Sunday 10 December 2023

TLFG: 11-17 December 2023

Greetings one and all and welcome to this week's TLFG.

How have you been? Getting firmly into the Christmas spirit or is too early for you?

Personally I don't partake of the festivities any more but I don't begrudge anyone who does.

It also makes me invaluable around the time of the Christmas work do when I'm more than happy to cover for anyone who wants to go out for a big drink up.

There's a big night of European action in London on Thursday - tickets

I do, however, love the feast of football that is the Christmas/New Year period and our annual two week special will be going into production soon.

The past week for me has been spent enjoying the continued improvement of QPR under Marti Cifuentes with a third consecutive win leaving them within touching distance of 21st place and safety.

It's got to the point where I'm seriously considering going back to watch them after the best part of two years away.

The Plymouth match on Wednesday could see me make my return.

This is largely because my friend and TLFG reader Christoph is bringing a group from Germany to Loftus Road as part of a football tour of London built around watching their beloved Freiburg at West Ham

Whatever happens, I'll be going on a football related walking tour with him on Thursday before that big European game.

A lot of this depends on whether I can shake off my winter cough which I now seem to get every year and which seems to last about six weeks - it's really annoying!

Anyway, I hope you're in better health and have a great week.


This week we've got matches in the Europa League, Premier League, EFL, National League, Women's Champions League, Women's Super League, Women's League Cup and FA Youth Cup as well as all the other non-league and women's competitions which our local clubs compete in.

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 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 11 December

Premier League Cup
Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough @7pm - the week begins with this U21 match at Sutton United's ground. We're still at the group stage of the competition at the moment and the Eagles will go top of their group if they beat bottom club Boro. Tickets

Surrey Senior Cup Second Round
Carshalton Athletic v Tooting & Mitcham United @745pm - just to the east of Gander Green Lane we've got a local derby in this county cup. The Robins now play two levels above the Terrors so they should, in theory, start as favourites but it will largely depend on how strong a squad they field


Tuesday 12 December

Watford v Ipswich Town @745pm - the Hornets grabbed an injury-time equaliser in their big match with Southampton on Saturday as they drew 1-1. The result leaves them two points adrift of the play-off places in what is a very congested table. Ipswich are new to this division after promotion from League One and look all set to go straight through to the Premier League. Their 2-0 win at Middlesbrough means they're second, seven points clear of third placed Leeds. These sides haven't played each other since 2015 and that season the Tractor Boys won both games. Tickets

FA Cup Second Round Replay
Barnet v Newport County @745pm - the Bees have faltered badly in the league in recent weeks but cup competitions have given them more joy. Drawing 1-1 in Wales against League Two opposition last week was a fine achievement and then on Saturday they thrashed Maidstone United 4-0 in the FA Trophy. Back on home turf, could Barnet pull off an upset? They'll play non-league Eastleigh at home in the next round if they do. Tickets

FA Trophy Third Round
Wealdstone v Billericay Town @745pm - after seeing the original tie postponed on Saturday because of a waterlogged pitch, the Stones will try again against opposition from two levels below them. Wealdstone famously won the Trophy back in 1985, beating Boston United 2-1 in the final. Essex club Billericay have only ever made it to the quarter-finals. On that occasion in 2018, it was the Stones who knocked them out. In theory, the same thing should happen again here. Tickets

London Senior Cup First Round
Corinthian Casuals v QPR U21 @745pm - after seeing this match postponed last month, the R's will send their youngsters to Tolworth as they enter this competition for the first time. Casuals are having a season to forget and could well suffer a second consecutive relegation. They'll be hoping this match against QPR's development side will offer their senior players a chance for a morale-boosting win. Whether they get it is another matter as Rangers are in fine form in the Professional Development League

Wednesday 13 December

QPR v Plymouth Argyle @745pm - the R's continued their revival under new boss Marti Cifuentes with a hard fought 2-0 win over high flying Hull City on Saturday. That makes it three wins in a row and only one defeat in six for the Catalan manager. After being marooned in the relegation zone some distance from safety, a win against Plymouth could take them out of the bottom three and move them level with Argyle who have also struggled this season. Tickets

