Sunday, 5 February 2017

TLFG: 6-12 February 2017

Welcome all to this week's TLFG.

I haven't got a huge amount to write about this week so I'll just put out there the strange fact that half of London's Premier League and EFL clubs aren't actually based in the area they hail from or are supposed to represent.

Arsenal started off in Woolwich in south-east London, Chelsea play in Fulham, West Ham are based in Stratford, QPR aren't in Queens Park, Wimbledon are based in Kingston, Millwall is on the Isle of Dogs (north of the river) while the club play in Bermondsey and Barnet's new ground is in Harrow. You could even argue that Crystal Palace is closer to Croydon or Thornton Heath but that would be churlish.

If bought in advance, tickets for Fulham v Wigan start at £20
There are also several non-league teams who are located several miles from their home towns. One of the most notable are Clapton who play in Forest Gate and have done since the 19th century. Wealdstone were the top club in Harrow for many years and had a central location in the town - now they play in Ruislip several miles west and don't look like returning. There are quite a few others too.

As I say, there's no great point to this, I just thought it might be interesting.

In the real world of football, Chelsea look almost home and dry when it comes to winning the Premier League after their 3-1 victory over Arsenal put them nine points clear of Spurs.

At the other end it's been a weird week for Palace who enjoyed a priceless win at Bournemouth on Tuesday only to get thrashed at home by bottom club Sunderland on Saturday - Sam Allardyce clearly still has a lot of work to do.

The non-league story of the week was Sutton United beating Leeds in the FA Cup and then drawing Arsenal at home in the fifth round. The match has been picked for live TV coverage which is good because you'll have no chance of getting a ticket if you're not a member or season-ticket holder of either team. 

Well I think that's about from me. Have a good week and enjoy your football.

THE WEEK AHEAD
There are over 80 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 6 February

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

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Sporting Club Thamesmead v Forest Hill Park @745pm - if you'd like to check out a non-league game instead, this match in SE28 is the only game that's on
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Tuesday 7 February

League Two
Leyton Orient v Morecambe @745pm - the O's made it five defeats on the trot on Saturday as their season continues to disappoint. Still in the bottom two but only a point adrift of safety, a win against lower midtable Morecambe is possible

FA Trophy Third Round Replays
Boreham Wood v Sutton United @745pm - after fighting out a goalless draw on Saturday, these two National League sides will do battle again on Tuesday for a place in the last eight
Dulwich Hamlet v Braintree Town @745pm - the hosts, from the seventh tier, are lowest ranked side left in the competition but are well supported and could upset Braintree who have struggled in the National League this season

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Gosport Borough @745pm - the wins have started to dry up a bit of late for Hampton as they've fallen to eighth in the table. However, they're only two points behind the play-off places so a win against lowly Gosport could put them back in contention

Ryman League Premier Division
Hendon v Bognor Regis Town @745pm - the Greens' fight against relegation received a boost with a win over Grays on Saturday. However, their next fixture sees them welcome league leaders Bognor who have opened a four-point lead at the top

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Wednesday 8 February

Ryman League Premier Division
Grays Athletic v Harrow Borough @745pm - the hosts seem to have been bottom of the division all season but they've kept themselves in touch with the rest and will take a significant stride towards safety if they can beat fellow relegation fighters Harrow

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Saturday 11 February

Premier League
Arsenal v Hull City @1230pm - after breezing past Southampton in the FA Cup last weekend, the week just gone has been a bit of a disaster for the Gunners. With back-to-back league defeats against local rivals Watford and Chelsea, they've dropped to third and are now a whopping 12 points behind the Blues in the race for the title. Normally a home game against Hull would be a good antidote to such a run but the relegation threatened Tigers have had a great few days which have seen them take four points off Manchester United and Liverpool
West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion @3pm - I foolishly predicted last week that an improved Hammers side would do better against Manchester City on Wednesday but they got stuffed again. However, it seems they are becoming a bogey side for the east Londoners who responded superbly with a 3-1 win at Southampton on Saturday. The Baggies are still going along nicely and sit just above Slaven Bilic's side in the table - I doubt it will be a goalfest

Championship
Fulham v Wigan Athletic @3pm - the Cottagers are making a habit of closing in on the play-off places and then blowing it to slip back down. This week has seen this form repeated with a midweek win at Burton followed up with a loss to Birmingham, leaving them six points off the pace. They are still the best London has to offer in this division and should beat the struggling Latics
Queens Park Rangers v Huddersfield Town @3pm - Ian Holloway's QPR side are also a model of inconsistency at the moment with a fantastic draw at Newcastle on Wednesday bookended by woeful defeats to Burton and Blackburn. On Saturday tough Yorkshire outfit Huddersfield come to W12 looking to force their way back into the top four

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Charlton Athletic @3pm - if you can get a ticket, this derby is likely to provide a better spectacle and atmosphere than either of the above. Neck and neck in midtable these two London rivals should produce a decent game but the ground is small and tickets are limited to season-ticket holders and members with most already gone
Millwall v Southend United @3pm - over in Bermondsey, this match is pretty close to being a derby as the Shrimpers hail from Essex just to east of London. These two are also pushing hard for a play-off place. The good news is that the Den is much bigger than Kingsmeadow so tickets are readily available

National League South
Hampton & Richmond Borough v Margate @3pm - with all our local fifth-tier teams on the road this week, this match is the pick of the non-league games. A midweek win could see Hampton start this match in the top five. A win against bottom club Margate could see them reach the giddy heights of the top four

Ryman League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Merstham @3pm - the Towners have had a bit of wobble recently suffering consecutive defeats to Burgess Hill and Met Police but they turned it round in style in Saturday's derby at Wingate, winning 5-1. They're still firmly in touch with all the play-off contenders and beating lowly Merstham could finally get them into the top five

Ryman League Division 1 North
Aveley v Bowers & Pitsea @3pm - the hosts are having a decent season and sit eighth, well placed for a tilt at the play-offs. Bowers won the Essex Senior League last year and are having a fine debut season at this level, currently occupying fifth place
Haringey Borough v Cheshunt @3pm - on the north side of town there's another match between a couple of play-off contenders for you to consider

Essex Senior League
Barking v Takeley @3pm - the Blues have been leading the league for a while but lost at title challengers Clapton last week and dropped another two points at Hullbridge on Saturday as the Tons went top in their place. However, they still have four games in hand and are only a point behind. On Saturday fourth placed Takeley come to Mayesbrook Park for another crunch match

Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
Cockfosters v Wembley @3pm - in third, the hosts have had a great season but leaders London Colney have just been too good and seem uncatchable by the Chalk Lane club. On Saturday they take on Wembley who have also had a good campaign and are fifth at the time of writing

Southern Counties East League Division 1
Bridon Ropes v Rusthall @3pm - down in SE7, the Ropes host leaders Rusthall who are just a point ahead of Glebe and therefore need a win in this top-six clash

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Sunday 12 February

FA Women's Premier League South
Queens Park Rangers v Coventry United @2pm - QPR have had a season to forget and are currently battling to avoid the proverbial wooden spoon. Coventry, on the other hand, are only three points off the top at the time of writing so will provide tough opposition
West Ham United v Portsmouth @2pm - fellow strugglers West Ham face a midtable Pompey side who are winless in two


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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