Sunday, 19 January 2020

TLFG: 20-26 January 2020

Greetings and welcome to this week's TLFG.

If you're in London over the next few days and looking for a bargain then you've picked a pretty good time as it's FA Cup Fourth Round weekend and most clubs are selling tickets at much cheaper prices than normal.

You should be able to get in for a cockle at West Ham, a commodore at QPR and a pony at Millwall. If your slang's not up to scratch, do a bit of research and find out what I'm on about here.

Although not as cheap, there are also opportunities to watch Premier League games at Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday with both matches on sale to non-members, something which doesn't happen very often.

It's also Women's FA Cup weekend with this tie topping the bill - tickets
It's also the Women's FA Cup Fourth Round this weekend with a number of ties taking place around the capital.

Earlier today I took up the FA's offer and bought a couple of tickets for the final at Wembley in May for the princely sum of £7.50 - you read that right, £7.50 for two tickets to a Wembley cup final!

I've been to the last two and really enjoyed the experience so give it some consideration, especially if you've never been to the national stadium.

The week ahead sees me head to Paris for what can best be described as a pan-European 'Non-League Day' planning meeting with the team at So Foot magazine and representatives from a few other other nations dialling in.

It's then off to watch Red Star play Bourg-en-Bresse in the French third tier - not the way I usually spend a Friday night.

Hopefully I'll be able to report back this time next week.

Lastly, many thanks as always to those who have donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. It makes writing this even more worthwhile so many, many thanks.

THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, men's and women's FA Cup, EFL and loads of other matches in our local non-league competitions. 

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.

Cheap tickets are on offer at Boreham Wood this Saturday
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 - blue 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.

Monday 20 January

Isthmian League North
Aveley v Felixstowe & Walton United @745pm - the Millers' fine run in the FA Trophy means they have some games in hand. If they win this one by three goals or more then they'll go top

-------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday 21 January

Premier League
Chelsea v Arsenal @815pm - we've got a midweek round of top-flight action to look forward to with this big London derby topping the bill. Both suffered disappointing results at the weekend but with the Blues 10 points and six places ahead of Arsenal, they must start as strong favourites. Tickets are not available to non-members
Crystal Palace v Southampton @730pm - the Eagles nicked a late equaliser to earn a 2-2 draw at Manchester City on Saturday as they avoided defeat at the Etihad again. That should give them confidence going into this match against a much-improved Saints side who have only lost one of their last five. Unusually for a Palace home game, tickets are on sale to non-members

League Two
Leyton Orient v Northampton Town @745pm - the O's lost at Port Vale on Saturday to remain in the bottom five and now find themselves just five points above the bottom club who will go down. It's going to get even tougher on Tuesday when the promotion chasing Cobblers pay them a visit. Tickets are available

FA Trophy Second Round Replay
Barnet v Farsley Celtic @745pm - after drawing in Yorkshire just over a week ago and then seeing the replay postponed, the Bees will have another go at beating the side from the National League North. The winners will host Barrow in the next round

National League South
Dulwich Hamlet v Havant & Waterlooville @745pm - the Hamlet have strung together a nice little four-game unbeaten run but they're not out of the woods yet as just five points separates them from the relegation zone. Havant have been up among the play-off places for a while and will be tough to beat - however, Dulwich did beat them in the FA Cup back in the autumn

Southern League Premier Division South
Hayes & Yeading United v Poole Town @745pm - after a slow start H&YU have got things together and are now starting to catch the leading pack. Saturday's results saw them end the day six points adrift of the play-off places so there is hope. Poole lost to Hayes in the FA Cup earlier in the season and are just behind them in the table but have several games in hand on all of those above them so they're real contenders

Isthmian League South Central
Barking v Uxbridge @745pm - sitting just outside the play-off places, both sides have games in hand on fifth placed Waltham Abbey who they need to catch. A big game for each team

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday 22 January

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City @730pm - after a pretty positive start to his time in N17, Jose Mourinho has now seen his side win only one of their last five league games and they could slide into the bottom half with a loss here. However, the chances of bottom club Norwich picking up any points are pretty remote although they did win their crucial game against fellow strugglers Bournemouth on Saturday. Tickets are on sale to non-members


