Manchester United and Arsenal come head to head as the two clubs look to book a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. While the clubs used to fight for the Premier League crown back in the day, the two clubs are now embroiled in an exciting battle for a top 4 finish this season. Arsenal ended their trophy drought after clinching the FA Cup last season and will be keen to progress to the semi-finals in what happens to be the only realistic chance of winning any trophy for both teams. Though Arsene Wengera s side is still alive in the Champions League, it will take nothing short of a miracle for his team to overturn a 3-1 deficit and then go on to win the European crown this season. Manchester United on the other hand are still reeling from Sir Alex Fergusona s departure and Louis Van Gaal will be desperate to silence his critics with a trophy in his debut season at Old Trafford.

So here are three players who will be absolutely crucial for Manchester United and are likely to turn the game in Van Gaal’s favour.

Super De Gea

David De Gea-Manchester United's Saving Grace

David De Gea-Manchester United’s Saving Grace

While the Manchester United manager moans the lack of a 20 goal-a-season striker in his ranks, he does have a goal-keeper that is single-handedly winning him games this season. David De Gea has blossomed into one of the best goal-keepers in the world during his time at Manchester United and will play a big role in the game against Arsenal. Playing in front of a make-shift defence for most of the season under Van Gaal, De Gea has made it a habit to save Manchester United the blushes in most of the fixtures.

It is no secret that Manchester United shouldna t be so reliant on David De Gea. A goal-keeper that is called into action repeatedly is one who is often on the side that is not playing the better football. And that has been the case for Van Gaal as his team looks like it is lacking the necessary inspiration and creativity to win games.

David De Gea will a play a big role in the fixture against Arsenal in the FA Cup as he goes up against the likes of Giroud, Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez. The Spaniard put forward an impressive performance the last time the two teams met in the Premier League and will be hoping for a similar show at Old Trafford. If Van Gaal is to beat Arsene Wenger, he will undoubtedly look towards his goal-keeper with the belief that his goal is in a safe handsa .

Captain Fantastic To The Rescue?

Deployed in the midfield for most part of the season under Van Gaal, Robin Van Persiea s injury and Radamel Falcaoa s misery has given Wayne Rooney a golden opportunity to present his case as a striker to the Dutchman. The captain bagged a brace against Sunderland last month and then went on to set up the winner against Newcastle United in Manchester Uniteda s last outing. With Arsenal knocking at the Old Trafford gates, Wayne Rooney will be desperate to lead his side to a much needed victory in the FA Cup.

The English captain is sure to feature highly in Van Gaala s plan as Arsenal visit Manchester United in a bid to earn a spot in the semi-finals. And Rooney himself is highly motivated for an impressive showing in the tournament.

“We have an FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal on Monday and that is massive for us. We haven’t been to a final for a few years, we want to try to win that game and we are looking forward to that.a

“Of course, I think it is a massive trophy. It is a trophy that, growing up as a youngster, I used to love watching and I was fortunate enough to see Everton lift the FA Cup in 1995 when I was nine years old.a

a It is something which I would love to do and hopefully it can be this year.”

Missing: Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao

LvG has pitched Rooney and di Maria into fighting for the same position

What Ails Angel Di Maria?

Missing from the thick of the action are two of the biggest names in the Manchester United roster-Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao. While Angel Di Maria has shown a glimpse of his actual potential, Radamel Falcao has been curiously out of form ever since he made his debut for Manchester United. Dropped despite the absence of Robin Van Persie, the FA Cup tie against Arsenal is the Colombiana s best chance at winning Van Gaala s approval at Old Trafford. With the season coming to an exciting finish, Falcao knows that he is on borrowed time and will be shown the door if he fails to earn back the reputation that he was notorious for earlier.

Much has been said about Angel Di Maria and while the Argentine has definitely shown during his stay at Old Trafford, his contribution has been far from satisfactory. Substituted for Adnan Janujaz, Di Maria will be eager to consolidate his position in the team and justify his hefty price tag. So is this the moment that the duo had been saving themselves for all season? Van Gaal and thousands of other fans at Old Trafford would surely like to hope so.