The five matches that could make or break Manchester United’s season

Old Trafford 2

Manchester United still have to face Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal (twice) this season.

Manchester United are fighting hard for a top-four finish this season but it is fair to say they have not hit the heights many expected when Louis van Gaal first took charge at Old Trafford.

Despite the likes of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Ander Herrera arriving at the club, United have struggled to impose themselves on games more often than their fans would like and they have plenty of work to do in what remains of the campaign.

Here we take a look at five matches that could make or break their season:

Arsenal at home (FA Cup quarter-final) – Monday March 9

As much as United will be looking to qualify for next season’s Champions League, they also have a very good chance of ending the campaign with some silverware.

Van Gaal would surely love to claim the FA Cup in his first year in England, but having overcome lower league opposition in the last three rounds United must now face the cup holders.

If United beat Arsenal it could be the confidence boost they need not only to go on to claim the trophy, but also maintain an extended winning-run in the league.

Liverpool away (Premier League) – Sunday March 22

If they are to do so, they have to overcome some very tough opposition, starting with this clash against Liverpool at the end of the month.

The Reds have enjoyed a brilliant start to 2015 in the league and they are pushing hard for a top-four finish of their own.

If United win at Anfield it will be a hammer blow for Brendan Rodgers’ side, but if Liverpool triumph they could leap-frog their fierce rivals in the table with games running out.

Manchester City at home (Premier League) – Sunday April 12

This is a huge encounter not only for bragging rights but because United will know they can still catch Manuel Pellegrini’s men.

The reigning champions have not enjoyed the best recent form and a win for United at Old Trafford will get the doubters back onside at a vital time.

Chelsea away (Premier League) – Saturday April 18

The title may be little more than a pipedream at this stage of the season but United will head to Stamford Bridge knowing they cannot afford to drop too many more points with so many other clubs in and around the top four.

Van Gaal will want to achieve what Sir Alex Ferguson often had trouble doing and win at the home of Chelsea. It would also lay down a marker for the campaigns yet to come.

Arsenal at home (Premier League) – Saturday May 16

The tough games come thick and fast for United and they welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford for the second time in two months, this time in the league.

Depending on how earlier matches have gone, this could be a straight fight for a place in the top four and van Gaal will be grateful it is a home tie. It will still be a mighty tough one though.

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