Laurent Koscielny’s refusal to travel with the squad will have thrown Unai Emery’s pre-season plans, which begin on Tuesday, into disarray
Arsenal will get their pre-season campaign underway with a friendly match against Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Monday evening. It will be the first game since the Gunners’ 4-1 Europa League final loss against London rivals Chelsea.
Unai Emery will be dealing with the aftermath of captain Laurent Koscielny’s boycott of their pre-season tour, refusing to travel with the squad in his attempt to force his way out of the club and return to France.
After the north London club narrowly missed out on Champions League football last season, Emery has been tasked with returning the club to the top four in the Premier League and challenging for honours.
|Game||Colorado Rapids vs Arsenal|
|Date||Monday, July 15|
|Time||9pm ET / 2am BST|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the US, the match can be watched live on Altitude Sports.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the UK, the match will be shown on Premier Sports 1 and livestreamed on Premier Sports HD.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Premier Sports 1||Premier Sports HD|
Squads & Team News
|Position||Colorado Rapids squad|
|Goalkeepers||Howard, Rawls, Irwin|
|Defenders||Rosenberry, Opare, Wilson, Smith, Abubakar, Vines, Anderson, Ford, Wynne, Sjoberg|
|Midfielders||Blomberg, Acosta, Serna, Price, Mezquida, Bassett, Nicholson|
|Forwards||Rubio, Lewis, Kamara, Shinyashiki|
The Colorado Rapids team includes a couple of familiar names, including ex-Manchester United and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard.
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Rapids starting XI: Irwin; Anderson, Sjoberg, Opare, Raben; Bassett, Acosta; Blomberg, Mezquida, Serna; Jackson
|Goalkeepers||Leno, Martinez, Macey|
|Defenders||Bellerin, Jenkinson, Chambers, Sokratis, Mustafi, Holding, Mavropanos, Medley, Monreal, Kolasinac, Thompson, Maitland-Niles|
|Midfielders||Xhaka, Burton, Olayinka, Mkhitaryan, Ozil, Nelson, Smith Rowe|
|Forwards||Martinelli, Saka, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Nketiah, John-Jules|
The biggest absence from the Gunners team is captain Koscielny, while Krystian Bielik has not been included in the squad after being told that he is not in Emery’s plans for the new campaign.
Calum Chambers has travelled with the squad after spending last season loan with Fulham.
Arsenal starting XI: Macey; Jenkinson, Chambers, Medley, Thompson, Olayinka, Burton, Martinelli, John-Jules, Saka, Nketiah
Betting & Match Odds
Arsenal are favourites to win this match with Bet365 pricing them at odds of 2/7 to win. The Rapids can be backed at 10/1 , while a draw is available at 17/4 .
Arsenal’s match against Colorado Rapids is the first stop of their four-game pre-season tour of North America, which will be followed by tests against Bayern, Fiorentina and Real Madrid.
The Gunners have already done business in signing Gabriel Martinelli from Ituano, but Koscielny’s absence – and ongoing transfer saga – will no doubt cause a selection headache for Emery.
The 2019-20 campaign will be the third consecutive season in a row that the Londoners have missed out on UCL spot, and Emery’s preparations will have been thrown into further chaos amid his side’s pursuit of Wilfried Zaha and Kieran Tierney .
Though there have been no offers for the Frenchman, the defender – who has made over 350 appearances for the club since arriving in 2010 – is looking to finesse a departure with a year remaining on his current deal. Arsenal, meanwhile, are determined not to let him leave for free.
While Arsenal are just beginning their preparations for the new season, Tuesday evening’s friendly comes in the middle of Colorado Rapids’ MLS season.
It hasn’t been a particularly spectacular campaign for Conor Casey and his side, though, with the Rapids currently 11th in the Western Conference and just goal difference keeping them out of the bottom.
The Rapids have, however, won four of their last five MLS home games – coming off the backs of four consecutive losses – and will be optimistic that Tuesday’s match will add to the momentum of aiming to escape the bottom half of the table.