Arsenal vs. Everton: A friendly in Baltimore
Football is back at M&T Bank Stadium. Just not the football that’s usually played there.
On Saturday night, Arsenal and Everton — two clubs from the English Premier League, one of the top soccer leagues in the world — will meet in Baltimore for a friendly match, kicking off a preseason tour for both teams.
The match begins at 7 p.m., and supporter groups for Everton and Arsenal will host events before the game, including a march to the stadium. It’s the first of two matches in the U.S. for Everton, with a follow-up in Minneapolis against Minnesota United on Wednesday. Arsenal faces Orlando City next week before taking on another Premier League power, Chelsea, next weekend.
These are ramp-up matches before the Premier League season gets underway Aug. 5, so teams are expected to rotate their squads heavily during the match. But there are still plenty of big names set to star in Baltimore.
“We do want to beat them, and these kind of games get a lot of attention back home,” Everton manager Frank Lampard told The Baltimore Sun. “Our fans are waiting to see how we’re preparing for the season, people react to these games for us, so it’s important just for the outside that we try and perform as well as we can.”
Here’s everything to know about Arsenal and Everton ahead of Saturday’s showing.
How’d they do last season?
Everton faced a relegation scare. The Toffees, a club from Liverpool, finished 16th in the Premier League, four points ahead of Burnley in 18th. The league includes 20 clubs, and the bottom three teams — last season it was Burnley, Watford and Norwich City — are relegated to the Championship, the second division in English football.
Everton avoided the worstcase scenario of relegation, but it required firing manager Rafael Benitez in January after just over six months in charge to ensure
safety. Everton has played in the top flight every season since 1954, and 16th was their lowest finish in the competition since 2004.
Arsenal has more trophies in its cabinet, and the Gunners finished fifth last season, securing a Europa League qualification. Arsenal has
spent 106 seasons in the highest division in England, last playing in the second division in 1915 — before World War I put competitive soccer on hold in England until the 1919 season.
The Gunners, a club based in North London, last won the Premier
League in 2004, with French international Thierry Henry’s 30 goals leading the way. Manager Mikel Arteta, who won two FA Cups as a player with Arsenal, led his former club to another domestic tournament trophy in 2020.
Top transfers and big names to know
Arsenal has been busy in the transfer window. To replace the departure of striker Alexandre Lacazette, who joined Olympique Lyon in France, the Gunners made a splash to sign striker Gabriel Jesus from Premier League rival Manchester City. They also added attacking midfielder Fábio Vieira from FC Porto.
Both high-profile players are with the club on the U.S. tour, joining forwards Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah, midfielders Granit Xhaka and Martin Ødegaard and goalkeeper Bernd Leno as marquee players. Nketiah and Martinelli combined to score 11 goals in the Premier League last season, and Jesus totaled 13 in all competitions for Manchester City. In addition, forward Bukayo Saka is coming off a season in which he scored 11 goals in the Premiership.
Everton has had more high-profile exits after the club’s narrow escape of relegation, with striker Richarlison joining Tottenham for north of $60 million the largest loss. The Toffees added former Burnley center back James Tarkowski, who should be an immediate contributor in the starting nine.
England internationals Michael Keane (center back) and Jordan Pickford (goalkeeper) will be on the U.S. tour for Everton, as well as forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Calvert-Lewin, though, is subject to ample outgoing transfer discussions — another potential knock for the Everton squad.
Are tickets still available?
There are still plenty of tickets available for Saturday night’s match at M&T Bank Stadium, with the most reasonably priced options costing $65.50 including fees through Ticketmaster. Those tickets are located in the 500 sections along the sidelines, but tickets are still available in most sections of the stadium.
Seating in the upper end zones will be closed, but all other sections will be open. The Everton supporters area will be from be from section 114 to 120, while the dedicated Arsenal fan sections will be between 133 and 139.
Is weather a factor?
These clubs are from England. They’re used to playing in the rain.
But with scattered thunderstorms possible Saturday night, a Ravens spokesperson said the team will “work with the clubs regarding weather events.”
Can I watch on TV?
The game won’t be on cable, but it is available on the streaming service fuboTV. To see it best, be at M&T Bank Stadium.