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26 July 2014
• Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey
Referee: J. Santos
• Attendance: 25219
New York RB
B. Wright-Phillips 33'
Arsenal will head back to London, with their next action coming against Benfica in the Emirates Cup. And that's about the end of my night as well. From me, Keeghann Sinanan, it's bye for now.
The Red Bulls claim the first MLS win over an EPL side this summer and will now turn their attentions back to Real Salt Lake on Wednesday and the continued race for the playoffs.
A lone Bradley Wright-Phillips goal in the first half has given the home side the friendly win. Poor defending from Arsenal on that occasion and they struggled to establish much cohesion in attack.
90' + 3'
That's it! The New York Red Bulls have gotten the better of Arsenal!
90' + 2'
Olsson severely underwhelms from the set piece, curling it well over the bar. New York will restart with the goal kick and that may just be that.
90' + 1'
Kimura becomes the first booking of the game right at the death for tripping up Akpom. Decent free kick chance for Arsenal here at the end, and it may be their last chance to get a goal back.
Yellow Card Kosuke Kimura
This may be a friendly and Arsenal may be missing a host of regulars, but you still feel like they've severely underperformed here. This match has hardly been the Red Bulls' biggest concern in the midst of the MLS season, but they've not often looked worried by what Arsenal have had to offer.
OFFSIDE! Akpan finds himself completely free at the far post to attack a deep cross. Martinez meets the effort head on and blocks the shot, but the referee's whistle chalks off the play.
The Gunners continue to dominate the ball but time is no longer on their side. New York are taking the sting out of everything. It's looking like Arsenal will be contemplating a loss on their way back to London.
Luyindula flashes a strong header just over the top as the Red Bulls narrowly miss a chance to wrap up the game. I can't say that Arsenal have deserved much more than what they're currently getting.
Robles departs after a superb display against Arsenal. My man of the match for sure. He denied Wilshere and Cazorla with some conviction, and has played his part in his team's current advantage.
Oh, that Chuba. Put clean behind the defence, the stocky Arsenal striker seems destined to finish, but can't make up his mind in time and is snuffed out by a combination of goalkeeper and defender.
Another sub to bring you up to speed with - Duvall goes off for Kimura after narrowly seeing a shot deflected wide following an intriguing run into the opposition area.
Gibbs tries to inject some burst back into the Arsenal attack, whipping in a delicious cross towards Akpom at the far post, but he doesn't move enough to make contact with the ball, and the defence can clear.
Red Bulls are about 20 minutes away from becoming the first MLS side to defeat EPL opposition this pre-season. The highlight of that cluster of fixtures was Tottenham's entertaining 3-2 win over Toronto FC at BMO Field.
The substitutions continue to break up what little momentum this second half has managed to develop. Cazorla makes way for Olsson while Toral comes on for Rosicky. All 20 of the Gunners squad that traveled to the United States have now gotten a run out.
McCarty takes his leave after a hard working shift as Bover makes his way onto the pitch. The latter had a few spells with various English clubs, most recently Charlton Athletic.
The fans are starting to get restless with the game grounding to a standstill. Sad to say that there's not a whole lot of goalmouth action going on. The home side are quite content to hold onto this lead.
Cazorla has a chance to cause some panic in the New York penalty area with a free kick from the left hand side, but it sails over the head of all interested parties, marking an easy grab for Robles.
Cahill's relatively uneventful afternoon is off, with Bustamante coming on in his place. Petke makes another change, with Miazga coming on for Sekagya.
The road bridge outside the Red Bull Arena has finally opened, I've been told. It's probably too late for a few disappointed fans though, who might have given up the ghost after such a long delay.
Not anywhere near the zip and verve that defined sections of the first half. With 11 changes across both teams, it's no surprise. Arsenal look the more likely to go ahead purely based on their dominance of possession.
It continues to be an Arsenal-dominated second half. The highly rated Chuba Akpom has given them a genuine target up front for the first time in this match. Diaby has also shown his capability to burst from deep so we may finally see end product from the Arsenal midfield machine.
DIABY SCORES! The heavens thunder, the seas roar and a great fissure appears in the turf...but the linesman's flag halts the apocalypse in its tracks. Pity for the Frenchman, who had pulled off an exquisite Henry-esque finish from about a yard in front of the last defender.
Everyone gets to their feet to applaud the Arsenal and France legend, who reciprocates the adulation on his measured exit from the pitch. High fives all around from the bench and even the fourth official. His future isn't certain, so testimonial aside, was that the last time he would ever play on the same pitch as Arsenal?
Arsenal seeing all of the ball, with New York barely able to get out of their own half. That may signal the end of Henry's chances of getting a goal against his former club, with the word being that he's set to depart.