Championship

Charlton Athletic v Fulham @745pm - in the second tier we have this crosstown London derby between sides seemingly going in opposite directions. Not much was expected of the Addicks when they came up so it raised quite a few eyebrows when they started so well. Sadly they've been going backwards since the autumn and Saturday's loss to Preston left them in the bottom six. Fulham, on the other hand, are third and closing in on the automatic promotion places. Tickets are available

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Crystal Palace @1pm - you can get a double helping of Addicks action on Wednesday as their U23 team are playing their counterparts from local rivals Palace at Dartford's ground

London Senior Cup Quarter-Final
Erith Town v Tooting & Mitcham United @745pm - the Dockers last made the final of this competition in 2000 but got thrashed by the now defunct Bedfont. Tooting & Mitcham are the second most successful club in LSC history with seven titles but it's been four years since their last one

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday 23 January

London Underground League
This competition sees teams from each of the network's lines and associated TfL teams fight for glory at the 4G facility on Market Road near Caledonian Road station. Matches take place at 4pm and spectators are very welcome. There are usually a couple of fixtures a week - check the league's Twitter feed for all the latest. On Thursday, the Elizabeth Line take on the Piccadilly Line who are top of the league

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Friday 24 January

FA Cup Fourth Round
Queens Park Rangers v Sheffield Wednesday @8pm - the next round of the FA Cup gets underway in London on Friday at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium. QPR have been notoriously bad in this competition over the last 20 years but made it to the Fifth Round last year and demolished Swansea 5-1 to make the Fourth Round this year. After beating title chasing Leeds 1-0 on Saturday to extend their fine recent home record, they next face Wednesday who are in poor form and lost 5-0 at home to Blackburn this weekend. Tickets are available for £15

Essex Senior League
Tower Hamlets v Southend Manor @745pm - if you'd prefer some non-league action then make your way to Mile End where you'll find this ninth-tier contest taking place

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday 25 January

FA Cup Fourth Round
West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion @3pm - the FA Cup often throws up some good ticket bargains and that's certainly the case here as the Hammers welcome the Baggies who currently top the Championship. Tickets are available from £10
Brentford v Leicester City @1245pm - arguably the tie of the day in the capital could end up being the last ever FA Cup match to be played at Griffin Park. The Bees are one of the Championship's top clubs and play some really decent football so Premier League high-flyers Leicester will have to be very careful. Tickets are not available
Millwall v Sheffield United @3pm - there's also a very decent looking game at The Den where we have a pretty similar match-up. The Lions kept themselves firmly in the hunt for a play-off place with a win over Reading on Saturday. The Blades, although newly promoted to the Premier League, are taking it by storm and should start as favourites. Tickets are available for £25

League Two

Leyton Orient v Newport County @3pm - the O's FA Cup run ended early at the hands of non-league Maldon & Tiptree who went on to lose to Newport in the next round. County are starting to generate a bit of form so should get something here. Tickets are available

National League
Boreham Wood v Barrow @3pm - in terms of attendance, the Wood are the smallest club in the NL by some distance. With average crowds of just 664 it's quite some achievement to find themselves in the top five after 30 games and firmly in contention for a play-off place. On Saturday they welcome the leaders for what should be an intriguing game. It's also the club's community day and there are special ticket deals on offer
Bromley v Barnet @3pm - the hosts have been London's top non-league club for most of this season but have lost form of late and could slip below Boreham Wood if results go against them. The Bees are on a decent unbeaten run but haven't played a league game for over two weeks because of bad weather
Dagenham & Redbridge v Notts County @3pm - the big games continue as the Daggers welcome the division's biggest club to Victoria Road. County suffered a surprise relegation from the EFL at the end of last season and have adjusted well after a disappointing start

National League South
Wealdstone v Bath City @3pm - the division's top two do battle at Grosvenor Vale in one of the biggest games of the weekend at any level. The reverse fixture, last month, ended in a 0-0 draw

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Cray Wanderers @3pm - the top 10 in this division is getting pretty congested with a number of teams having games in hand which could make a big difference on the final table. The Towners are seventh and Cray fifth but it's the hosts who have two of those games in hand so a win would be very handy for either

Isthmian League South East
Cray Valley PM v Ashford United @3pm - fifh placed CVPM welcome second placed Ashford in the game of the day in the eighth tier. A win for the hosts could end up giving leaders Hastings a seven-point lead whilst strengthening their hold on a play-off place

