Thierry Henry says Manchester United vs Arsenal is now a massive game for all the wrong reasons
Henry also thinks this will be Van Gaal's final season at Old Trafford
Arsenal travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United on Sunday in the Premier League and former Gunner Thierry Henry believes it is a massive one but for “all the wrong reasons”. Arsene Wenger’s side go into this game in third place – five points behind Leicester City – while Louis van Gaal’s squad are in sixth, two points behind West Ham.
In his column in The Sun, Henry said: “Arsenal face Manchester United today knowing there has never been a better time to go to Old Trafford. United are wounded, both physically and mentally, with so many players out injured.”
“Not so long ago, United versus Arsenal was the biggest game of the Premier League season, first against second in a virtual title decider. Today’s game is still massive but for all the wrong reasons.”
Arsenal face a tough fixture list after their trip to Old Trafford. they will be playing virtually every three days till the international break with key fixtures against Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby, an FA Cup replay against Hull City and the second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 in Barcelona where they trail 2-0.
“I watched their Champions League defeat by Barcelona the other night,” Henry wrote. “Yes, they did well to hold out for 71 minutes.
“But when they didn’t score that first goal, you knew it was going to be a difficult task. Arsenal are now facing a last-16 stage exit again.” The Gunners have not reached the quarter-final stage of the Champions League since the 2009/10 season.
United are also in the same boat with respect to a congested fixture list with two Europa League fixtures against Liverpool in consecutive weeks. But what is more worrying for Van Gaal is the long list of injured players.
Club captain Wayne Rooney is no closer to a return from a knee injury while a number of other absentees include the likes of Phil Jones, Luke Shaw, Marouane Fellaini, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Matteo Darmian.
I don’t see Van Gaal managing United next season: Henry
With increasing pressure on Van Gaal to get results and the numerous reports of Jose Mourinho having agreed to take over the hot seat at Old Trafford this summer, Henry does not think the Dutch boss will see out his contract. Van Gaal had signed a three-year contract when he took over in 2014.
“It is easy to forget the Red Devils were top when they went to Arsenal in October,” Henry said. “But they conceded three goals in the first 20 minutes at the Emirates and the alarm bells started to ring.
“Now Van Gaal is having to deal with constant speculation about his future and the possibility of Jose Mourinho taking his job.
“It’s an impossible situation for the manager and I can’t see a way that Van Gaal can survive beyond this summer.”