Women's League Cup
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur @7pm - after thrashing Chelsea 4-1 in their top-of-the-table clash at the Emirates on Sunday, the Gunners have to play north London rivals Spurs twice in three days this week. First up is this game in the League Cup at Boreham Wood's ground. The clubs are level on points at the top of Group D after two games so whoever wins here will take an outright lead. Given the small capacity, tickets have almost sold out so you'll have to act quickly to get one

Essex Senior League
Sporting Bengal United v Great Wakering Rovers @745pm - SBU came up from the 10th tier at the start of the season and have surged up the table in recent weeks, putting themselves top. Only one point clear of Tilbury, who have a game in hand, they've got little room for error if they want to stay there. GWR are down in ninth but have games in hand which if won could put them in the play-off places


Thursday 14 December

UEFA Europa League
West Ham United v SC Freiburg @8pm - the Hammers' fine six game unbeaten run came to a crashing end with a 5-0 drubbing by Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday. They'll need to do a lot better than that if they're to win this Group A decider at London Stadium. Freiburg are having a very similar season to West Ham - top eight in the Bundesliga and joint top of this group with David Moyes' side. The reverse fixture saw West Ham win 2-1 in Germany so they should start as marginal favourites here. Tickets

UEFA Women's Champions League
Chelsea v Hacken @8pm - after suffering that humbling defeat at Arsenal on Sunday, the Blues are another side who badly need to raise their levels going into a big European game. Their Swedish opponents travel to Stamford Bridge as group leaders having beaten Real Madrid and Paris FC in their first two games. Emma Hayes' side only managed a draw when they travelled to the Spanish capital so they're second. Tickets


Friday 15 December

FA Youth Cup Third Round
AFC Wimbledon v Blackburn Rovers @6pm - the pick of Friday night's action takes place at Plough Lane where the Dons' youngsters welcome opposition from Lancashire. Rovers play in the U18 Premier League so will start as favourites. The winners will travel to Cheltenham Town or Sheffield United in the next round. Tickets


Saturday 16 December

Premier League
Chelsea v Sheffield United @3pm - the only top-flight game in London on Saturday is to be found at Stamford Bridge. With only one win in five, the Blues are 12th and closer to the relegation zone than the Champions League places - an almost unthinkable scenario when you consider they won Europe's top club competition in 2021. The Blades are bottom but with Chris Wilder back in charge, they won their last match against Brentford to give themselves some hope. This is the weakest Chelsea side there's been for some years but surely they won't lose this one too will they??? Tickets are only available to members but hospitality packages are available from £480

Women's Super League
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal @12pm - the next biggest footballing event of the day is likely to be the North London Derby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Arguably the capital's best ground, this women's game gives you a superb chance to visit without membership and at a very affordable price (£15). The two played in the cup in midweek, with the Gunners winning on penalties after a 3-3 draw. The visitors will probably field a slightly stronger team for this league game and will start as favourites. Tickets

Millwall v Huddersfield Town @3pm - the Lions must be rueing the departure of manager Gary Rowett as they've only won one of the six games since Joe Edwards took over. Now just a point above the relegation zone, they face this six-pointer against a side who have the same points as them. Anything less than a win could see them end the day in the bottom three. Tickets

National League
Dagenham & Redbridge v Wealdstone @3pm - there are a couple of games in the fifth tier on the Saturday and I'd have to make this one in east London my pick as it's a crosstown derby. Only a point apart in midtable, it should produce a decent contest. Tickets

National League South
Welling United v Eastbourne Borough @3pm - there's another big relegation six-pointer in the sixth tier too where two of the bottom four meet at Park View Road. Either could move out of the drop zone with a win. Tickets