CCL Premier Division
Spelthorne Sports v Molesey @3pm - in the ninth tier, get yourself to Sunbury for this top four clash which could have a significant impact on a very competitive title race

SSML Division 1
St Panteleimon v Winslow United @3pm - there's another top-two clash over in west London. If the Wealdstone game doesn't take your fancy then this hugely important game in the 10th tier might. The hosts have only lost one league game this season but are only three points ahead
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday 26 January

Women's FA Cup Fourth Round
West Ham United v Arsenal @1pm - it's not all about the men's FA Cup this weekend as the women's version is also taking place. The tie of the round is to be found in Rush Green out near Romford where the Hammers, last season's beaten finalists, do battle with the reigning league champions. On paper the Gunners should win but they got stuffed 4-1 at home by title rivals Chelsea on Sunday so maybe this is a good time to play them. Tickets are £8 

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.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

TLFG: 13-19 January 2020

Greetings and welcome to the latest edition of TLFG - I hope you're well.

I've been really pushed for time this week so I'm going to keep this bit brief.

This week's piece has most of the normal features so you won't be lacking info but I don't have that much to say on a personal level.

However, big congratulations are in order to Aveley and Sutton Common Rovers who gave two of the performances of the week in the FA Trophy and FA Vase respectively.

Tickets for Tottenham's cup replay at their new stadium are only £20
SCR's win means they are now the only London club left in the competition, whilst Aveley are the only club from within the M25 to have so far made it through to the next round (there are a couple of replays pending).

The Millers are one of the lowest ranked teams left in the Trophy and they've beaten several 'superior' teams to make it through six rounds and into the last 16.

Former EFL clubs like Notts County, Stockport County and Yeovil Town will all be waiting for them in Monday's Third Round draw so let's see what happens.

Lastly, many thanks as always to those who have donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. It makes writing this even more worthwhile so many, many thanks.

THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, FA Cup, FA Trophy, Women's Super League and loads of other matches in our local non-league competitions. 

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 - blue 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.

Monday 13 January

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Millwall @1pm - the week begins with some U23 action at Dartford's Princes Park stadium. I'm not sure of the admission cost but it won't be more than £5

Isthmian League North
Aveley v Bury Town @745pm - the best non-league game of the day takes place at Parkside where two of the division's top four go head-to-head

-------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday 14 January

FA Cup Third Round Replay
Tottenham Hotspur v Middlesbrough @745pm - after only managing a draw at the Riverside, Spurs entertain Championship club Boro at the THS. If you haven't been to their new ground, now's your chance as tickets are on sale to non-members and they're only £20

FA Trophy Second Round Replay
Barnet v Farsley Celtic @745pm - the Bees face opposition from Yorkshire as they look to make further progress down a more realistic road to Wembley. Farsley play one level below Barnet so should start as underdogs. Tickets are £15

Isthmian League South East
Cray Valley PM v Whyteleafe @745pm - the hosts won the SCEFL and made it to the FA Vase final last season. They've adjusted to life at the higher level really well and are in the top four again. Fellow south London club Whyteleafe are also challenging for promotion so this should be a decent contest

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday 15 January

FA Women's League Cup Quarter-Finals

Arsenal v Reading @7pm - the biggest crowds of the day will probably be found in women's football. The tie of the round pits the reigning Super League champions and current leaders against another one of the country's top four. Adult tickets are only £7 if bought online in advance or £10 on the gate
Chelsea v Aston Villa @7pm - in the other match to be played in London, the Blues should start as strong favourites against Villa who play in the division below. However, the Midlands club are top of the Championship and come into this match in great form. Adult tickets for this match are only £3

Isthmian League Premier Division
Cray Wanderers v Hornchurch @745pm - the oldest club in London welcome the Urchins to Hayes Lane as two of the division's top six look for crucial points to help with their promotion push. The visitors bowed out of the FA Trophy on Saturday after surprisingly losing at home to Aveley. As a result of their cup exploits they have four games in hand on most of the top six, meaning they could go top if they win them all

A bit further afield
In the FA Youth Cup, Chelsea U18s entertain their counterparts from Bradford City at Aldershot Town's ground. The Blues youngsters have dominated this competition in recent years but didn't win last season and will want to regain their crown. Tickets shouldn't be more than £5

