Monday, 17 February 2020

TLFG: 17-23 February 2020

Greetings one and all and apologies for the slightly delayed publication of this week's blog as we go into half term.

As I told one reader last week, it's becoming more and more time consuming to try and keep across everything and keep producing something meaningful every week.

I'm now compiling and researching it during breaks at work and writing long into the night (it's currently 0131 on Monday morning) when everyone has gone to bed so as not to be thoroughly useless around the house while I'm here.

Consequently I haven't managed any live football this week but I'm off for nine days now and will hope to see something, with a very ambitious trip currently planned for Saturday but we'll see what happens.


Cheap tickets are on offer at Dagenham & Redbridge but only if purchased in advance
The Premier League makes a full return from its brief winter break this weekend and there's some Champions League action too.

Many games were postponed over the weekend and one or two might fall by the wayside at the beginning of the week so confirm all details before you travel.

On Saturday, there are a couple of ticket offers in place at some of our local clubs with seemingly the best deals in place at Dagenham & Redbridge where adult tickets are available from £2.50 if bought in advance as part of their diversity day - more details in the daily digest below.

Anyway, I think that's it from me. Enjoy your week. Hopefully the weather won't ruin things too much.

Lastly, many thanks to all 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, National League, Women's FA Cup 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
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 17 February

Premier League
Chelsea v Manchester United @8pm - the week begins with arguably its biggest game as two of the country's biggest teams do battle at Stamford Bridge. Unusually, this year neither of them are in the title race with the Blues 35 points behind leaders Liverpool and United a whopping 41 points off the pace. Chelsea are still in the top four but only just so badly need to win to keep themselves ahead of the chasing clubs. United still have an outside chance of claiming a European spot but defeat here will be pretty much terminal to their Champions League hopes. Tickets are not available

Premier League 2 & Professional Development League
There is a great selection of U23 games on Monday with the match between West Ham and Stoke City topping the bill purely because it's being played at the London Stadium so you've got a great chance to watch a match there on the cheap - tickets are £5. Elsewhere, Arsenal play Chelsea at Boreham Wood and if you're prepared to travel outside London to St Albans then you've got a derby between Watford and QPR to enjoy

Women's FA Cup Fifth Round
Chelsea v Liverpool @7pm - moved at short notice to avoid Storm Dennis, these two sides will have another go at making the quarter-finals. The Blues are in great form and should win comfortably

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Tuesday 18 February

National League
Barnet v Harrogate Town @745pm - this should have been played on Saturday but Storm Dennis intervened and it got shifted at short notice to Tuesday. With Barnet having several games in hand and still eyeing a play-off spot and Harrogate very much in the hunt for the title, this is an important game for both teams

Essex Senior Cup Semi-Final
Dagenham & Redbridge v Concord Rangers @745pm - some of the biggest games of the night would appear to be in our local county cups. Despite being one of the biggest clubs in Essex, the Daggers haven't made the final since 2002. Concord, who hail from Canvey Island, play in the division below and aren't in great form so should start as second favourites if the hosts play a strong team. The winners will face Billericay Town in the final. Tickets prices have been reduced to £6

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Wednesday 19 February

Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v RB Leipzig @8pm - the competition's first knockout round gets underway this week with Spurs among the last 16. The north London club sensationally made the final last season but a repeat of that seems highly unlikely given their wavering form this season. That said, they're unbeaten in seven matches so should approach this with some confidence. Leipzig are currently second in Germany and ended an iffy run of form with a 3-0 win over a struggling Werder Bremen side on Saturday. Tickets are not available to non-members

Isthmian League Premier Division
Kingstonian v Wingate & Finchley @745pm - the best non-league option takes place in Tolworth where the K's will hope to close the gap on the play-off places by winning this game in hand. W&F are joint bottom but still in touch with the other strugglers so every point will be crucial for them between now and the end of the season

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Thursday 20 February

SSML Premier Division
Broadfields United v Oxhey Jets @8pm - originally scheduled for Tuesday, this ninth-tier match is now being played at Rayners Lane's ground and should provide some decent Thursday night entertainment for a fiver

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 Hammersmith & City Line take on the Metropolitan Line

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Friday 21 February

ECL Division 1 South
Hackney Wick v May & Baker @745pm - the only option in London on Friday night is this 10th-tier contest at Haringey Borough's ground. Neither side are pulling up any trees but the Wickers have a great kit

A bit further afield
Just to the north of London in St Albans, Watford take on Everton in an U23 game at Clarence Park at 7pm

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Saturday 22 February

Premier League
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur @1230pm - after a short winter break, the Premier League returns with a bang as this big derby takes centre stage. Both have midweek Champions League engagements before this big battle for fourth place gets underway at lunchtime. At the time of writing, Spurs are in better form but lost to Chelsea in the reverse fixture just before Christmas. The other rather important thing to note is that this will be Jose Mourinho's first visit to Stamford Bridge with his new team so he should be extremely motivated to do well. Tickets are not available
Crystal Palace v Newcastle United @3pm - with only one win between them from their last five league games, this doesn't appear to be the most mouthwatering of fixtures. Both sides should avoid relegation but both could do with another three wins to make sure of it. The hosts are unbeaten in four at Selhurst Park against the Toon but three of those were draws. Tickets are not available

