Monday, 30 January 2017

TLFG: 30 January - 5 February 2017

Greetings one and all. Sorry for the late publication of this week's piece - family illness (not serious), babysitting and other family commitments have taken up my time this weekend.

As a result, I didn't get to feast on any of the mouthwatering selection of games that were on offer on Saturday.

I know several people who did make it out and about and I'd like to hear from you if you made it to a game.

The main football news involving our local sides all came in the FA Cup with Arsenal, Chelsea, Fulham, Millwall and Tottenham all making it through to the last 16. 

Tickets for Non-League Finals Day at Wembley are on sale now

However, the biggest story was generated by non-league Sutton United who ousted former winners Leeds United with a deserved 1-0 win on Sunday. Sensationally, they'll be joined in the fifth round by fellow non-leaguers Lincoln City. Both sides are also through to the last 16 in the FA Trophy - if anyone knows when a team last managed to achieve that double please let me know.

Elsewhere over in west London, Southall also made it through to the quarter-finals of the FA Vase. This is quite an achievement for a 10th tier club and they're far from favourites to win. However, they'll pretty much be the home team if they do make the final with their ground at Hanwell Town only 2.5 miles from Wembley.

If you'd like to be at the final in May, it forms part of Non-League Finals Day and tickets are on sale now.

I think that's it from me - enjoy your week.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are almost 100 matches in the London area over the next week with action in the Premier League, EFL, FA Trophy and several minor league and county cup competitions.

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
Magenta pin - Wednesday fixtures




WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Blue pin - Saturday fixtures
Orange pin - Sunday fixtures




TLFG DAILY DIGEST
In the following section I list, by day, what are in my opinion the most notable games of the week and give some brief reasons for my choice. Check the maps above for kick-off times, ticket info and directions.

Monday 30 January

Premier League 2
Fulham v Swansea City @7pm - once again there are several U23 games on Monday with this PL2 game at the Cottagers' training ground being the best on offer

Ryman League Premier Division
Kingstonian v Wingate & Finchley @745pm - the pick of the night's non-league games is this match between two midtable teams who can still mount a play-off charge
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Tuesday 31 January

Premier League
Arsenal v Watford @745pm - there's a full programme of midweek fixtures in the top flight this week with this derby the only game in the capital on Tuesday. The Gunners have won their last eight league games against the Hornets and are in much better form than their opponents so an away win looks highly unlikely

Championship
Brentford v Aston Villa @745pm - after some signs of encouragement, both sides have hit a bit of a rut of late and neither now look like play-off candidates. The ground should still be full though as Griffin Park is small and Villa are a big name with a significant following

Ryman League Premier Division
Metropolitan Police v Enfield Town @745pm - both sides need points at opposite ends of the table so there's plenty to play for

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Wednesday 1 February

Premier League

West Ham United v Manchester City @745pm - the Hammers have already lost twice to City this season in league and cup and shipped eight goals in the process. However, the east London side have improved since their last meeting just over three weeks ago and should put up more of a fight

League One
Millwall v Walsall @745pm - the Lions collected another Premier League scalp in beating Watford in the FA Cup on Sunday and extended their unbeaten run to eight games in the process. Walsall are just behind them in the table and won the reverse fixture in October

Essex Senior League
Wadham Lodge v Waltham Forest @745pm - it's derby time at Wadham Lodge on Wednesday as these two groundsharers do battle

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Saturday 4 February

Premier League
Chelsea v Arsenal @1230pm - undoubtedley the game of the week, this huge London derby gets the weekend's action underway with a bang. The Blues are currently top, eight points ahead of the second placed Gunners so an away win is almost a must if the title race is stay alive. The good news for Arsenal is that they know how to beat this team having triumphed 3-0 at the Emirates back in September
Crystal Palace v Sunderland @3pm - there's an almost equally important game at Selhurst Park where two of the bottom three meet for a crucial relegation six-pointer. New boss Sam Allardyce is really struggling to get the Eagles going - will this match against his last club prove to be the breakthrough moment?
Tottenham Hotspur v Middlesbrough @3pm - both teams need the points at either ends of the table and Boro will start as massive underdogs. Spurs are doing really well in third, won at the Riverside earlier in the season and have lost only one of their last 10 against the Teesside club
Watford v Burnley @3pm - the other top-flight game of the day is relatively low key with both sides safely in midtable. However, Watford are in terrible form and badly need to arrest a run which has seen them go seven without a win in the league and saw them lose at League One Millwall in the FA Cup on Sunday

League One
Charlton Athletic v Fleetwood Town @3pm - the Addicks kept their play-off hopes alive with a fine 2-1 win at high flying Bolton on Saturday. The result still left them six points off the top six so they'll really need to win this match against a side who are part of that leading pack

League Two
Barnet v Mansfield Town @3pm - there's an intriguing clash at The Hive between two sides just outside the play-off places. A win for either could see them end the day in the all important top seven
Leyton Orient v Carlisle United @3pm - the O's are in serious trouble with their fourth consecutive loss dropping them into the relegation zone on Saturday. On paper, it would appear they'll struggle to get anything out of this one too as the Cumbrians are third and on course for automatic promotion

FA Trophy Third Round - the competition, for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers, is down to its last 16 teams so it's getting serious. The winners of each tie win £7,000 prize money and move a step closer to a Wembley final in May
Sutton United v Boreham Wood @3pm - after their FA Cup heroics against Leeds on Sunday, the U's now find themselves in the last 16 of two major competitions. On Saturday they face another London club who are currently six points above them in the National League but a home crowd and their current momentum should see them start as favourites
Welling United v Lincoln City @3pm - there can't have been many times, if ever, when a club has made it to the last 16 of the FA Cup and FA Trophy but this year two teams have done it. Joining Sutton in achieving this feat are Lincoln who beat Brighton on Saturday. Welling had a terrible start to the season but are on a great run at the moment but facing the National League leaders will be incredibly tough
Wealdstone v Brackley Town @3pm - the Stones made it to the semi-finals in 2012 and won it way back in 1985 so they've got a proud history in this competition. In Brackley they face a midtable team from the parallel National League North so they're very beatable

Ryman League Premier Division
Wingate & Finchley v Enfield Town @3pm - there's a derby at Summers Lane where two north London clubs who sit just outside the play-off places will be looking to join the leading pack
Harrow Borough v Bognor Regis Town @3pm - the Boro welcome league leaders Bognor for a game that's of significance to both sides at either end of the table

Ryman League Division 1 North
Thurrock v Tilbury @3pm - the hosts are in third but are nine points off top spot so a title shot seems unlikely. On Saturday they welcome local rivals Tilbury for this Essex derby

Ryman League Division 1 South
Greenwich Borough v Dorking Wanderers @3pm - after losing at title rivals Tooting on Saturday, Greenwich face another tough game against one of their main challengers for top spot

Spartan South Midlands League Division 1
Southall v Harpenden Town @3pm - the hosts made it through to the FA Vase quarter-finals on Sunday and are firmly in contention for promotion in the league too. Harpenden are currently second so should provide a stern test

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Sunday 5 February

Championship
Brentford v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - the Bees have a big week and it ends with this game against the current leaders. Brighton is close to London so this is pretty much a derby and the ground will be packed

Southern Counties East League Premier Division
Erith & Belvdere v Ashford United @3pm - E&B are struggling a bit this season and it won't get any easier when the side at the top of the table pay them a visit

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Eltham Palace v Rusthall @3pm - there's a similar scenario in the division below where Rusthall will look to extend their lead at top


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. 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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