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday 16 January

London Underground League
This competition sees teams from each of the network's lines and associated TfL teams fight for glory at the 4G facility on Market Road near Caledonian Road station. Matches take place at 4pm and spectators are very welcome. There are usually a couple of fixtures a week - check the league's Twitter feed for all the latest. On Thursday, London Overground play the Elizabeth Line

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Friday 17 January

Championship
Fulham v Middlesbrough @745pm - after playing Spurs on Tuesday, you wonder whether Boro will be staying in London for this game otherwise it's going to be a pretty punishing schedule for the Teesside club. After a poor start to the season, Jonathan Woodgate's side are on a great run of form and an inconsistent Fulham will have to be careful. Tickets are available to non-members

Premier League International Cup
Arsenal v Leicester City @7pm - if you'd prefer a cheaper option, head to Boreham Wood's ground for some U23 football. This competition features clubs from all over Europe and is currently at its group stage
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday 18 January

Premier League
Watford v Tottenham Hotspur @1230pm - the Hornets looked dead and buried before Nigel Pearson came in. They're now one of the division's form teams and moved out of the relegation zone on Sunday with a very comfortable 3-0 win at fellow strugglers Bournemouth. With only one win from their last five games, Spurs could well become Watford's next victims. Tickets are not available to non-members
Arsenal v Sheffield United @3pm - the Gunners' disappointing season continued on Saturday with a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace. The result leaves the north London club 11 points adrift of the Champions League places which the visiting Blades are looking the more likely of the two to crack into. The Yorkshire club have made a superb return to the top flight and are still in the top six with well over half their games played. Tickets are not available to non-members
West Ham United v Everton @3pm - over at the Olympic Park we've got the David Moyes derby as the current Hammers' manager prepares to take on one of his former clubs. The Irons lost to Sheffield United in their last game to leave them just one point above the relegation zone. The Toffees also have a new boss in the dugout and things are improving steadily under Carlo Ancelotti. Tickets are available to non-members

Championship
Queens Park Rangers v Leeds United @1230pm - after losing the derby match to Brentford, QPR face another big game against title chasing Leeds. Last season, a pretty mediocre Rangers side really raised their game when playing Marcelo Bielsa's team and beat them 1-0 as Luke Freeman gave a virtuoso display. Speaking to a Leeds fan I know, they have a pretty poor record against London clubs in recent seasons and have only won on three of their last 10 visits to W12. Tickets are on sale to non-members but you must have been on QPR's ticket database prior to 23 December
Millwall v Reading @3pm - no such restriction will be in place for the kind of derby between the Lions and Royals. Millwall are one of the smallest clubs in the division so they're doing really well to be in the top eight in mid-January. Their form is a little inconsistent unlike Reading who are on a decent unbeaten run after a poor start - it could well be close. Tickets are on sale to non-members

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Peterborough United @3pm - the Dons narrowly lost at Portsmouth on Saturday as they failed to pull well clear of the relegation zone again. With only one win from their last five, they're only two points above the bottom three. Posh are once again going for promotion and they're currently one point outside the play-off places. It looks like being a tough afternoon for the hosts. Tickets are on sale to non-members

National League
Barnet v Dagenham & Redbridge @3pm - there's a crosstown derby in the fifth tier where the Bees will look to take all three points off a struggling Daggers side. The Essex club parted company with former England boss Peter Taylor a couple of weeks ago and they'll be hoping things improve under his replacement Daryl McMahon

National League South
Welling United v Hungerford Town @3pm - talking of new managers, the Wings have just installed former Braintree and Enfield Town boss Bradley Quinton to try and stave off relegation. The south-east London club are bottom of the form table and just above bottom club Hungerford in the real table which means this game is huge for both

Isthmian League Premier Division
Carshalton Athletic v Wingate & Finchley @3pm - my MOTD in the seventh tier is this one as it's highly important for goings on at either end of the table. At the time of writing, the Robins are fourth and are London's top ranked Isthmian League club. Wingate are rock bottom and you wonder if this is the year when they finally fail to stay up - with tiny crowds, they've been punching above their weight since getting promoted nearly 10 years ago

Isthmian League South Central
Hanwell Town v Westfield @3pm - there's only one place to be on Saturday if you're into eighth-tier football and that is Reynolds Field where the current top two do battle for the leadership of the division. Located a few minutes walk from Perivale Tube station on the Central Line and just off the A40, this is an easy ground to get to

