Ticketing in England works very differently than it does in America. In America, if you want to go to a game, you can just go on StubHub or similar scalping sites if there aren’t face value tickets available, and we have a robust scalping market. In England, this practice is essentially illegal, and is policed by the clubs. While it may be tempting to go on StubHub UK, or Ticket Gum, or any of the other UK-based scalping sites, do not do this. If you are found to be using a scalped ticket, you (and the seller) can be banned from Emirates.
While tickets are much harder to obtain than they used to be prior to Arsenal’s return to title contention and the Champions League during the 2022-2023 Premier League Season, the most direct way to get tickets to Emirates Stadium (this post only concerns home matches, away matches are covered separately) is to join Arsenal as a Red Member and buy tickets directly from the club. Arsenal offers several levels of membership (Red, Silver, and Gold, along with Junior Gunners) but as a first time member you are only eligible to join as a Red. When you join, you will be issued a membership card, which will also serve as your ticket to enter the stadium (however, the club is transitioning to digital tickets only next season). You’ll receive a member pack with your card, and some other bonus items.
Further, on certain match days, bars around the stadium will ask to see your membership card before allowing you in. As a red member, you can enter a lottery drawing for tickets when they are released to Red Members, and you can also buy tickets above face value through the Ticket Exchange, which is Arsenal’s official ticket resale system.
Tickets are first made available to Gold Members, then Silver Members, then Junior Gunners, then Red Members, and then the general public. In the past, it used to be fairly easy to get tickets when they dropped to Red Members or the general public, but that is no longer the case, especially with the new lottery system in place. For highly desirable matches, you will likely be simply unable to buy tickets. For cup matches and other less desirable opponents, there will be some tickets available through the ticket exchange. In any case, tickets for Red Members are not made available until 30 days before the match! This is for several reasons, but one of the major reasons is that the match dates are not finalized until 30 days prior. Match dates frequently change due to TV schedules, cup matches, and other reasons only known to the FA and UEFA. This is inconvenient if you are trying to plan a trip to London far in advance, but unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about this.
The best alternative to joining as a Red Member is to join Arsenal America and request tickets. However, those tickets require requesting far in advance, and in my experience it has proved far simpler to simply work directly with the club through the channels outlined above as a Red Member.
Finally, if you simply can’t get a traditional ticket to the match that you want to go to, you can look into hospitality tickets. These tickets are significantly more expensive than traditional tickets and give you a luxury box atmosphere with catered food and drink. It’s a very different experience from the traditional Arsenal match day, and frankly not one that I would recommend if you’re a first time visitor looking to experience English football.
That said, it can still be a fun experience and, for me personally, was literally the only way I was able to get tickets during Arsenal’s title challenge in 2023. You can either buy hospitality tickets through the ticket exchange if they are available, or (more likely) buy ticket packages through one of Arsenal’s licensed hospitality travel partners. I utilized P1 Travel, who were able to obtain tickets through Arsenal for me for roughly £800. While I’d rather sit in traditional seats, I had a great time and was fortunate to be at the Emirates for the legendary comeback against Bournemouth.