Ex-Arsenal star Paul Merson has labelled his former club’s FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United a ‘winner takes all match’, revealing his belief that the losing manager will be out of a job come the end of the season.
According to reports on CaughtOffside, Merson has hyped up the pressure on both Arsene Wenger and Louis van Gaal, revelling in the importance of both managers winning a trophy this season, despite the fact that only one of them could realistically still do so.
He said: “Whichever manager loses out when Manchester United and Arsenal clash in their FA Cup quarter-final will be under severe pressure. Whoever goes out of the cup will just be playing for the top four – and neither team is guaranteed to finish in there this season.
“You can’t tell me that either of those managers will still be in a job next season if they go out of the cup and don’t finish in the top four. Van Gaal has spent a fortune and has to qualify for the Champions League. Winning the FA Cup might save him. Not doing either? It’s goodbye.
“You see this every year with Arsenal. They were out of the title race ages ago, but they will probably win their last eight or nine games and come third. Then everybody will say next year’s the year, the players are more experienced – and it will be the same story all over again.
“Nothing really changes. It’s a hard one to call, this game. United have not been playing great for a while, but you know what they are like in big games – they can turn it on. I do think they will get a hiding sometime soon, though.”