The Dutchman claims whoever loses out in the FA Cup clash will suffer a huge blow in their bid for Champions League football next season.
Manchester United and Arsenal will go head-to-head in the FA Cup sixth round on Monday night, and Red Devils manager Louis van Gaal claims that whichever team takes the glory will gain significant ground in the Premier League ‘rat race’.
The former Netherlands manager has described the sixth round clash as a “big event”, with Man United out to destroy the Gunners’ hopes of keeping their hands on the trophy.
“Arsenal and United are now in third and fourth place, so it is a big event with two good teams,” the 63-year-old was quoted by Sky Sports.
“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.
Manchester United and Arsenal are also battling it out for a lucrative Champions League spot, and with Liverpool, Southampton and Tottenham also vying for a place in the top four, van Gaal knows that FA Cup defeat could be a devastating setback in their domestic campaign.
He added: “It is very important game, not only for the FA Cup but also for the [Premier League] rat race.”