Monday, 10 January 2022

TLFG: 10-16 January 2022

Apologies for another late publication this week - omicron has seen things get very stretched at work so I've been doing overtime and going in on my days off so time has been short.

My only live match action was my daughter's latest game for Actonians U9s in the Capital Girls League - the rematch against Hillingdon Abbots.

The last encounter ended in a 3-1 win and this time things improved to 4-0.

Sadly, the people on the sidelines were a challenge again with the coach and some of the parents needing to take a look at themselves - no other club in the league has anyone even vaguely like that.

Ideally I would have gone to watch the women's first team in their National League match against leaders Hashtag United on Sunday afternoon but circumstances prevented me.

I wish I had as Actonians pulled off a 1-0 win to inflict Hashtag's first defeat of the season - some achievement.

Away from that, I found myself a relatively hot topic of social media on Sunday as I correctly predicted QPR would be drawn away to Peterborough in the FA Cup.

I simulated the draw shortly before and it came out that way - all the other ties were totally wrong.

As for a prediction for the result, the same system said 2-2 with Posh winning 3-2 on penalties - watch this space...

I've got the week off now so I hope to try and get to at least two games.

As always, enjoy whatever you go to see and make sure you check all the details before you travel as a lot of games are being called off or moved at short notice.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, EFL Cup, FA Trophy, FA Vase, most of our local non-league competitions and Women's Super League too. 

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 - turquoise 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 10 January

Professional Development League
Millwall v Charlton Athletic @1pm - the Lions' U23 side get the chance to play local rivals Charlton at The Den on Monday lunchtime. Adult tickets are £5

Isthmian League Premier Division
Carshalton Athletic v Kingstonian @745pm - the best non-league option of the day is this seventh-tier match in south London. The K's will go second if they win

CCL Premier South
Walton & Hersham v Sheerwater @745pm - the Swans will extend their lead at the top of this division to eight points if they win here
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Tuesday 11 January

EFL Trophy Third Round
Arsenal v Chelsea @7pm - the biggest match of the night is this U21 game at the Emirates Stadium. Since the top clubs' youth sides were parachuted into this competition, I don't think we've ever seen two of the biggest get this far and play each other. How many fans turn out for this remains to be seen but only a limited amount of the ground will be open. If you've never been to the Emirates, tickets are only £4 but must be bought in advance

National League
Boreham Wood v Wealdstone @745pm - if you want something less controversial and much more meaningful then head to Meadow Park to watch The Wood - one of the non-league sides making headlines in the FA Cup. After seeing off AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, they get straight back to league action with this derby against the Stones. The Hertfordshire club have games in hand on the leaders and will move back into the top three if they win against a side looking to avoid the drop

Southern League Premier Division South
Metropolitan Police v Farnborough @745pm - there's a game of huge significance on the south-west side of town as the top two in this division do battle. The visitors are currently five points clear with a game in hand so a win here would be massive for them

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Wednesday 12 January

EFL Cup Semi-Final First Leg
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea @745pm - after an insipid performance in the first leg, which they lost 2-0, Spurs will be hoping for more here. Both sides successfully came through FA Cup ties against lower-league opposition over the weekend and should ready and raring for this one. Tickets are only available to members

Premier League
West Ham United v Norwich City @745pm - if you can't get in at the THS then there are a few tickets left for this top-flight game at London Stadium. After a dreadful run of results, the Canaries sit bottom of the table and should struggle again against a Hammers side who are having one of their best seasons in a while

Isthmian League Premier Division
Cray Wanderers v Bognor Regis Town @745pm - the hosts are London's oldest club and they're currently engaged in a battle to get out of the bottom three. They have games in hand on the clubs around them so beating midtable Bognor could see them escape the relegation zone

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Thursday 13 January

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
Watford v Chelsea @7pm - the Hornets' youngsters will play their counterparts from Chelsea at Vicarage Road in the country's most prestigious U18 competition. Adult tickets are £5
Reading v Manchester United @7pm - if you're prepared to travel a little beyond London's western boundary then you might fancy this other tie at the club's main stadium. Tickets are £3 but must be bought in advance

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Friday 14 January

Premier League 2
Arsenal v West Ham United @7pm - a big week of youth football continues at Boreham Wood's ground where the Gunners' U23 side welcome PL2 leaders West Ham. These games are often free to get into but check on the day to make sure

Isthmian North
Barking v Maldon & Tiptree @745pm - in a bit of a change to the schedule, the Blues have decided they want to play at home on Friday so have moved tenants Sporting Hackney to Saturday instead. The east London club are struggling this season so could really do with a win

MCFL Premier Division
Sporting Hackney v Clapton CFC @745pm - although way down in the 11th tier, I'd like to think a healthy crowd of at least 200 will turn up for this local derby. Neither club have their own ground so this is being played at Barking's stadium MATCH OFF - Now on Saturday at 130pm

