Monday, 22 February 2016

TLFG: 22-28 February 2016

It's been another busy week at Chez TLFG hence I'm putting this out much later than I'd like to.

I didn't get to see any live football as work got in the way again but I did get to take my three-year-old to her first football/sport session laid on for free by the QPR Community Trust at our local leisure centre. To say it was like herding cats for the coaches would probably be an apt description but with only three and four-year-olds taking part, you couldn't really expect much more. Everyone had fun which was the main thing.

On Saturday I'm hoping to make my first visit of the season to Champion Hill to see the big Isthmian League match between Dulwich Hamlet and East Thurrock United. I'm all set to take some Italian visitors for what I think will be their first English non-league experience so let's hope it's a decent game.

Generally it's a big week for football in London with some massive European and domestic fixtures meaning it's an exciting time to be in town. There are also some cracking ticket deals on offer in the Football League details of which can be found in the 'Top 10' below or on the ticket page.

Have a great week.


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 Barcelona - the match of the week pits the title-chasing Gunners against the runaway leaders of the Spanish league in this eye-catching Champions League tie. Arsene Wenger's side had a poor group stage, scraping through on goal difference ahead of some fairly mediocre sides. In Barca they face a real step up in class and they are huge underdogs to progress over the two legs. The two have met in this competition seven times, including one final, since 1999 and Arsenal have only managed one win but that came the last time they met at the Emirates five years ago. Undefeated in their group and with only two defeats in the league, Barcelona are the top side in Europe right now and they'll take some beating. (Champions League, Tuesday 23 February, 745pm. Ticket info)

2. Liverpool v Manchester City - at the weekend over at Wembley we have our first bit of domestic silverware up for grabs. The Reds and City are League Cup royalty with 11 wins between them - in fact Liverpool have won it more times than anyone else but it's been four years since their last success. Over the last few years Manchester City have usurped the once great Liverpool and become an established member of the 'top four'. However, despite their waning powers, the Reds are a bit of a thorn in City's side and have beaten them several times, most impressively by 4-1 at the Etihad in November. On paper Manuel Pellegrini's side should win but they've fallen apart of late, losing three on the bounce and conceding 10 goals in the process - a well motivated Liverpool could undo them again. (League Cup Final, Sunday 28 February, 430pm. Ticket info)

3. Tottenham Hotspur v Fiorentina - there was much talk heading into the weekend of Spurs repeating their famous double of 1961 but they came unstuck at home to a badly out of form Crystal Palace to end their FA Cup hopes. However, they are also still in the Europa League so a double is still on. With the competition entering its knockout stage, Uefa's often derided lesser tournament is looking pretty healthy with some big teams still fighting to win it. Spurs are among the favourites but they've got a tough draw here. The Viola are third in Italy at the time of writing and beat Tottenham at the same stage last season. While Spurs were losing to Palace, the Tuscan side were warming up with a 3-2 win at Atalanta. The first leg in Italy ended 1-1 so it's a hard one to call. (Europa League, Thursday 25 February, 805pm. Ticket info)

4. Charlton Athletic v Reading - there may be better Championship sides playing in London this week but I've gone for this as the Addicks are running their 'Football For A Fiver' promotion. Yes, you read that right, it's only £5 to watch this almost derby match between the division's bottom club and the Royals who are drifting around in midtable. Fan unrest is still the backdrop for goings on at The Valley with owner Roland Duchatelet as unpopular as ever. This might explain why tickets for the match are still available and it might be something you want to bear in mind if you decide to head to this one. (Championship, Saturday 27 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

5. Dagenham & Redbridge v Yeovil Town - there are also some fantastically cheap tickets to be had on the east side of town too where it's 'Daggers Against Racism Day'. Prices for this crucial match between the bottom two in League Two start at just £2.50 for adults. Things have gone badly wrong for Dagenham this season with defeats in their last four leaving them six points adrift of safety. It's been a struggle for a few seasons now so relegation wouldn't be a huge shock. It's a different story for the Glovers, however, who were the fairytale side who made it from non-league to the Championship. The Somerset club only managed one season in the second tier and got releagted at the end of 2013/14. Last season they got relegated again and they're currently on course for a third successive relegation which would take them back to life outside the Football League for the first time since 2003. The last match between them produced an entertaining 2-2 draw so hopefully there'll be a few more goals here.  (League Two, Saturday 27 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

6. Sutton United v Margate - although Sutton suffered the disappointment of losing their FA Trophy replay at Bognor, their season is still very much alive. Currently third and without a league defeat in nearly four months, a play-off place is looking almost certain. The team leading the charge to get into the top five with them are Margate who, like Kent rivals Maidstone, came up from the Isthmian League last season and have settled really well. After a bad start which saw them fail to win any of their first nine games, the Gate have taken 19 points from their last seven to surge up the table and should be a match for anyone. (National League South, Saturday 27 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

7. Dulwich Hamlet v East Thurrock United - the Isthmian League title race took some more twists this week meaning it's now East Thurrock's turn to have a spell at the top. A solid midweek win over Met Police coupled with a draw against fellow contenders Bognor has put them ahead of Hampton on goal difference. Dulwich had the chance to make some real headway over the last couple of weeks with fixtures against a host of strugglers but they failed to win any of them. Saturday's postponement saw them lose further ground and they now find themselves fourth, six points off top spot but with a game in hand. If they want to stay in the hunt then they really must win this. Given the importance of the game, another 2,000+ crowd could pack into Champion Hill and I'm hoping to be among them. (Isthmian League Premier Division, Saturday 27 February, 3pm. Ticket info)

8. Egham Town v Royston Town - in the Southern League, the local focus still remains on the Sarnies who got through another two games this week without defeat. The four points gleaned against Ware and Uxbridge left them in third with four games in hand on the leaders. They were supposed to play fourth placed Royston recently but bad weather intervened so they're going to try and go again on Tuesday. (Southern League Division 1 Central, Tuesday 23 February, 745pm. Club info)

9. Epsom & Ewell v Hartley Wintney - the hosts, who groundshare at Chipstead, are regularly among the frontrunners in the Combined Counties League. This season is proving to be no exception with the Surrey club up in third. On Tuesday they welcome the current leaders who are looking increasingly like champions elect. Three points clear of Ashford Town and with three games in hand, it's going to take quite a collapse to stop them. And what of E&E? Although third, they're 12 points back so this match is pretty much their last realistic chance to mount a challenge. (Combined Counties League Premier Division, Tuesday 23 February, 745pm. Club info)

10. CB Hounslow United v Worcester Park - in the division below it's a case of first versus third. Regular readers and CCL watchers will know that CB have been pretty poor over the last few years so this season's dominance has come as quite a shock. Top for some time now, the club who play next to Heathrow Airport thrashed Sandhurst 5-0 on Saturday to remind us what they're capable of. Worcester Park haven't lost for three months and with their game in hand, pose a real threat. (Combined Counties League Division 1, Sunday 27 February, 3pm. Club 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.

1 comment:

  1. You'll be there, too? I hope that I will not change the plans and I will come to this game!

    ReplyDelete