Thierry Henry, Lloyd Sam

New York Red Bulls to host Arsenal in summer friendly on July 26th


Arsenal fans in greater New York City, rejoice.

The Gunners are set to come to Red Bull Arena this summer for a friendly match with Theirry Henry’s New York Red Bulls.

The announcement, made by Arsenal’s official website, says the match will be played on July 26th and is set to kickoff at 5:00pm ET.

The match will be a special one for Red Bulls striker and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. The Frenchman, who played for the Gunners from 1999-2007 and then again on loan in the winter of 2012, leads the club’s all-time scoring charts with 228 goals.

After leaving Arsenal in 2007, Henry spent three seasons at Barcelona before transferring to the Red Bulls in 2010. Since then the French legend has gone on to score 42 goals in 94 appearances with the MLS side.

Unfortunately for Gunners fans outside the greater New York City area, the club will not be playing additional games throughout the United States. The last time Arsenal played an exhibition match in the U.S. was in 1989 when they met Argentina side Independiente in Miami, Florida. July’s encounter will be the second match between Arsenal and the Red Bulls, following their 1-1 draw in the 2011 Emirates Cup.

Henry described the exhibition as a “special match” for him:

“It goes without saying that hosting Arsenal at Red Bull Arena will be a special moment for me both on a professional and personal level. As I have said before, the club is in my heart and this will be another terrific chapter in my relationship with Arsenal Football Club. Along with my team-mates, I am excited to host Arsenal in New York – one of the greatest cities in the world – and hope that Red Bulls and Arsenal fans will be able to enjoy the match.”

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said of the deal:

“We are delighted to be visiting the United States for the first time in 25 years. We enjoy fantastic support there, and in particular in New York, so we are looking forward to providing our fans with an opportunity to watch the team play live. The fact that Thierry is the New York Red Bulls club captain makes this a particularly special fixture, and everyone involved with the club is looking forward to it.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger added:

“This will be a great chance to play in front of supporters who have not seen the team play before. The New York Red Bulls will be midway through their season, so they will provide a good test. Obviously it will be good to play against Thierry. He is a very special player in our club’s history and I know the players and the supporters will enjoy this very much.”

New York Post reporter Brian Lewis noted over Twitter that the Arsenal match will be included in the plans of Red Bull season ticket holders. Additional ticket details for the match will be set forth at a future date.


Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.