Sunday 6 February 2022

TLFG: 7-13 February 2022

Greetings and welcome to the latest TLFG.

I'm going to keep it brief this week as events have caught up with me and I don't have much to share.

Work has been busy, Non-League Day is starting to hot up and my kids have been driving me to distraction but given the context of last week's blog, I'm glad I face that kind of challenge.

My football watching this week has all been via the TV or internet.

The AFCON has just finished and with my father-in-law being Egyptian, it's taken on a lot more meaning in my life since I got married.

It was disappointing to see them lose on penalties to Senegal but given they've effectively drawn their way through this tournament and the Teranga Lions have never won it, I'm generally content with the outcome.

Chelsea will play Man City in the Women's League Cup Final
 - tickets go on sale on Monday at 4pm

Besides, one of my best friends at work is Senegalese and QPR's goalkeeper Seny Dieng was in their sqaud and played some games at the start of the tournament.

I've also watched a couple of women's games on the BBC this week too.

Chelsea have had a great few days - setting up a Continental Cup Final meeting against Manchester City at Plough Lane in March and cutting the gap on Arsenal to just two points in the league.

The Blues can go top if they beat the Gunners in Friday night's big game but more on that in the digest below.

Lastly from me, many thanks this week to John Bradley for donating to TLFG's coffee-drinking fund. I really really appreciate it.

                                                             THE WEEK AHEAD

The highlights of the next few days include games in the Premier League, EFL, 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.

Monday fixtures - yellow pin
Tuesday fixtures - green pin
Wednesday fixtures - turquoise pin
Thursday fixtures - purple pin
Friday fixtures - black pin

Saturday fixtures - blue pin
Sunday fixtures - orange pin

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 7 February

Premier League 2
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace @12pm - the week begins with this U23 game at Tottenham's training ground. These games are usually open to the public but attendance is very limited with free tickets secured by calling the box office. Personally I would think they've all gone by now but give them a call to be sure

Professional Development League
Charlton Athletic v Swansea City @1pm - your chances of getting into this match are much better BUT the Addicks' U23 games have been really flaky of late, especially when it comes to the movement of venues. This is scheduled to be played at Dartford's ground but doublecheck on the day


Tuesday 8 February

Premier League
West Ham United v Watford @745pm - the Hammers return to Premier League action with this home game against the struggling Hornets. The east London club have won their last four against Watford and should be confident of victory here. However, Roy Hodgson is now in charge and he began by drawing at Burnley on Saturday so hopefully they'll be a bit more resolute from now on. Tickets are available

Fulham v Millwall @745pm - there's some good second-tier action on Tuesday with the leaders entertaining the Lions in this London derby. Many teams find Millwall hard to play against but the Cottagers are unbeaten in seven against them and won 2-1 at The Den earlier in the season. Tickets are not available

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Rotherham United @745pm - the Dons lost 3-2 at Charlton on Saturday as their winless run continued. The defeat leaves them just one point above the relegation zone as they prepare to host the Millers who are six points clear at the top. Rotherham won the reverse fixture 3-0 in September. Tickets are available 

League Two
Sutton United v Salford City @745pm - the U's draw with Bristol Rovers saw them end the weekend in the automatic promotion places as their fine season continued. Salford, another recent graduate from non-league football, are 10th and still very much in the hunt for a play-off place. Tickets are available

National League
Wealdstone v Yeovil Town @745pm - reading the comments of some Stones fans on social media, you get the feeling they're relying on the three teams below them being worse than they are as they hope to stay up. The table suggests they probably won't have much to worry about as the relegation zone is filled with three teams who have won just 9 of the 77 games they've played between them. A win over midtable Yeovil, a Championship side until as recently as 2014, will move them 11 points clear of danger


Wednesday 9 February

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton @745pm - both sides made smooth progress into the Fifth Round of the FA Cup over the weekend so should begin this in good spirits. Currently seventh with two games in hand, Spurs are well placed for a crack at a top-four finish and on paper you'd expect them to win here. The Saints are no pushovers though and drew 1-1 at St Mary's when they last played just after Christmas. Tickets are on general sale but they're aren't many left

QPR v Middlesbrough @745pm - if you can't get a ticket at the THS, they should be able to squeeze you in at Loftus Road where two of the division's play-off contenders do battle.The R's are unbeaten in five against Boro but come into this on the back of a disappointing FA Cup loss at Peterborough whilst the visitors must still be basking in the glory of beating Manchester United on Friday, where former QPR keeper Joe Lumley was the hero. Tickets are available. 

