Today at Red Bull Arena will be the first time Arsenal has played a match in the United States since 1989. It will also be the second time the New York Red Bulls and Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer Thierry Henry have played the Gunners, after the two sides met in the 2011 edition of the Emirates Cup, a 1-1 draw, that the Red Bulls ultimately won.
When the game kicks off at 5 p.m., it will be the first time that the 2014 FA Cup champions have played on American soil since a 1989 friendly in Miami against Argentina’s Independiente. It will also be the first-ever match played in the New York area for a club with one of the world’s largest fanbases.
Head coach of the New York Red Bull – Mike Petke at Thursday’s press conference said:
“It’s going to be a great night,”
“It’s phenomenal for the club, the organization, for the players, the league as a whole to have a club like Arsenal, one of the best clubs in history, in the world, coming here and playing against us.”
Front and center in the spotlight will be former Arsenal striker, Thierry Henry, the all-time club leader in goals scored with 228 across all competitions.
The Frenchman helped Arsenal win two Premiership titles and three FA Cups while winning the PFA Player of the Year twice, and now has a bronze statue outside the Emirates Stadium as well.
Henry joined Arsenal from Juventus in 1999 and played with the North London club for eight seasons before moving to Barcelona in 2007. In the winter of 2011-12 during the MLS offseason, Henry returned to Arsenal for a seven-match loan.
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has announced his 20-man squad for the friendly, a team that features only two of its’ 13 players that featured at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, England’s Jack Wilshere and Spain’s Santi Cazorla, but a number of other first team regulars and exciting young prospects, including German-American forward Gedion Zelalem.
Wenger has once again given chance to a handful of youngsters. Here is a list of the squad that jetted off to New York:
Goalkeepers: Damien Martinez, Wojciech Szczesny
Defenders: Hector Bellerin, Kieran Gibbs, Isaac Hayden, Carl Jenkinson, Ignasi Miquel, Nacho Monreal
Midfielders: Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Abou Diaby, Mathieu Flamini, Kristoffer Olsson, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Jon Toral, Jack Wilshere, Gedion Zelalem
Forward: Chuba Akpom.
18-year-old Chuba Akpom is the only forward that travelled with the squad and will look to stake a claim for the first team squad after impressing against Boreham Wood and on previous loans to Brentford and Coventry. 17-year-old Gedion Zelalem is expected to start in midfield in what is expected to be a packed Red Bull Arena.
Match details: The friendly match will kick off from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey at 5 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by ESPN2, with a live stream available on Watch ESPN.