CCL Premier Division
Sutton Common Rovers v Spelthorne Sports @3pm - it was hard to pick a game in the ninth tier but I've gone for this one after having a closer look at the league table. Although way down in 11th, SCR have three games in hand on most of those above them because of their great run in the FA Vase. After winning at Christchurch on Saturday, they are now the only London club left in the competition and will hope to emulate former Combined Counties League side Chertsey who won it last year. Spelthorne are in the top four but will be caught by SCR if they win those games in hand

SSML Division 1
New Salamis v Shefford Town & Campton @3pm - again there is no real standout fixture at this level on Saturday but this one between two of the division's top five should provide some reasonable fare. It's also being played at Enfield Town's ground so the facilities are pretty good

MCFL Premier Division
Clapton CFC v London Samurai Rovers @2pm - these two fought hard for promotion last season and both eventually came up. Much has been written about the large crowds the hosts get and they drew another one of 563 on Saturday for the visit of PFC Victoria - the highest 11th tier attendance in the country. Both have ambitions of doing well again this season so I expect another significant turnout here
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday 19 January

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Chelsea @2pm - the game of the day in the WSL is this big London derby between the leaders and the side in third. The Gunners are currently three points clear at the top after thrashing Brighton 4-0 in Sussex on Sunday whilst Chelsea are only four points behind with a game in hand. The Blues were ruthless in beating Bristol City 6-1 at the weekend as the Robins' woeful defence let them down again. Adult tickets are only £7 if bought online in advance or £10 on the gate

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.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

TLFG: 6-12 January 2020

Happy New Year - it's 2020 and TLFG is back!

I don't know about you but the last 20 years have just flown by and my memories of the '90s are also strong.

Is it really 30 years since Italia 90 and England's valiant run to the semi-finals?

I'm afraid it is.

One thing I vowed to do from day one of that tournament was to visit the San Siro - I remember being blown away seeing it on TV for the first time as it hosted the opening game between Argentina and Cameroon.

Luckily enough I did make it in 1999 to see Inter beat Fiorentina 2-0 in a league game with the original Ronaldo scoring a couple of penalties.

Baggio, Batistuta, Zanetti, Toldo, Rui Costa and Paulo Sousa were just some of the other names on show that night - both XIs were absolutely packed with notables. Looking back I don't think I appreciated just how strong the sides were as I only remember it for Ronaldo and Batistuta.

'Two Men In Search...' pay a visit to Hampton & Richmond Borough 

On the topic of European football, work commitments mean my next game is likely to be my trip to Paris to watch Red Star at the end of the month. I haven't seen a match overseas since watching Genk v Rapid Vienna in the Europa League in 2016 so I'm really looking forward to it.

So how was your festive period? Did you gorge on food and football or just manage the odd nibble of action here and there.

After a rubbish end to 2019, QPR have come flying out of the traps at the start of 2020 enjoying back-to-back 6-1 and 5-1 wins over Cardiff and Swansea respectively.

Apparently the performances haven't been that different to most weeks, they've just been taking their chances - more of the same against Brentford on Saturday please.

Lastly, many thanks as always to those who have donated to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. It makes writing this even more worthwhile so many, many thanks.

THE WEEK AHEAD
The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, FA Trophy and loads of other matches in our local non-league competitions. 

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 - blue 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.

Monday 6 January

FA Cup Third Round
Arsenal v Leeds United @756pm - the week gets underway with an FA Cup tie at the Emirates. The Gunners are the most successful team in the competition's history and given their poor showing in the league, you'd think they'd make it a big priority this season. Leeds are pushing hard for promotion back to the Premier League so they might be tempted to rest one or two for this one but there will be a packed away end and anything's possible. Tickets are not available to non-members

Premier League 2 & Professional Development League
There are numerous U23 matches on Monday in the afternoon and evening - the best in London is West Ham's game against Manchester United at Dagenham & Redbridge's ground at 7pm. If you're prepared to travel a bit beyond London's boundaries, then Tottenham v Chelsea at Stevenage could be well worth a watch

Velocity Trophy
Haringey Borough v Maldon & Tiptree @745pm - in the competition formerly known as the Isthmian League Cup, two sides who did really well in the FA Cup do battle at Coles Park. Like most league cups, sides often field weakened sides and it might well be the same here

