Arsenal travel to New Jersey for the second fixture of their 2014-15 preseason schedule and will take on the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, hoping to gain extra match sharpness ahead of the new Premier League campaign.
The Gunners triumphed 2-0 over Boreham Wood last Saturday and will once again give some fringe players their chance in the United States before returning home for the Emirates Cup.
Expanding their global brand even further, playing in front of an American audience will be a valuable experience for Arsene Wenger's younger stars. Below we provide all the vital viewing information for this weekend's clash.
Date: Saturday, July 26
Time: 10 p.m. BST/5 p.m. ET
TV Info: ESPN2 (US)
Henry's Last Reunion?
The overriding storyline of Saturday's fixture centres on Thierry Henry's latest Arsenal reunion, the north London icon coming up against his old side for the first time since 2011.
Since moving to Major League Soccer, the Frenchman has found a new platform to shine upon, and he'll aim to claim another result for the Red Bulls three years after these two sides drew 1-1 in the 2011 Emirates Cup.
Once again the notion has been mooted that Henry could play a half for his old club, with Wenger quoted by the Daily Mail's David Kent admitting he would love his ex-talisman to don the Arsenal shirt again:
I came here with only one striker because I hoped he would play one half for us. He practices with us and is still very sharp and he came back here in very good shape.
Since playing against Arsenal in 2011's pre-season tournament, Henry enjoyed a short loan stint with Arsenal at the start of 2012. His bronze statue stands outside the Emirates Stadium as an ongoing testament to the striker's influence on the club.
However, at the age of 36, this may well be the last time Henry gets to face off against his former employers, presenting an opportunity he'll treat with a special tone of nostalgia.
Gunners Get Their Chance
Arsenal's stateside fans would undoubtedly love to see Wenger come to the Red Bulls Arena with a stellar line-up of his top talents, but the reality will be somewhat different.
As aforementioned in the manager's quotes, Arsenal have made the trip with just one senior striker, Chuba Akpom, in their ranks, and the 18-year-old is not alone in terms of up-and-comers to get their shot.
Mail Online also confirmed that World Cup winners Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski will be absent for the beginning of the Premier League campaign, ruling them out of all pre-season matches:
BREAKING: Arsene Wenger says Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker will miss start of Premier League season http://t.co/aGKcJCN1C6— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) July 24, 2014
Gedion Zelalem, born in Berlin but raised for much of his development in nearby Virginia, is one such talent sure to feature, with Wenger confirming the midfielder's involvement, per the official MLS website:
He will play on Saturday. Gedion has the qualities that I believe are very important to give in the States because the national team I've seen [is missing them]. He's a creative player and he can create a spark, an opening with his pass, with his vision through the eyes and if he manages to build up his physique and his qualities, he can be a very important player. Let's hope he will do it.
Bleacher Report's James McNicholas (aka Gunnerblog) noted the youngster's influence in Arsenal's first pre-season outing:
Borehamwood very deep, very compact, very organised. Ramsey & Zelalem charged with finding a way through with neat through-balls.— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) July 19, 2014
Zelalem is on the cusp of breaking into the first-team ranks, and with chances few and far between during the regular campaign, it's vital that he and others pounce on any minutes thrown their way in preseason.
Stern Tour Test
While the status of Major League Soccer still remains mediocre to large sections of European audiences, the New York Red Bulls have a distinct advantage over Arsenal in match preparedness.
The Americans are currently halfway through their 2014 campaign, having played 19 games and hoping to secure their place in the playoff reckoning.
So, while Arsenal may boast a higher calibre of player, the fact that many are still making their returns from a summer away from training and international duty gives Saturday's hosts an edge worth factoring into any predictions.