Finally it’s over, thank the gods. Christmas and New Year bring so much football it makes overseas players cry in bewilderment that they’ll have to put their Weihnachten celebrations on hold. Surely they’ll let us have January off to compensate, right? No, no time off for you. Shut up and run around those cones.
And no time off for us as we see Chelsea remain top of the Londonist Football League, though with a reduced points per game tally courtesy of two rather unexpected defeats in December and January. Chelsea’s hopes of an unbeaten season are as spritely as the quagga, and Jose Mourinho’s warmly entertaining bleating and moaning about referees and ball boys would doubtless have Arsenal fans chuckling were it not for their own side’s comedic defending game after game, and the inexplicable sight of Tottenham second in the table.
Londonist Football League Table
|Team||Games played||Goal difference||Points||Points per game|
|Dag & Red||23||-11||22||0.96|
The festive period has been a fine one in N17 — a New Year’s Day win over Chelsea symbolises the newfound belief of Mauricio Pochettino’s team, while terrified fans of other London clubs reluctantly start putting money on Spurs to win the title ‘just in case’. You know, and we know, that if that happens none of us will ever hear the end of it, given the last time it happened was way back when news reports had a much happier soundtrack.
Brentford remain in the hunt for Londonist honours despite a few recent slip ups, and the Bees, still in the play-off spots in the Championship, have just unleashed their own fearsome spending power by splashing about a million sheets on a Scot named Lewis MacLeod. He’s one of those players who can play in midfield or attack, which might mean he’s not great at either but he tries really hard so that’s OK. He's also been both a coach passenger and museum official on Rab C Nesbitt.
Four teams vie for bottom spot with less than a single point per game each. This month’s ‘club in crisis’ is Crystal Palace, who sacked the man whose name is the most well-known anagram in football and if you can’t rearrange ‘Neil Warnock’ into something amusing this is not the Londonist article for you. Palace will be hoping that Alan Pardew is the man to restore order, steady the ship and similar phrases regarding stability, because of course he was well known as a man of peace and contentment during his four years at Newcastle.
Millwall have slipped alarmingly down the table, summed up by their goal difference having taken a serious whack in December (a 6-1 caning away to Norwich will do that). QPR and Dagenham & Redbridge are similarly bumbling about in the lower regions like a short-sighted gynaecologist a week from retirement.
Leyton Orient are in mid-table, but are rescued from drudgery by their continuing dominance of the disciplinary table.
LFL disciplinary table
|Team||Yellow cards||Yellows per game||Red cards||Discipline points per game|
|Dag & Red||35||1.52||2||3.3|
In fact, that general level of indiscipline among London’s 13 teams has worsened, in the sense that players appear to be kicking each other less and less. This cannot continue; thankfully Arsenal have taken it upon themselves to up their game by earning their first two red cards of the season, for Calum ‘Baby-Faced Hatchet Man’ Chambers and Olivier ‘Pretty Boy’ Giroud, who risked his chiselled features by waving his beautiful hair in the vague direction of QPR’s Nedum Onuoha.
Perhaps once again explaining their overall shrug-like performance in their respective real leagues, AFC Wimbledon and Charlton are failing dismally to demonstrate they are teams of real men. Charlton have to play Rotherham at the end of January. This could be a sign.
That leaves West Ham and Fulham. Two hours of head scratching and chin rubbing has left us no closer to interesting things to say about these two teams in this month’s round-up. They’re both doing alright. Fulham got hammered at home to Watford but hammered Sheffield Wednesday at home in return. West Ham’s purplish shirts are very nice, and probably a little cheaper in the January sales.
So that’s that. We predict that this time next month you will be solidly looking forward to your next Londonist Football League round-up, proving once again how January is historically, statistically and blatantly the grimmest month in the calendar.