Isthmian League Premier Division
Kingstonian v Corinthian Casuals @745pm - there is a slim chance I could be free on Wednesday and if I am then this is where I would head. It's a case of tenants versus landlords in the Kingston derby which has become a bit of a thing in recent years with lively crowds of several hundred turning up at this small ground in Tolworth. The K's are just two points adrift of the play-off places and should start as marginal favourites

FA Youth Cup Fifth Round
Charlton Athletic v Brighton & Hove Albion @7pm - this most prestgious of U18 competitions is down to its last 16 teams and the Addicks have done well to make it this far. The match is being played at The Valley and adult tickets are just £3


Friday 11 February

FA Women's Super League
Chelsea v Arsenal @745pm - it doesn't come much bigger than this when it comes to women's football. Currently the top two in the country, Arsenal's draw with Manchester United on Saturday means the Blues will go top if they win here. In one of the closest WSL title races there's ever been, this match will play a huge part in decideing who wins the title. Tickets are available


Saturday 12 February

Premier League
Brentford v Crystal Palace @3pm - the Bees are on a worrying run of five straight defeats in all competitions and badly need to get something from this match. Fellow London club Palace are only a point above them so this could go either way. As with most Brentford matches, you have to be a member to buy a ticket
Watford v Brighton & Hove Albion @3pm - if you do want a taste of Premier League football, they are still a few tickets left for this game at Vicarage Road. As two of the lowest scoring teams in the division, it's not the most mouthwatering prospect but top-flight football is top-flight football right?

Millwall v Cardiff City @3pm - currently eight points adrift of the play-off places, the Lions' promotion hopes are probably starting to fade. Cardiff, on the other hand, having been fighting to avoid the drop and have enjoyed back-to-back wins over Nottingham Forest and Barnsley to give them a great chance. Games between these two have been ridiculously close in recent years with seven of the last eight ending in a draw. Tickets are available

League One
AFC Wimbledon v Sunderland @3pm - the Dons' run of big home games continues with this match against the biggest club in the division. Up in fourth, the Mackems should start as considerable favourites but they've now lost two in a row, don't have a manager and are showing signs of vulnerability. Unsurprisingly, tickets seem to be pretty much gone but check with the club for the latest

League Two
Leyton Orient v Salford City @3pm - the O's suffered a very disappointing defeat at home to Colchester on Saturday to effectively end any slim play-off hopes they might have been harbouring. Salford, as mentioned above, are still very much in contention for a top-seven finish. Tickets are available
Sutton United v Forest Green Rovers @3pm - one of the matches of the day at any level sees Sutton welcome the leaders to Gander Green Lane. The Gloucestershire club are 10 points clear at the time of writing and have a game in hand. Tickets are available so don't miss out

FA Trophy Fifth Round
Dagenham & Redbridge v Spennymoor Town @3pm - we're down to the last 16 and Wembley is beginning to appear on the horizon. One of the best things about non-league competitions like this is that it throws up matches between clubs that would probably never play each other, given the regional nature of most leagues below the EFL. Spennymoor are probably most famous for making the FA Vase Final in 2013, something they used as a springboard for three subsequent promotions. Now in the National League North, they play a level below the Daggers who will start as favourites 

National League
Barnet v Wealdstone @3pm - the Bees have suffered all kinds of problems off the pitch this week but put it behind them to beat Aldershot on Saturday. This weekend they welcome the Stones for a derby which should draw a lively crowd. The Hive, Barnet's home, was originally intended to be for Wealdstone when they left Lower Mead but it all went wrong - it's a long but well documented story so look it up if you want all the details

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Bishop's Stortford @3pm - the match of the day in the seventh tier pits two of the top four against each other. The Towners have pulled themselves right back into title contention and are just two points behind leaders Worthing although they've played a game more. The visitors play just to north of London, not too far from Enfield, so there should be a decent crowd and good atmosphere

Isthmian League North
Aveley v Canvey Island @3pm - there's an even bigger game in the eighth tier where two Essex rivals who are first and second, do battle for top spot. There's only a point between them, they've both played 26 and with Stowmarket just a point behind with a game in hand, the title race looks set to go all the way

FA Vase Fifth Round
Southall v Stansfeld @3pm - we're down to the last 16 in this competition too and there's an all-London tie at Ashford Town's ground. The 'All play a level above SCEFL Division 1 side Stansfeld but they've been doing superbly well in the league and have beaten three higher-ranked teams, all from Southall's league so they can't take anything for granted

In the other tie, Athletic Newham were scheduled to host Brockenhurst but were thrown out because of fielding an ineligible player in the last round. Their appeal is set to be held this week so it's possible they'll have a tie too - check with the club for updates. UPDATE - the appeal was unsuccessful

MCFL Premier Division
Stonewall FC v Clapton CFC @2pm - in the 11th tier, two clubs fighting for equality and social inclusion on and off the pitch meet at the London Marathon Community Track in the shadow of West Ham United's London Stadium. There should be a lively crowd and a great backdrop. UPDATE - because of the small capacity (300), this match has been made all-ticket so you must register in advance to claim a free ticket. It will be oversubscribed so you'll have to act fast


Sunday 13 February

Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers @2pm - currently seventh and eighth in the table, this is a hugely important match in the battle for European places. It really is staggering to see Wolves doing so well despite scoring only 19 league goals so far this season - only struggling Norwich and Burnley have scored fewer. Spurs are unbeaten in four against Wolves and beat them on penalties, after drawing 2-2, when they last played in an EFL Cup tie back in September. Tickets are only available to members

FA Women's Championship
Crystal Palace v London City Lionesses @2pm - these two were the best London sides in this division until Sunday but they both lost. This allowed an in-form Charlton side to fully capitalise by beating Watford 3-0 to leapfrog both of them up into second. Nine points clear, leaders Liverpool look like champions already but the runners-up spot has at least five clubs vying for it

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.

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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