Sunday, 15 September 2019

TLFG: 16-22 September 2019

Greetings one and all.

This week's TLFG is going to be a bit minimal for now.

I've been really busy over the last few days so it's just the match maps for now and I'll try and give you some more detail tomorrow.

There are some really good games on this week and Sunday looks like being one of the busiest ever with matches in the Premier League, FA Cup and Women's Super League.

Many thanks also this week for all the emails I received from TLFG readers including Vegard, Nathan and Joakim - hopefully you all enjoyed your football watching.

Lastly this week, many thanks to all the readers who have donated to TLFG's lung cancer fighting fund over the last few months. I really really appreciate it and thanks for all your kind words. The page will stay open as the fight goes on!

As always - enjoy your football and have a great week.

UPDATE (17/09/19) - the TLFG Daily Digest has now been updated with my picks for the week ahead


THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include the return of the Champions League and a full programme of Premier League and EFL fixtures. We also have the next round of the FA Cup and plenty of games in all our local non-league competitions - there are over 90 matches in total so there's plenty to choose from. 

As always, please make sure you check with clubs before you travel just in case a game has been called off or the venue or kick-off time has changed - this is highly possible for some of the lower non-league clubs. 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 (orange 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.

MIDWEEK MATCH MAP
Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - magenta pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin



WEEKEND MATCH MAP
Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin



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.

Tuesday 17 September

Champions League
Chelsea v Valenica @745pm - after winning last season's Europa League, the Blues return to Champions League action with this game against the side who finished fourth in Spain. Frank Lampard's side come into this on the back of an impressive 5-2 away win at Wolves while Valencia lost by a similar score to Barcelona to sit only two points above the relegation zone - it looks like Chelsea's to lose. Tickets have sold out

League Two
Leyton Orient v Crewe Alexandra @745pm - your next best option is this fourth-tier contest. Winless in four, the O's are starting to slide down the table so three points here would be very useful. However, Crewe could move level with the leaders if results go their way so will be very tough to beat. Tickets are available from £20

National League
Barnet v Aldershot Town @745pm - there's also a decent bit of action in the fifth tier too where a resurgent Bees side will break into the top four with a hefty win over the struggling Shots

FA Vase Second Qualifying Round
Molesey v Greenwich Borough @745pm - after seeing Saturday's original tie abandoned (this is not a replay), the clubs will try again on Tuesday. A visit to Fisher on Non-League Day awaits the winners
Hillingdon Borough v Harborough Town @745pm - after fighting out a thrilling 3-3 draw at the weekend, the hosts will look to try and cause an upset in this replay by beating a side from the level above 
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Wednesday 18 September

Isthmian League North Division
Grays Athletic v Tilbury @745pm - it's derby day in Essex where these local rivals meet for bragging rights. Grays will also go joint top if they win

Essex Senior League
Sporting Bengal United v Tower Hamlets @745pm - it's also the Mile End derby between sides who share the same ground. Both clubs originally have their roots in the local Bengali community and this can get quite lively, in a good way

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Thursday 19 September

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
Fire United v Newbury Forest @745pm - thanks to this match, we've got our first week where there's a match every day. Even at this early stage of the season, this has the look of a relegation six-pointer about it. The hosts have lost all four of their opening games, conceding 17 goals in the process whilst Forest have only picked up one point  from six so don't expect a high level of quality!

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Friday 20 September

Premier League 2
Fulham v Reading @7pm - if you've not been to Craven Cottage before, this U23 game is your chance. At only £3 for adults, it's great value too 

Eastern Counties League Division 1 South
May & Baker v Little Oakley @745pm - if you want a non-league option or you're based on the east side of town, then this is your best bet. This game will see the visitors go top if they win

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Saturday 21 September

Championship
Millwall v Queens Park Rangers @3pm - there isn't any Premier League action in London on Saturday leaving this tasty derby in the second tier to take second stage. After getting off to a fine start, the Lions are now winless in four and down in 15th. QPR, on the other hand, have won three in a row to climb to seventh. However, form usually deserts the visitors on their trips to The Den where the hosts and their fans usually get really stuck in. In fact, Rangers' last away win against them was in 1990. The good news for you is that tickets are on general sale, starting at £25
Brentford v Stoke City @3pm - if that's not for you, then you've got another opportunity to visit Griffin Park before it gets demolished at the end of the season. Despite their lengthy spell in the Premier League, Stoke have really struggled since coming down and are bottom after seven games. The Bees haven't had a great start but won this fixture 3-1 last season and should take all the points again. Tickets are on general sale

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Bristol Rovers @3pm - another week has gone by and I'm sad to report that the Dons are still without a win. Thankfully there are quite a few other pretty shocking teams so they're not bottom and still in touch with the rest of the pack. The visitors are another midtable team that they need to be beating to have any chance of staying up. Tickets are available

National League
Boreham Wood v Stockport County @3pm - the hosts should be able to expect one of the biggest crowds of the season at Meadow Park when former second tier side Stockport pay a visit. After falling out of the EFL in 2010, Stockport have found life tough but they're now back in the fifth tier and things are looking a lot brighter. The Wood need to get something out of this tough fixture or they could end the day in the relegation zone
Bromley v Notts County @3pm - arguably the match of the day at this level takes place at Hayes Lane where the title-chasing hosts welcome one of the National League's newest members, the recently relegated Notts County. Like many former EFL clubs before them, they haven't found the adjustment that easy and after a rocky start are gradually climbing the table. Again, you should expect a sizeable non-league crowd for this one
Sutton United v Chesterfield @3pm - it's a very similar story at Gander Green Lane where another one of London's non-league grandees hosts a former EFL club. All all the former league clubs in action, the Spireites are in the biggest difficulty and start this match in the relegation zone. Sadly, Sutton aren't up to their usual standards and could be beaten