There was a chance out of the blocks for Arsenal to take the lead! Diaby squeezes a clever pass to Cazorla inside the area, but Robles once again stands his ground to parry the effort!
By contrast, the Red Bulls have only made three swaps at the interval. Armando, Alexander and Akpan come on with Olave, Miller and the goalscorer Wright-Phillips have all departed.
Here's the new Arsenal XI: Martinez, Bellerin, Monreal, Miquel, Gibbs, Coquelin, Flamini, Diaby, Cazorla, Rosicky, Akpom.
There has been an Abou Diaby sighting! One of the seven Gunners changes from the half time break as the mythical Frenchman will play the second half. I'll confirm them all for you as soon as I can.
Here we go again!
The Red Bulls have occasionally been presented with some wide open gaps to exploit, and Mike Petke must surely be pleased with what his team has offered. Second half is just around the corner, so stay tuned.
So a lone Bradley Wright-Phillips goal has given the home side a narrow lead at the interval. Arsenal haven't been completely at their best, missing the cutting edge of a striker up front as Wenger named an XI with six midfielders.
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Tim Cahill
That's the end of the half.
Looks like we're heading to the half time break without an Arsenal goal to show for the first half. They've ramped up their intent since conceding, but the Red Bulls have dealt comfortably with whatever has been thrown their way.
Cazorla's free kick is only headed out to the top of the box within the reach of Wilshere. He takes it down on his chest and has a low effort on goal, but Cahill doesn't stand for it, blocking it out for a corner. Which comes to nothing.
ROBLES COMES UP BIG! A typically intricate Asenal move into the box has the fans screaming for someone to shoot. Wilshere takes his time to shift the ball onto his left peg, but that allows Robles the opportunity to scamper off his line and paw the ball away!
Hopefully this encourages Arsenal to hit back and salvage some pride. They establish a base around the edge of the left side of the Red Bulls box, but are unable to penetrate on this occasion.
You can bet that Wright-Phillips will be ringing his dad Ian Wright about that goal! One of the two sons of the former Arsenal legend, who was the club's record goalscorer until Henry decided to have a say in the matter. Some real history and connections in this fixture!
Assist Ibrahim Sekagya
Goal Bradley Wright-Phillips
WRIGHT-PHILLIPS SCORES! Terrible defending from Arsenal. Henry's corner is swung towards the far post and a free Red Bulls header puts the ball right on the goalline. Wright-Phillips, poaching, is able to beat a static Szczesny to the ball and stab it home!
Arsenal nearly exploit New York on the very next play. With so many Red Bulls camped high up the pitch to support their pressure, Arsenal win the ball back and break with pace via Ramsey. He spreads it left to Cazorla, who wastes the entire move with a terrible cross.
Sustained pressure from the Red Bulls as they pen Arsenal around their own area. Solid retention of the ball, but not a lick of penetration to go along with it. Good defending from the Gunners.
The Red Bulls create another positive moment. Miller advances down the left to the very edge of the byline and tries to squeeze it to the far post for Cahill. Monreal gets there first though, and the chance evaporates.
FLAG UP! A cute ball from Cazorla takes two defenders out of the equation and matches the run of Ramsey perfectly. The whistle is prompt though and replays justify the decision.
Encouraging tempo to the match here. A lot of energy show by Arsenal when moving the ball around their midfielders but you can't help but shake the feeling that they lack that forward making runs from an advanced position. New York are pushing their back line up high.
The remainder of the Red Bulls contingent are just starting to filter into the stands. A police incident in Harrison has caused some real traffic chaos, preventing a lot of fans from making kickoff.
Just a sniff for Ramsey. Collecting a Rosicky pass at the top of the box, he rushes to bring it under control and somehow manages to touch it around his man when I would have sworn that he was about to cough it up. He snaps one in at Robles, but it zips the wrong side of the far post.
Henry is consistently looking to get in behind Hayden, who is playing on the right side of Arsenal's central defence. It's clear that he wants to keep facing up to goal on the opposite side to his stronger foot to hopefully pull off the Henry special into the far bottom corner.
It's almost an away game for Red Bulls here in their own arena, with throngs of Arsenal supporters visible in the stands. By the looks of it, Puma's new designs have not quite managed to penetrate the New York City Gunners market as yet. Give it time.
There looks to be a ton of space for both sides to exploit here but in the tradition of the pre-season, there's not quite the hurry to exploit it. That's not to say that it's been a bore - far from it. Just taking a little while longer to get the competitive juices flowing.