-------------------------------------------------------------

Tuesday 7 January

Kent Senior Cup Second Round
Bromley v Gillingham @745pm - London's top ranked non-league club play host to the League One Gills in this county cup game. With promotion the main priority for the hosts, this could well turn into a development game for both sides

Isthmian League South East
VCD Athletic v Chichester City @745pm - there are a few non-league games on Tuesday but not many really grab me. This is notable as it features Chichester the minnows who had such a great run in the FA Cup earlier this season. As a result they have four games in hand and could end up among the frontrunners if they win them

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wednesday 8 January

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round

Millwall v Fleetwood Town @7pm - have you always wanted to visit the Den? Well now's your chance to do it on the cheap as this U18 game is being played there. Tickets are £5

Friendly
Ilford v Romford @745pm - although only a friendly, this hastily arranged local derby is generating quite a bit of interest. Romford have recently been taken over by the high profile and shall we say 'eccentric' former Billericay owner Glenn Tamplin. He's completely revamped the Isthmian League side's squad with players from higher levels but will they be able to gel successfully?

ECL Division 1 South
Lopes Tavares v Barkingside @745pm - the hosts have been top pretty much all season but they haven't played for a while and Little Oakley have taken their place. Still only a point behind with three games in hand, they will return to the summit with a win

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thursday 9 January

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
Arsenal v Southampton @7pm - the Gunners' U18 side take centre stage on Thursday night as they host the Saints at Boreham Wood

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Friday 10 January

Premier League 2
Fulham v Stoke City @7pm - the pick of the action on Friday would appear to be this U23 match at Craven Cottage. Adults tickets are £3 on the gate

Essex Senior League
Redbridge v Ilford @745pm - if you'd prefer a non-league alternative, get on a Central Line train to Barkingside and enjoy this east London derby at Oakside

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday 11 January

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool @530pm - there are some big old games in London on Saturday with this one dominating proceedings at the end of the day. With Liverpool on the verge of 'champions elect' status already given their amazing form and 13-point lead, Spurs will have to be at their very best to get something out of this match. The north Londoners are a shadow of last year's side and they're now without the injured Harry Kane so it's going to be very tough. Tickets are not available to non-members
Crystal Palace v Arsenal @1230pm - earlier in the day, there's a derby at Selhurst Park. Normally you'd look at this game and think Arsenal would start as favourites but not so this time. Palace are currently a point ahead of the Gunners and should be confident of getting something here. Tickets are not available to non-members
Chelsea v Burnley @3pm - sandwiched between these two, there's also a game at Stamford Bridge where the Blues will look to consolidate their place in the top four. Burnley have taken four points from their last two visits to Chelsea so Frank Lampard's side could be in for a rough ride. Tickets are not available to non-members

Championship
Brentford v Queens Park Rangers @1230pm - over in west London there's a game of huge significance as the Bees prepare to host local rivals QPR in the last ever derby between the two before Griffin Park closes at the end of the season. Although a smaller club on paper, Brentford have dominated these games in recent years and are actually 28-23 up in the historical head-to-head which began in 1920. A home win looks highly likely again but Rangers come into this on the back of 6-1 and 5-1 wins over Cardiff and Swansea respectively so who knows? Tickets are not available to non-members
Charlton Athletic v West Bromwich Albion @3pm - with the four games above all hard to get tickets for, this is the most realistic/best option for a casual fan or football tourist wanting to see a pro game on Saturday. It's not a bad one either as the Addicks host the division's joint leaders. Lee Bowyer's side ended their lengthy winless run with a home victory over Bristol City on Boxing Day but have since lost two league games, another cup game to West Brom and are sliding ever closer to the bottom three. Tickets are available to non-members

League Two
Leyton Orient v Grismby Town @3pm - the O's didn't win over the Christmas/New Year period and are back in the bottom six. Grimsby were down there with them but a win for new boss Ian Holloway, which extended their unbeaten run to four games, lifted them to up to 17th on Saturday. Tickets are available to non-members

Premier League 2
Chelsea v Manchester City @12pm - if you're prepared to travel beyond London to Aldershot, then you can catch this U23 game before combining it with a local non-league game at the likes of Farnborough or Farnham Town