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
The world's favourite cup competition reaches what is in reality its fourth round. At this point, all the clubs in the sixth tier enter the draw so the chances of any real minnows progressing greatly diminishes. The winners of each tie receive £6,750, the losers £2,250 so there's quite a bit at stake. There are numerous ties all over London, here are a few juicy ones which stand out for me

Corinthian Casuals v Chelmsford City @3pm - one of the capital's most historic clubs, who were the inspiration for Brazilian giants Corinthians, host a team from the level above them. A cult side with a growing following, Casuals could give their Essex opponents a challenging afternoon
Enfield Town v Braintree Town @3pm - there's a similar match up in north London where an Isthmian Premier side host one from the NLS. Enfield are one of the biggest clubs in their league and are among the title contenders but their opponents are in great form and are pushing for promotion back to fifth tier where they played last season - it looks tough for the hosts
Harrow Borough v Carshalton Athletic @3pm - these two used to play regularly in the Isthmian League and Harrow would often struggle. However, since moving to the parallel Southern League, the Boro have found themselves in the top eight most of the time. It will be interesting to see how they fare against the Robins who are on the best sides in the Isthmian League - is the Southern League much weaker or have Harrow simply got way better over the last year?
Tooting & Mitcham United v Dorking Wanderers @3pm - these two fought tooth and nail for the Isthmian League South Division title in 2016/17 with Tooting coming out on top on goal difference only as both sides accrued an almost unbelievable 105 points each! Wanderers had to settle for promotion via the play-offs. In the end it is the visitors who have gone on to prosper with Tooting coming straight back down and Dorking getting promoted again last season. With two divisions now between them, the smart money would appear to be on the visitors
Balham v Royston Town @3pm - tiny Balham FC have enjoyed a fine few years. Founded in 2011 they've moved rapidly up the divisions and now find themselves in the Combined Counties Premier Division. The ninth tier club don't have a ground of their own but have still continued to thrive and are among the frontrunners in the league this season. With wins over Rusthall, Redhill and Horley Town they've only faced teams of a similar quality. Royston play two levels above them so this will be a real test of their ability but this is the cup and anything can happen
Hadley v Ramsgate @3pm - up in north London another ninth-tier team have landed a home draw. They also have to face higher level opposition but only from the division above. Ramsgate are also bottom of their division without a league win whilst Hadley are among the title contenders in the Essex Senior League so this has cupset written all over it. If they do pull off the win, it will take their cumulative prize money from this season's competition to a sizeable £16,390 - a huge amount for a club at this level
Walthamstow v Abbey Rangers @3pm - this tie stands out as it pits two of the lowest ranked teams left in the competition against each other, meaning we'll get at least one locally based ninth-tier club in the next round. On paper, the two midtable teams look very well matched so this is one of the toughest ones to call
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Sunday 22 September

It really is Super Sunday in the capital with four Premier League games, two FA Cup matches and seven women's games - I can't remember a busier one!

Premier League
West Ham United v Manchester United @2pm - the Hammers have made a promising start to the campaign and are now up in eighth with only one defeat from their first five. Despite all the negativity surrounding Man Utd, they are still in the top four but are on level points with six other teams including their hosts. The good news - tickets are available on general sale
Crystal Palace v Wolverhampton Wanderers @2pm - with seven points from five games, Palace will be happy enough with the start they've made. After qualifying for the Europa League, a lot was expected of Wolves this season but they're yet to win and find themselves in the bottom two. Tickets are only available to members
Arsenal v Aston Villa @430pm - with just outside the top six and the other just above the relegation zone, neither of these clubs are really where they want to be. The Gunners are now three without a win after throwing away a 2-0 lead at Watford on Sunday. Villa have managed only one win and have conceded a total of 13 goals on their last three visits to the Emirates. Tickets are only available to members
Chelsea v Liverpool @430pm - the game of the day takes place at Stamford Bridge where Frank Lampard's improving Blues take on the league leaders who have won every game this season. The two last met in August in the European Super Cup where Liverpool edged to victory on penalties in Istanbul. Unsurprisingly this is sold out

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round
There are two ties on Sunday with Cray Wanderers, London's oldest club, welcoming Soham Town Rangers from the level below and Kingstonian hosting Grays Athletic in another all Isthmian League tie. On paper both home teams should win and both kick-off at 3pm. UPDATE 21/09/19: THE MATCH AT KINGSTONIAN IS NOW OFF

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v West Ham United @2pm  - there are several women's matches on Sunday but the pick would seem to be the derby at AFC Wimbledon's ground. Fourth and fifth at the time of writing, this could be closer than in recent seasons


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 in the London area for this blog then get in touch. I also very much welcome photos of your football travels.

NEED HELP?
Got any questions about visiting London? Don't hesitate to ask - be they football or more general travel/touristy queries. I do not charge for this advice like some other sites so don't hold back!

You can contact TLFG through the comments section below or via FacebookTwitter or even by good old email.

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