Championship
Brentford v Blackburn Rovers @1230pm - the Bees missed the chance to go third by only drawing at Birmingham on Saturday and by all accounts they should have won. Lancashire club Blackburn are on a good run and could potentially break into the top six with a win on their last ever visit to Griffin Park before it shuts at the end of the season. Tickets are not available
Charlton Athletic v Luton Town @3pm - with the three matches above all unavailable, this is your next best option and it could be interesting as two sides fighting the drop look to clinch a valuable three points. The Hatters hail from just outside London so should bring a sizeable following to enhance the atmosphere. Tickets are available

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Blackpool @3pm - the Dons nicked a precious point off leaders Rotherham with a very late penalty on Saturday. The result kept them just above the relegation zone in 20th but they maintained the seven-point cushion over Tranmere just below them. Rovers have a game in hand so the south London club can't relax just yet. Blackpool are 16th so present a decent chance to pick up a few more precious points. Tickets are available

League Two
Leyton Orient v Oldham Athletic @3pm - these two are neck-and-neck in lower midtable so it's anyone's to win. The O's narrowly lost at promotion chasing Cheltenham on Saturday whilst Oldham drew with Forest Green. The sides drew the reverse fixture back in December so another draw looks likely. Tickets are available

National League
Boreham Wood v Yeovil Town @3pm - two of the division's top five meet for a David and Goliath contest at Meadow Park. With average crowds of only 691, the Wood are the smallest club in the division whereas former Championship side Yeovil are more used to playing in front of attendances nearer 3,000. Despite this, only two points separate them with the hosts able to climb above them into third with a win here. The club have designated this as a 'Community Day' with a number of discounts available if you buy tickets in advance
Bromley v Wrexham @3pm - after topping the league for sometime, Bromley's season seems to be tailing off pretty dramatically with Saturday's loss at Stockport seeing them fall to eighth and out of the play-off spots. Next up they face one of the biggest clubs in the division who are having a stinker of a season. The Welsh club are just above the relegation zone and could end the day back in it if results don't go their way
Dagenham & Redbridge v Solihull Moors @3pm - the deal of the day would appear to be available in east London where it's 'Daggers Celebrate Diversity Day'. In order to get as many local people into the ground as possible, adult tickets are available from just £2.50 which is quite a bargain. In order to get these prices, you must book in advance. On the pitch, the hosts are having a poor season and badly need to win to keep themselves out of the bottom four. Solihull, on the other hand, are pushing for promotion again so will start as strong favourites
Sutton United v Barrow @520pm - a fine day of fifth tier action is completed by the U's game against leaders Barrow. It's been a season of consolidation for Sutton under new boss Matt Gray and he's done well to lift them into midtable after a poor start. The visitors, managed by former QPR defender Ian Evatt, have been a revelation this term and currently sit four points clear at the top with a game in hand

National League South
Wealdstone v Dorking Wanderers @3pm - the match of the day in the sixth tier takes place at Grosvenor Vale where leaders Wealdstone entertain sixth placed Wanderers. The reverse fixture in November produced an entertaining 2-2 draw so hopefully we'll get some more of the same

Southern League Premier Division South
Hayes & Yeading United v Taunton Town @3pm - there's not a huge amount on in the seventh tier but this game at the SkyEx Stadium should be good as the sides in sixth and fifth do battle. Hayes started the season pretty poorly but have been climbing the table rapidly in recent weeks and a win here will put them in the play-off places for the first time

Isthmian League South Central
Hanwell Town v Waltham Abbey @3pm -  the hosts saw their match get postponed on Saturday, allowing second place Ware to cut the gap to a point by beating Tooting & Mitcham. Visitors Waltham Abbey climbed to seventh by thrashing Chalfont St Peter 7-3 to keep themselves firmly in play-off contention

CCL Premier Division
Southall v Sutton Common Rovers @3pm - the hosts haven't played since the 8 February when they lost at Frimley Green but they've remained in the top three nonetheless. On Saturday they welcome SCR who because of their great run in the FA Vase have games in hand on all of those above them. On Saturday they beat another top five side Molesey so should be able to give the 'All a pretty tough afternoon

SCEFL Division 1
FC Elmstead v Holmesdale @3pm - in the 10th tier two of the division's top five meet for a game on the south-eastern fringe of TLFG's catchment area. A win for Holmesdale could see them go second

MCFL Premier Division
Clapton CFC v Brentham - a sizeable attendance should be expected at Wadham Lodge where leaders Brentham pay a visit to E17. The Tons have drawn several crowds in excess of 500 this season which is quite remarkable for a side in the 11th tier. With four games in hand on the top club, the hosts could stake a real claim for the title with a win here. Admission is by donation. UPDATE - this match will now be played at the Mabley Green 3G facility in Hackney Wick

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Sunday 23 February


Premier League
Arsenal v Everton @430pm - the Gunners fill the 430pm Sunday slot for the second weekend running as a much improved Everton side head to the Emirates for what could be a tricky game for the hosts. Despite thrashing Newcastle this weekend, Arsenal are still two points behind the Toffees but should fancy their chances as the Liverpudlian side haven't won a league game at the Emirates or Highbury since 1996. Tickets are not available

Women's FA Cup Fifth Round
Arsenal v Lewes @1pm - if you've got a ticket for the match above then you should have time to do a Gunners double on Sunday with this match at Boreham Wood scheduled to finish at least 90 minutes before the men's game. On paper, this rescheduled cup game, should be won comfortably by the hosts who play a level above the Rooks. The Sussex club are also in pretty poor form so it doesn't look too promising for them

FA Women's Super League
West Ham United v Liverpool @3pm - if you fancy a game that's likely to be a little more balanced then this match at Rush Green could well be it. Both sides are in pretty poor form with only goal difference keeping the Reds out of the relegation zone


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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