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.
The easiest 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. 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 buy tickets at face value 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.
Price and availability of tickets depends on the opponent and the category of the match. For a top tier match like an NLD, tickets range from £64 face to £300 on the ticket exchange.
For Europa League group stage matches, tickets can be had for as little as £15. Tickets are first made available to Gold Members, then Silver Members, then Junior Gunners, then Red Members, and then the general public. For most matches, a minimum of 3,000 tickets are reserved for Red Members, but they often go fast. Your likelihood of getting tickets this way to a match against Bournemouth is much higher than a North London Derby. For highly desirable matches, you will likely be forced to use the exchange. For Europa League matches and other less desirable opponents, there will be many tickets available at face value. 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 EUFA. 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.