Isthmian League Premier Division
Enfield Town v Dulwich Hamlet @3pm - if you're looking for a seventh-tier option, I'd advise you to head north where two of the division's best supported teams will do battle at Donkey Lane. The Towners are currently third and looking good for a play-off place. Dulwich came down from the NLS last season and after a rocky start, have begun to find some form. Now six points shy of the top five, the play-off positions are starting to come back into view. Tickets

Southern League Division 1 Central
Hadley v Barton Rovers @3pm - this week seems to see most of the action happening at the wrong end of the table with another big relegation scrap to be found in the far north of London not too far to the west of Enfield. The hosts are in the bottom two but only a point behind the visitors who hail from the Luton area. Tickets are £10 on the gate

SCEFL Premier Division
Glebe v Faversham Town @3pm - one of the games of the day at any level sees the top two in this ninth-tier division duel for supremacy. Glebe are currently second but only a point behind Faversham so it couldn't be much tighter. Tickets will be available on the gate and should be in the £7-10 range

SCEFL Challenge Cup
AFC Whyteleafe v Lewisham Borough @3pm - in the same league's cup competition, the top two in the First Division meet at Church Road for what should be a keenly contested game. The Leafe are currently seven points clear at the top and recently beat their title rivals 2-1. However, Lewisham have two games in hand so their bid for top spot is far from over. A win for the visitors could give them a huge psychological boost. Tickets will probably be in the £5-8 range

Sunday 17 December

Premier League
Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion @2pm - with Manchester City playing Crystal Palace on Saturday, there's a good chance the Gunners could be down to third by the time this kicks off. However, a win here will put them top at least temporarily as Liverpool play later in the day. Beating the Seagulls won't be easy though. A top eight club, they beat Marseille on Thursday to win their group in the Europa League. The Emirates is also a happy hunting ground for the Sussex club. Since joining the Premier League in 2017, they've won four, drawn one and only lost twice. Tickets are only available to members and hospitality has sold out
Brentford v Aston Villa @2pm - with only three points from their last five games, the Bees are suffering a bit of a slump in form. Last time out they lost to bottom club Sheffield United. On Sunday they welcome a side who are in the best shape they've been in for some years. Now firmly among the frontrunners in the league and doing well in Europe, Unai Emery's side will start as firm favourites. Tickets are not available to non-members
West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers @2pm - after being demolished 5-0 by Fulham last weekend, the Hammers responded with a solid 2-0 win over Freiburg on Thursday which saw them book a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League. Wolves, on the other hand, picked up a point in a slightly underwhelming 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest in their last match. Having won their last three against the Midlands club at London Stadium, you'd think David Moyes' side will probably have the edge here. Tickets

Isthmian League South East
Erith & Belvedere v Ramsgate @3pm - if you're struggling to get into one of the games above, you have one non-league option. Taking place at Park View Road in Welling, the Deres welcome a side who hit the headlines recently with their televised FA Cup game against AFC Wimbledon at Plough Lane. Given they did so well in that competition, it should come as no surprise that the Kent side are top of this eighth-tier division and should win against a side who are languishing near the bottom. Tickets are £10 on the gate

Women's Championship
Watford v London City Lionesses @2pm - with no Super League action scheduled in the capital, the top women's game is this second-tier fixture at Wealdstone's ground. The Hornets won promotion to this level last season but have really struggled and are bottom as we approach Christmas. LCL were title contenders in 2022/23 but they've also had a rocky campaign and are in the bottom four too. If Watford are to stay up, they have to win matches like this. Tickets

FAWNL Southern Premier
Hashtag United v Rugby Borough @3pm - the Tags are new to this level following promotion but unlike Watford, stormed to the top beating all comers in the opening months of the season. Since then, they've lost a couple and are now second to Portsmouth on goal difference. Rugby Borough, formerly Coventry United, are third and will move into contention if they win here. In the reverse fixture back in September, Hashtag won 3-1. As a side note, defender Sophie Baigent who starred for Actonians last season, has recently signed for the Tags so it will be interesting to see how she fares. Being played at Aveley, tickets will be available on the gate for £5

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, via X/Twitter or even by good old email.

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