Flow structure inside and around a rectangular array of emerged cylinders located adjacent to the sidewall of an open channel is investigated using eddy-resolving numerical simulations. This configuration is particularly relevant for understanding how patches of aquatic vegetation developing near a river's banks affect flow and transport. The array of width W = 1.6D and length L = 33D-35D (D is the flow depth) contains rigid cylinders. Simulations with incoming, fully developed turbulent flow (channel Reynolds number, Re-D = 12 500) are conducted with different values of the solid volume fraction (0.02 < phi < 0.1), frontal area per unit volume of the array, a (0.41 < aW < 1.63), diameter of the solid cylinders (d = 0.1D and 0.2D) and cylinder shape (circular and square). The paper focuses on investigating flow and turbulence structure inside and downstream of the array and the role played by coherent structures (e.g. vortices forming in the horizontal shear layer at the lateral face of the array, vortices shed in the wake of the solid cylinders) in sediment entrainment and transport. Simulation results show that significant upwelling and downwelling motions are generated near the front and lateral faces of the array and inside the shear layer. Moreover, some distance from the front face of the array, the shear layer vortices generate successive regions of high and low streamwise velocity inside the patch. The frequency associated with these wave-like oscillations is approximately half of the frequency associated with the advection of vortices in the downstream part of the shear layer. These streamwise velocity oscillations induce spanwise patches of high and low bed friction velocity that extend over the regions occupied by the array and the horizontal shear layer. For sufficiently high array resistance, horseshoe vortices form around the upstream corner of the array and provide an additional mechanism for sediment entrainment. For aW > 0.5, mean-flow recirculation bubbles form behind the array. For constant aW, the total size of the region containing recirculation bubbles decreases with increasing d/D. Simulations results are used to quantify the effect of varying phi, aW, d/D and the cylinders' shape on the streamwise decay of the mean streamwise velocity inside the array, turbulent kinetic energy distribution, mean streamwise drag forces acting on the cylinders and mean streamwise drag coefficients.