by Sam Peoples

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes the club’s FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Arsenal on Monday could have a significant bearing on the race to finish in the top four of the Premier League.

Arsenal, Man United, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool are all locked in a battle to qualify for the Champions League next season.

United scraped past Newcastle United 1-0 on Wednesday thanks to Ashley Young’s late winner while Arsenal and Liverpool have been gradually improving in recent months.

Van Gaal is relishing the opportunity to inflict a psychological blow on Arsenal with victory in the clash.

Speaking about the fixture, van Gaal said: “It’s a game between two teams of 11 players. United and Arsenal are placed third and fourth in the league, so it’s almost like a final, I think.

“We have the support of our fans but Arsenal shall bring a lot of fans too. Also, Arsenal and United are now in third and fourth place, so it is a big event with two good teams. I hope we can give a fantastic match for the fans.

“I think if we beat them it is a big blow for them, but if they beat us it is a big blow for us. It is very important game, not only for the FA Cup but also for the rat race.”

It will not be straightforward for United against the Gunners as they have a number of quality players.

Alexis Sanchez has proven this season that he is one of the best players in England, while United will need to pay attention to the threat of Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud. Danny Welbeck will also be looking to inflict some pain upon his former club after moving to London from United last summer.

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