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Saturday 15 January

FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
Crystal Palace v Wolverhampton Wanderers @2pm - with no Premier League teams playing in London on Saturday, the closest you'll get to seeing one of them will be this U18 cup tie at Selhurst Park. Tickets are £5

Championship
Fulham v Bristol City @3pm - if the match above isn't for you then there's a full selection of second-tier games to choose from. A few weeks ago it looked as if the Cottagers were going to become the division's breakaway club but they've run out of steam and are winless in five league games. However, on Saturday they beat Bristol City at Ashton Gate in the FA Cup so you'd have to fancy their chances here. Tickets are available 
Millwall v Nottingham Forest @3pm - only a point apart in the table and looking to push into the play-off places, both sides have plenty to play for. Forest grabbed all the headlines on Sunday by beating Arsenal in the FA Cup and current form would suggest they'd be marginal favourites here. Tickets are available
QPR v West Bromwich Albion @3pm - arguably the game of the day sees two of the top five do battle at Loftus Road. The R's are fifth, a point and a place behind the Baggies but with a game in hand. The hosts have won three on the bounce, including their dramatic win over Rotherham on penalties in the FA Cup, but have lost three of their last four home league games against the West Midlands club - it's going to be tight. Tickets are available

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Morecambe @3pm - both sides bowed out of the FA Cup over the weekend but in very different circumstances. The Dons suffered the embarrassment of defeat to non-league opposition while the Shrimps led Spurs for a large portion of their tie at the THS before falling away near the end. With their minds now firmly back on the league, neither can really afford to lose this hugely important relegation 'six-pointer'. Tickets are available

FA Trophy Fourth Round
The FA Trophy is a knockout competition for clubs in the fifth to eighth tiers. We're now down to the last 32 and Wembley is starting to appear on the horizon
Boreham Wood v Maidstone United @3pm - the Wood may well have made it to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup but they're into the last 32 of the FA Trophy too. Given how well they're doing in the league, they're having a season to remember. The Stones play a level below but are challenging for the title and should bring a sizeable number of travelling supporters
Dagenham & Redbridge v Southend United @3pm - one of the ties of the round is this Essex derby between two former EFL clubs. The pair drew a big crowd for the league match at the end of October which the hosts won 3-0
Dartford v Weymouth @3pm - there's a chance of a cupset at Princes Park where one of the best sides in the National League South host one of the strugglers from the division above

FA Vase Fourth Round
The FA Vase is a knockout competition for clubs in the ninth and tenth tiers. Its final is also at Wembley and we're down to the last 32 too
Atheltic Newham v Littlehampton Town @3pm - the hosts are a very new club and only made their debut in the Vase last season. Therefore, getting to this stage of the competition is quite an achievement. In Littlehampton, they face one of the toughest teams they could have drawn as they're going for the Southern Combination title
Raynes Park Vale v Stansfeld @2pm - with clubs travelling considerable distances in some of the other ties, these two London clubs have done well to get drawn against each other. Hailing from parallel leagues on different sides of the capital, they won't get to play too often. RPV play a level above the visitors so should be favourites on paper
Southall v Clevedon Town @3pm - 1986 Vase finalists Southall are in the top three of the CCL North and enjoying a fine season. In contrast to Western League club Clevedon who aren't pulling up any trees and should be beaten

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Sunday 16 January

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal @430pm - the week ends with its biggest match. The North London Derby is one of the highlights of the English football calendar. Historically, the Gunners have dominated this relationship but things have become much closer in recent seasons. The fortunes of the two clubs in the five months since the season began have fluctuated wildly - Arsenal began badly while Spurs started well. Then Arsenal won the first derby of the season with ease and Tottenham became the crisis club. Antonio Conte's arrival has improved things greatly for the club from N17 but they were unconvincing in their most recent cup matches against Chelsea and Morecambe, but Arsenal lost to Nottingham Forest. At this stage, things are now about even. One other fact to note - Arsenal haven't won a league game at Spurs since 2014. Tickets are not available
West Ham United v Leeds United @2pm - for the second Sunday in a row, West Ham play host to Leeds. Over the weekend just gone, the Hammers beat Leeds 2-0 in the FA Cup in what was a pretty entertaining game. The Yorkshire club weren't at full strength so will hopefully put in a better showing here as they look to climb further away from the relegation zone. Tickets are available

FA Women's Super League
Arsenal v Reading @230pm - with Chelsea suffering a surprise defeat to Reading before Christmas, the league looked like it was going to be Arsenal's to lose. However, on Sunday the Gunners experienced an even bigger upset as they lost to bottom club Birmingham City. The Royals are the division's form team so it's not likely to get any easier here. Tickets are available
Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United @645pm - in the late game we've got this derby to enjoy at The Hive. Spurs could  potentially go second if they win here which would be some achievement. Tickets 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.

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