FA Trophy Second Round
This knockout competition for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers with its final at Wembley is down to its last 32. At this stage, the draw is open and no longer regionalised 
Hornchurch v Aveley @3pm - given they could have drawn a side from Devon or Yorkshire, these two Essex clubs did well to end up getting paired together. The Urchins play in the division above so should start as favourites but the Millers, one of the lowest ranked teams left in the competition, have caused a number of upsets already and could very conceivably win again
Kingstonian v Leamington @3pm - the K's made it to the second round of the FA Cup and are having a fine run in this competition too. This time they welcome National League North side Leamington, a division above, so it could be tough. However, given they beat National League Woking in the last round, they shouldn't fear anything here
Dorking Wanderers v Stockport County @3pm - just beyond London's boundaries there's a tie that can't be ignored as the hosts prepare for possibly the biggest match in their history. The National League South side have risen rapidly through the divisions in recent seasons and now get to host a club who were a second tier side earlier this century. Tickets are available for £12 and must be booked online in advance - no sales on the day

National League South
Wealdstone v Welling United @3pm - after winning their top-two clash against Slough, the Stones then went and lost to midtable Oxford City to see their lead cut to four points. Next up is this crosstown derby against the Wings. Welling are being kept out of the relegation zone by virtue of their goal difference with four consecutive defeats leaving them in a perilous position

Southern League Premier Division South
Harrow Borough v Hayes & Yeading United @3pm - in the seventh tier we've got a local derby to look forward to. With wins over Hendon and Walton Casuals and a draw with Merthyr, Harrow's form has improved dramatically since Boxing Day ending a terrible run that had seen them slide down the table. H&YU are also in good form, taking 10 points from their last five games including a draw with title chasing Tiverton. Boro won 3-2 in the reciprocal fixture back in August so here's hoping for another entertaining game

Isthmian League South Central
Tooting & Mitcham United v Uxbridge @3pm - two of the division's top six meet at Imperial Fields for what should be the game of the day in the eighth tier. Although eight points behind leaders Ware, Tooting have four games in hand which means they're still very much in title contention. Uxbridge also have two games in hand so a play-off spot is still very much in their sights

SCEFL Premier Division
Beckenham Town v Sheppey United @3pm - with only two wins from five games, the Becks' hold on top spot is looking a bit shaky. On Saturday they welcome one of their main challengers who could end up just a point behind if they win here

CCL Division 1
Bedfont & Feltham v Tooting Bec @3pm - with new boys Jersey Bulls so far out in front already, it's now all about who will get the other remaining promotion spots. As it stands, both of these sides are in the top four and on course to join the Channel Islanders in the Premier Division but Sandhurst are breathing down the necks of the Bec and they can't afford too many slip ups

MCFL Premier Division
Clapton CFC v PFC Victoria London @2pm - I went to watch Polish club PFC Victoria on Non-League Day 2017 whilst they were still a 12th-tier side and they managed to pull in a couple of hundred fans, some of whom indulged in a bit of naughty pyro. On Saturday they travel to the biggest club in the division who draw several hundred for every game and have been known to let off the odd smoke bomb themselves. Being played at Wadham Lodge in Walthamstow, a lively crowd of several hundred will make you feel like you're watching a game at a much higher level. Entry is by donation
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday 12 January

FA Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United @2pm - Sunday afternoon in London is dominated by women's football with matches all the way down to the fifth tier. In the top flight, this derby at Barnet's ground looks like the best on offer. Newly promoted Tottenham have more than held their own at this level and sit snugly in midtable where they should finish. The Hammers, last season's beaten FA Cup finalists, are just behind them but are in better form and will move above Spurs on goal difference if they win. Tickets are only £6.50 if bought in advance or £8 on the day
Chelsea v Bristol City @2pm - in the other game, the title chasing Blues should pick up a pretty comfortable three points against the Robins at Kingsmeadow. The West Country side have the leakiest defence in the league and are conceding an average of three goals a game. Tickets to watch Chelsea are £9 for adults

Friendly
South Western Railway v Gatwick Express @3pm - for the groundhoppers among you, there's a chance to take in this train-crew match at Fisher's ground in Rotherhithe. SWR have been going for a year now whilst Gatwick Express have only just formed. Admission is free and SWR pin badges are available

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.