On the one hand, the January appearance of the FA Cup in the football calendar provides a burst of excitement in the year's dullest month. This is particularly important when the proper snow that we were PROMISED by the weather people arrives as little more than three or four miserable flakes accompanying the usual on-your-arse ice that God helpfully decided would be see-through. Really, what use is a world without throwable weather?
On the other hand, for a regular series that focuses on league football the FA Cup is the enemy. Two whole weekends have been wiped out by the cup, though of course the number of London clubs involved diminishes with each unwelcome tie against clogging northern fiends who often best our cultured, silky skills with their boorish hoofs and long throws.
But there has been some league football, and of course the upshot of it is that Chelsea are still top of the Londonist Football League. Rein in your gasps Londoners, it will forever be so and it's best you get used to it now. Jose Mourinho may have a well-honed hatred of just about everything, as so well noted by West Ham’s Sam Allardyce, but his side's 53 points from 23 matches gives them a lead of nearly half a point per game at the summit.
Arsenal are the latest to shimmy into the Blues’ slipstream, though anyone with even a passing interest in sport, even rugby, knows that Arsenal cannot hope to come higher than third in any league they ever enter, and even that’s an ask when fourth is so familiar and comfortable. They’ve embarked on their usual post-Christmas sprint nonetheless, and have strengthened their defence with a man who could open bottles just by looking at them.
Londonist Football League Table
|Team||Games played||Goal difference||Points||Points per game|
|Dag & Red||28||-9||30||1.07|
Brentford are still right up there, not that it’s stopped them being strangely active in the market themselves. During January they’ve signed a bloke from Skins, Lewis Macleod of the Clan Macleod and Kate Winslet in Titanic. Will their newfound star power enable them to shake off their disheartening defeat to Middlesbrough to end January? Yes, yes it will.
At the foot of the table we find suddenly rudderless QPR, though in truth Harry Redknapp was always more Captain Haddock than Captain Cook. Will it be Tim Sherwood to take over? Is there a Robin Hood joke lurking in there somewhere? Only time will tell.
A dire slump for Millwall sees them perched just above the hapless Hoops in the table. Three defeats from four in January followed three defeats from three in the second half of December, and though a recent win against Nottingham Forest may have arrested the slide, it should be noted that Forest are currently on a run akin to that pillock who does the London Marathon in a deep-sea diving costume.
February would be a nervier time for Dagenham & Redbridge had they not just trumped Cheltenham at the end of January to hoik themselves out of the League Two drop zone. They will be pinning many hopes on deadline day signing Daniel Carr, handily allowing us to link to our comprehensive round-up of deadline day transfers during which AFC Wimbledon signed absolutely nobody. The Dons are the loveliest, cleanest team in London, according to our disciplinary table. And, it turns out, potential animal lovers.
Yes, it’s onto the disciplinary table. Naughty, naughty Leyton Orient; they remain the angriest, filthiest and clearly loneliest side in London, stuck by themselves in League One though doing their very best to descend from it with just one solitary point from four games in January. But in an entertaining development both Arsenal and Tottenham are shooting up the bad boys’ table.
LFL disciplinary table
|Team||Yellow cards||Yellows per game||Red cards||Discipline points per game|
|Dag & Red||44||1.57||2||3.43|
The two halves of the north are flexing their muscles just ahead of what’s likely to be one of...at this point people usually say something like “the most keenly contested north London derbies in recent years”. And what usually happens is it turns out to be a dreadful 1-1 draw with a disputed penalty and an own goal off a keeper’s arse, and everyone goes home none the wiser. So Londonist hereby predicts the north London derby will end 0-0 and be one of the worst matches you’ve ever seen, and you can thank us later.
For those six people who slavishly follow these updates like Statto from Fantasy Football pouring over data, note that we’ve increased the ‘disciplinary points’ for a red card from 3 to 4, because reds deserve to be recognised as the better card. This benefits nobody more than Fulham, who have as many red cards as anyone and have very little else going for them that we can mention in our update. They have recently beaten Forest at least. Told you.
This leaves three teams without a mention in the round-up. Three teams whose performances this season have been neither exemplary nor exasperating; three teams who generally like to do to others only as they would have done to themselves. Crystal Palace and Charlton are currently bedding in new managers, so we can forgive them for being boring in the last few weeks.
But what of West Ham? Once comfortable favourites to win the league, according to a bloke we overheard slurring in Kebab Delight on Barking Road in November, the Hammers picked up one win, one loss and two draws in January and have given up all hope of amazing us all come May. They have the same manager, they picked up just three yellows and no reds in the month, and the closest they got to signing anyone was a narrow escape involving Emmanuel ‘one month on five months off’ Adebayor.
What’s the point eh? You may well ask. We’ll get back to you.