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English Premier League side Arsenal F.C. is reportedly planning a five game pre-season trip to the United States, including a possible stop in New York.


Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail reported last week that the team is looking to make a firmer imprint on the U.S. market, and will be looking to have friendly matches on both the east and west coasts. The article also mentions Arsenal heads are targeting Chicago and New York specifically as well.

Prior to a friendly match at Red Bull Arena in 2014, New York Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry (14) and Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta (8) lead their teams to the field. Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This would be the Gunners first trip across the Atlantic Ocean since 2016. In that three-day stint, the team defeated the Major League Soccer All-Stars, 2-1, in San Jose, CA, followed by a win against Liga MX’s Chivas Guadalajara, 3-1, in Los Angeles, CA.

In these types of pre-season trips, large European teams usually take on other large teams from their own continent in neutral venues. It’s seen as a way to allow teams to get competitive practices in before the season starts, especially for younger players, while also possibly bringing in new fans. It isn’t uncommon however for teams to also schedule games against MLS clubs or other American sides as well. Though in recent years bigger clubs have usually opted out of this in favor of playing in the International Champions Cup – which Arsenal has done in the past but never in the United States.

It doesn’t go without saying that the Gunners have history with the New York Red Bulls that may make a possible match between the two sides more plausible.

In 2014, Arsenal played the Bulls at Red Bull Arena in its first U.S. fixture since 1989, 25 years prior. The game was a landmark occasion as it saw dual-team legend Thierry Henry, in his last season with NYRB, play one final game against his former club. Henry spent eight years playing in North London from 1999 until 2007, where he helped lead the team to two Premier League titles in 2002 and 2004. That game saw future New York leading scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips score the lone goal, off an assist from Henry, in a 1-0 win.

On a smaller note, New York also had a match against the Gunners in 2011 when both clubs took part in that year’s edition of the Emirates Cup – a friendly tournament hosted at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London. The two teams played to a 1-1 draw, which helped the Red Bulls win the small tournament which also included Boca Juniors and Paris Saint-Germain.

Arsenal possibly playing in “New York” could either mean a game against New York City FC, owned partially by City Football Group which also owns fellow Premier League side Manchester City, or another game in Harrison against the Red Bulls.

Whatever the case, if it were to happen the game would most likely be scheduled in the mid-summer months of 2019. This would fall in the middle of the MLS season but also around the same time as the international break for the Copa América and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.


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