The 20-times English champions host the FA Cup holders in sixth round of the competition at Old Trafford on Monday. The Dutchman has a very good chance of winning his first silverware as United manager, if he manages to defeat the north London club.
The Gunners are third in the Premier League table, while the Red Devils are one spot behind them. The Dutchman believes a defeat for either sides claims it will be a massive blow going ahead this season.
“It’s a game between two teams of 11 players. United are Arsenal are placed third and fourth in the league, so it’s almost like a final, I think,” Van Gaal explained.
“I think if beat them it is a big blow for them but if they beat us it is a big blow for us. It is a very important game, not only for the FA Cup but also for the rat race. We have the support of our fans but Arsenal shall also bring a lot of fans. I hope we can give a fantastic match for them.”
United manager went on to praise his Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger for his commitment to the Gunners and compared his longevity to Red Devils’ legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
“In my opinion [what he has done] is amazing. It can only be in England, I believe, where managers are so long committed with one club,” the former Netherlands manager explained.
“It shows how much he can mean for a club as a manager. I like that – like Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger – I think it’s fantastic that you can do that.”