spent a hectic couple of days split between the Kent seaside resorts of Broadstairs and Margate and work back in London.

I enjoyed a good parkrun along the seafront in Margate on Saturday morning but sadly all the local football teams were away this weekend so had to content myself with a walk by the beach at Broadstairs instead in the afternoon - very nice too especially given the unseasonally fine weather.

Once again we have another interesting week to look forward to with nearly 100 games taking place. The Champions League makes its return with the spotlight falling once again on the almost unbelievable struggles of Chelsea.

In the Premier League we've got the North London derby between Arsenal and Spurs and for many, the highlight will be the FA Cup First Round where the surviving non-league teams get to take on the pros from League One and League Two.

Happy football watching people.

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 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).

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Yellow pin - Monday fixtures
Green pin - Tuesday fixtures
Red pin - Wednesday fixtures
Purple pin - Thursday fixtures
Black pin - Friday fixtures




WEEKEND MATCH MAP
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.

TLFG TOP 10

1. Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - it's North London derby time again and we have to wait right until the end of the week to enjoy it. With the Gunners joint top and Spurs nestled nicely in sixth, both will be pretty happy with their respective starts to the season. It's only about six weeks since the sides last met in the League Cup where Arsenal took the honours in a 2-1 win at White Hart Lane. Given they have home advantage, are the stronger side on paper and unbeaten in their last five meetings at the Emirates Stadium, the hosts must start as strong favourites. (Premier League, Sunday 8 November, 4pm. Ticket info)

2. Chelsea v Dynamo Kiev - before that we have what would normally be a fairly unremarkable looking Champions League game. In the past, sides like Dynamo could be expected to turn up at Stamford Bridge, get beaten with relative ease, go home again and no-one would bat an eyelid. Now the eyes of many in the football world will be firmly focused on this fixture as the crisis surrounding the Blues and manager Jose Mourinho lurches on. Having seen his side knocked out of the League Cup by Stoke and humiliated at home by Liverpool in the league, it's been a disastrous week for the Portuguese. Defeat in this one too would see Chelsea struggle to get out of their group - a result which would surely seal even the most special individual's fate. (Champions League, Wednesday 4 November, 745pm. Ticket info)

3. West Ham United v Everton - the Hammers after a long successful run, finally saw one of their famous bubbles burst on Saturday. The ever improving Watford recorded a fine 2-0 win to knock the east Londoners down to fifth. Next up they welcome Everton whose recent inconsistent form seemed to vanish this week following a cup win over Norwich and a 6-2 drubbing of Sunderland in Sunday's league match. It's also fair to say the Toffees have become a bit of a bogey team for the Boleyn Ground club who haven't beaten their Scouse rivals in 17 attempts. (Premier League, Saturday 7 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

4. Brentford v Hull City after their win in the derby against QPR on Friday, the Bees are starting to make some decent strides up the Championship table. That result saw them leapfrog their local rivals into 11th to put themselves just four points away from the play-off places. On Tuesday they welcome high-flying Hull City who are making good progress in their efforts to bounce straight back up after their relegation last season. The two haven't met for over 10 years but last time it was Brentford who came out on top. (Championship, Tuesday 3 November, 745pm. Ticket info)

5. Millwall v AFC Fylde - the rest of this week's Top 10 will be dedicated to the FA Cup. With League One and Two clubs now joining the non-league sides who have made it this far, the Lions have landed a home tie with National League North side Fylde. Although playing three divisions below their hosts, the Lancashire outfit are a club on the up. Having enjoyed some significant investment, they've made good progress in recent seasons and are top of their current division. Even so, Millwall are the pro team, are on a good run and should have too much for them. Complacency, however, will be the watchword. (FA Cup First Round, Saturday 7 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Barnet v Blackpool - there's a fair chance of an upset here even though Barnet play a division below the Seasiders. The Bees aren't even doing that well in League Two but have improved of late and could push Blackpool hard. The former Premier League side have had a number of well-documented problems over the last few years and they could well suffer another relegation this season. It could be close. (FA Cup First Round, Saturday 7 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Dagenham & Redbridge v Morecambe - there's an all-League Two tie at Victoria Road to look forward to on Saturday. Following defeat to Luton on Sunday, the Daggers were left rooted to the bottom as their miserable season continued. A win against play-off chasing Morecambe could be all they need to get their campaign back on track. Here's hoping they get it. (FA Cup First Round, Saturday 7 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. AFC Wimbledon v Forest Green Rovers - former non-league side AFC Wimbledon will have to be on their game as they take on National League leaders FGR. The Gloucestershire club are well backed and have been knocking on the door of League Two for a couple of years now so should be well up for this. The Dons, however, have won three on the bounce so a controlled and focused performance should see them over the line. (FA Cup First Round, Saturday 7 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

9. Leyton Orient v Staines Town Isthmian League side Staines have had to successfully negotiate four rounds to get this far and their reward is a trip to the League Two O's which they must be happy with. In regional terms, it's a derby of sorts although I doubt the sides have ever played before. Dogged determination will be a must for the Swans to stand any chance but with only two wins in 10 league games, the hosts might be a little nervous. (FA Cup First Round, Saturday 7 November, 3pm. Ticket info)

10. Wealdstone v Colchester United - from a personal point of view, if I was available, this would be the match I'd go to. Having grown up on Wealdstone's side of town, I know what a big deal this is for all concerned with the Ruislip-based club. The best team in non-league football 30 years ago, the Stones have had a turbulent time in the intervening years with several grounds and relegations. The last few years have seen the good times return with promotion to what is now the National League South and a run to the FA Trophy semi-finals. This game against League One also-rans Colchester is huge and winnable. The home fans are a passionate bunch and will surely be out in force for one of their biggest games in years. (FA Cup First Round, Saturday 7 November, 3pm. Ticket info)


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.

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