The FA cup is realistically the only competition Van Gaal can win in his first year at Manchester United. Along with a chance at winning a trophy,this match according to both the managers can determine the race to the Champions League spots. Manchester United have a better head to head record against the gunner but if there was a time where it could change then it is now. United have been poor for quite some time with their big name summer signings misfiring.
Angel Di Maria has endured a up and down first season at Old Trafford. His performances in the last two games have been average at best. Adnan Januzaj’s recent performances have been encouraging and the Belgian’s case for inclusion in the starting line up will only get stronger if Di Maria doesn’t start performing. The Argentine has the pace and trickery to destroy Arsenal on the counter attack. United as the home team will be expected to take the onus and attack and this is a problem for Di Maria. Under Van Gaal,United have adopted a patient possession based philosophy which Di Maria is struggling in. He faces multiple banks of defenders and is unable to use his pace to go past people. Against Arsenal,the Argentine might find the space he needs to excel and if he doesn’t perform tonight,he might lose his place.
The winner of tonight’s game will certainly get a boost going into the final phase of the Premier League and both Wenger and Van Gaal recognise that.