David de Gea
David de Gea and Chris Smalling face a race against time to be fit for the clash against ArsenalGetty

Manchester United face a crunch tie against Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday (28 February) and Louis van Gaal will be sweating over the fitness of a number of his stars, but mainly his key performers of the season Chris Smalling and David de Gea. The duo were ruled out of the clash against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League on Thursday with a shoulder and knee injury respectively and could miss the visit of the Gunners as well, as the game is just 72 hours later.

According to the London Evening Standard, the duo are unlikely to be fit for the crucial game as the Red Devils look to make up ground on the clubs in the top four of the Premier League. They are currently in the fifth place, six points behind Manchester City, who occupy the final Champions League qualification place. The Dutch manager has made it clear that United are in contention in the FA Cup, the Europa League and for a place in the top four of the Premier League.

Smalling has been the only constant in an ever changing United defence this season, and has played 25 out of the 26 games in the Premier League thus far this campaign. The England international's absence will be a big miss against the north London side, who will be looking to get over their disappointing midweek loss against Barcelona in the Champions League. The 20-time English champions are facing a major injury crisis in the defensive department with Michael Carrick being deployed at the heart of the back four during their 5-1 win over Midtjylland, which saw them progress to the last 16 of the Europa League.

De Gea, on the other hand, was expected to return for their clash against the Danish side, but the manager confirmed that he will not be involved after failing to recover from a knee injury he suffered during the warm-up ahead of the first leg at the MCH Arena. Sergio Romero has shown fine form after a sudden call up to the starting XI and has conceded just two goals in his last three matches.

Marcos Rojo has handed the manager a slight reprieve on the injury front by making a comeback against the Danish side, and could be in line for a start against Arsenal on Sunday. The Red Devils, however, will certainly be without Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteger, Ashley Young and Phil Jones as they are sidelined for a longer period.