Preview: Arsenal’s Pre-Season USA Tour

Revant Maheshwari
By Revant Maheshwari
6 Min Read

The Gunners are all set to begin their pre-season tour on American soil starting from 19th July as they look to make an optimistic start for the crucial season ahead of them.

After the friendlies against Watford at London Colney and FC Nurnberg in Germany which both ended in a 1-1 draw, Mikel Arteta’s men are surely looking to offer more to the fans.

The Squad:

The Premier League runner-ups announced a 45 player travelling squad on 16th July which includes:

Goalkeepers: Aaron Ramsdale, Alex Runarsson and Karl Hein.

Defenders: William Saliba, Kieran Tierney, Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes, Jurrien Timber, Jakub Kiwior, Rob Holding, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Auston Trusty and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Midfielders: Martin Odegaard, Jorginho, Fabio Vieira, Mohamed Elneny, Kai Havertz and Declan Rice.

Attackers: Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli, Eddie Nketiah, Leandro Trossard, Folarin Balogun, Marquinhos and Amario Cozier-Duberry.

Furthermore as per the club’s statement, The U-21 Euros winner Emile Smith Rowe and midfielder Thomas Partey are expected to join the squad in the coming week. With Smithe Rowe earning some well-deserved rest, the absence of Partey has led to speculation amongst the fans amid reports of the Ghanian international agreeing terms with a Saudi Pro League side.

With regards to Matt Turner, the goalkeeper featured for the USMNT on 13th July in his country’s semi-final defeat to Panama in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and is expected to be rested by Mikel Arteta for some time. He could still be included in the squad at a later stage since he is already in the USA.

The players not included in the travelling squad include: Arthur Okonkwo, Cedric Soares, Nicolas Pepe, Nuno Tavares, Sambi Lokonga and Reiss Nelson. Barring Nelson who just signed a new long-term contract, everyone else excluded spent last season out on loan and are not expected to be part of the club’s future going ahead.

The Fixtures:

1. MLS All-Stars (19th July, 2023)

The North London side will kick-off their 3-match US Tour at the Audi Field in Washington DC against an all-star team from the American top-flight league which will be managed by Manchester United legend and current DC United head-coach, Wayne Rooney. Over the years as part of the pre-season, the all-star MLS team has defeated European giants such as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur. Arteta’s camp would most certainly not take this fixture lightly.

2. Manchester United (22nd July, 2023)

The historic rivals will clash in New Jersey at the MetLife Stadium in a fixture which will be highly regarded by each club’s fans especially for the bragging rights. A positive pre-season is significant for both the clubs as they look to build on their respective team’s impressive 2022-23 campaigns and fans can undoubtedly expect a game worth watching.

3. FC Barcelona(26th July, 2023)

The Gunners will conclude their pre-season tour in Los Angeles against La Liga winners FC Barcelona. The match at the SoFi stadium will be part of the Soccer Champions Tour series. This new pre-season series will have 9 matches held between 22nd July and 2nd August and involve 6 prominent European clubs: Arsenal, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan, and Manchester United.

The Gunners will be a part of one of the nine fixtures in the series when they take on FC Barcelona. The club’s sporting director Edu Gaspar expanded further on the fixture saying: “Our match against Barcelona in Los Angeles is another great opportunity for Mikel and our men’s first-team squad to prepare for the exciting new season. We’re very proud to be playing at the fantastic SoFi Stadium, the home of the LA Rams, in what will be such a special occasion for everyone at our club.”

What to Expect?

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The Gunners are expected to feature strong line-ups for their three clashes with plenty of rotation similar to game vs Nurnberg. The club’s 3 big-name new signings: Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timer and Declan Rice are all included in the squad and will be closely watched by pundits and supporters.

Another noteworthy inclusion in the travelling squad is 18-year-old Amario Cozier-Duberry. The winger is the only academy player who will be part of the US tour and will be hoping to make his competitive debut for the first team. After being left out of the travelling squad to Germany for the game against Nurnberg, the young Englishman would be delighted with the call-up. Cozier-Duberry was instrumental for Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup side and now has the chance to show Arteta and the fans what he can bring to the table.

In the aftermath of the underwhelming friendly against FC Nurnberg, the club would be desparate to deliver something to cheer about to their fans. The pressure is on Arteta and his men to start their season on a high-note and this tour will provide an important opportunity for it.

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