Big season ahead for Jack Wilshere. He's been in and out of the Arsenal XI the past three years with fitness and form issues. Ever since THAT game against Barcelona at the Emirates, he's never pushed on the the level that we might expect. He won't be considered a youngster for much longer.
Arteta has gone down on the deck after getting tangled up with Oyongo. The Spaniard slid in to win the ball and was already on his way down in the challenge before the Red Bulls man appeared to innocently wave his arm near his face. Play is stopped, but the Gunners skipper looks fine.
The Red Bulls have clearly picked Isaac Hayden as Arsenal's weak link. Once again, the 19-year-old is caught out of position as the hosts make inroads into the left hand side of the box. This time, it's Wright-Phillips on the ball and he aims for the same spot as Henry moments before, but misses the target by a hair.
Some real speed shown from Arsenal on their next attack! Ramsey, Rosicky and Cazorla move the ball effortlessly across the turf, before the Spaniard had a crack from outside the box. Robles stretched and watched it whistle past the far post!
BOOYA! Henry denied his goal! New York break with consummate ease against a backpedaling Arsenal defence. Henry is released clean through behind the backline and is onside. The world and their mother knows what's about to come as he leans back, angling his body to shoot for the bottom right corner. But Szczesny's seen that one too many times in training and spreads himself to tip wide! Great save!
First opportunity for Arsenal to advance into the Red Bulls' defensive third and they nearly make it count. Gibbs leaves his man for dead down the left, but Robles gets to his cross first at the near post. He wasn't seriously expecting Cazorla to win that header, was he?
Early sighter from Henry, who takes charge of a free kick but bends it terribly off target. We'll let him off with that one. It's been a good early start from the hosts, who have shown an aptitude for high pressing.
The Red Bulls are in their traditional red and white kit while Arsenal don their new yellow and blue away strip that debuted against Boreham Wood last week. The Gunners have of course named Puma as their new kit developers.
Arsenal kick us off and away we go!
The players are out, Henry gets his hero's reception and we are almost set for kickoff.
Henry might not even be the most intriguing character in this saga. That honour goes to Gedion Zelalem, the 17-year-old midfield prodigy that starts for the Gunners. Born in Germany but raised in USA, Zelalem has turned out recently for various Nationalmannschaft youth sides - but is far from declaring his senior allegiance. A sensible nod by Wenger to include him in here in New Jersey, then.
There will be a delay before we get started. There's been some police activity that has prevented some fans from getting to the stadium and the players aren't out on the pitch yet. Shouldn't be long though.
You've got to love Wenger's cheek, especially when there's no risk attached. He's been quoted as saying: "I came here with only one striker because I hoped he (Henry) would play a half for us. He practices and is still very sharp and he came back here in very good shape."
Arsenal took a 2-0 victory over Boreham Wood in their first friendly of the pre-season. Matches against Benfica and Monaco are to come, as well as the Community Shield against Manchester City. Then, in three weeks, it all kicks off again as they open their EPL campaign against Crystal Palace.
I'm obligated to mention Henry's magnificent 228 goals throughout his Arsenal career, the club's all time top scorer who has been cast in bronze outside the Emirates. Even with 36 years on his clock, he's still handling his business in the MLS, topping the assist charts.
It goes without saying that Henry starts up top for the home side, alongside Bradley Wright-Phillips, top scorer in the MLS so far. The Premier League nostalgia party rolls on with Tim Cahill also featuring in a midfield role.
This is like some sort of Arsene Wenger wish fulfilment fantasy. A team with one goalkeeper, four defenders, SIX midfielders and zero strikers. Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky are ostensibly the men 'leading the line' for the Gunners. Weird, but it's pre-season so fair game.
New York Red Bulls: Robles, Duvall, Olave, Sekagya, Miller, Sam, Cahill, McCarty, Oyongo, Wright-Phillips, Henry.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Hayden, Monreal, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Zelalem, Ramsey, Cazorla, Rosicky.
Have a look at these XI's...wow.
Speaking of him, Henry hasn't been as eager as you would expect with his former club paying a visit. In fact, judging by the French striker's pre-match comments, he all but admitted that the Arsenal reunion was a distraction from the Red Bulls' next MLS Eastern Conference match against Real Salt Lake - where they are looking to consolidate their playoff position.
You'd think that Arsenal would want to stay a while, kick their feet up and chat, given that it's the first time in a quarter-century that they're playing in the US of A. But no, there's Emirates Cup duty on the horizon. Barely enough time to grab a selfie with Thierry Henry before heading back across the pond to face Benfica at the Emirates.
We've got a tasty one for you today folks, as New York Red Bulls take on Arsenal in the Gunners' one game pre-season tour of the United States. As always, I'm Keeghann Sinanan, your guide for all the action.
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