Louis van Gaal Doubts Arsenal's Consistency Ahead of Manchester United Match

Christopher SimpsonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2016

United’s manager Louis van Gaal waves during the Europa League round of 32 second leg soccer match between Manchester United and FC Midtjylland in Manchester, England, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 . (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has described Arsenal as "not always consistent" ahead of their clash with the Gunners at Old Trafford on Sunday.

That's according to Goal's Tom Beck, though the Dutchman also admitted Arsene Wenger's side are "on a different level" than the rest of the Premier League. 

United head into the game hoping to close the gap on Manchester City in the Champions League places, while Arsenal will look to do the same with Leicester City in the title race.

Van Gaal is somewhat correct in his assessment of the Gunners' ability to go on a consistent run of wins—their back-to-back Premier League victories over Bournemouth and Leicester City were preceded by four matches without a triumph. The Gunners then followed that up with a goalless draw against Championship side Hull City and a 2-0 defeat to Barcelona.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

However, United have hardly been a pillar of consistency themselves this season.

Though the Red Devils have shown the odd glimpse of their talent here and there—such as their recent 3-0 win over Stoke City—they've frequently been poor and unable to sustain their strong performances from one game to the next.

Indeed, United have failed to earn the same result in the Premier League in consecutive matches since they lost three successive games in December.

The Manchester outfit have won their last two contests heading into this clash—against Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup and FC Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League—but as football writer Liam Canning noted, this hardly constitutes a great run of form:

United legend Paul Scholes anticipates his former side could struggle against Arsenal's wealth of attacking options, per BT Sport Football:

Arsenal dispatched United 3-0 when the two sides last met in October, though the Red Devils will take some encouragement from the Gunners' barren spell of positive results at Old Trafford in the Premier League, per Sky Sports News HQ:

Three points are vital for both teams, as defeat for United—who slipped to sixth on Saturday in light of West Ham United's winwould keep them six points behind City in fourth, and their rivals will have a game in hand against relegation candidates Newcastle United.

Meanwhile, Arsenal need to keep pace with Leicester after they beat Norwich City 1-0 on Saturday, as well as Tottenham Hotspur, who play Swansea City at the same time on Sunday.