Discussing the match on BT Sport—in light of Manchester United‘s victory over Norwich City on Saturday—van Gaal predicted that it might be hard for the Citizens to pick themselves up after their midweek loss to Real Madrid.
While the Citizens achieved history by reaching the Champions League semi-finals for the first time, they appeared listless and lacklustre over two legs against Real.
While Pellegrini’s side held Los Merengues to a 0-0 draw at the Etihad Stadium in the first leg of their double header, they were undone in the reverse fixture when Gareth Bale’s 20th-minute strike deflected off Fernando and beyond Joe Hart.
“After the defeat against Real Madrid. It’s not so easy for Manchester City to revive,” the coach began, speaking to BT Sport ahead of the Citizens’ bout against Arsenal on Sunday.
Indeed, while City cannot secure their return to Europe’s high table against the Gunners, Arsene Wenger’s side would be able to book their spot in next year’s UCL with a victory.
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Similarly, should City drop points, they would hand the initiative to van Gaal’s United in the race for the top four, with the Red Devils—with a game in hand—able to overtake the Citizens when they travel to Upton Park to face West Ham United on Tuesday.