In the aftermath of Manchester United's defeat at Old Trafford to Arsenal in last night's FA Cup quarter-final, their old driving force from central midfield, Roy Keane has urged that current manager Louis van Gaal be given time to turn things around at his old club and to make them into the force they once were. The 2-1 reversal to their Premier League rivals for one of the four Champions League places up for grabs, has more than likely condemned the Red Devils to another season without silverware, something that was unheard of during Sir Alex Ferguson's time at the helm.

Ferguson's 26 years in charge yielded an amazing 38 trophies, a record that was never likely to be easy to follow, whoever took over the reins.

With previous incumbent David Moyes and now Dutchman van Gaal seemingly both unable to satisfactorily re-invigorate the club's fortunes in a manner that the fans would wish, there may be some who would question whether the United board have indeed got the right man at the helm. While speaking in his role as BBC Match of the Day pundit and analyser last night after the completion of the last-eight tie, former Republic of Ireland international Keane agreed that it would be a "disaster" for a club of United's size and expectations to not make the top four this campaign.

However, rather than join those potentially looking elsewhere, Keane suggested that it would probably need two or three years for van Gaal to build the squad back up to the required standard.

The Irishman warned that "van Gaal is going to get criticised, you'd expect that" but qualified his remark by urging supporters and pundits alike to "give the man a chance - two or three years."

Ironically, the man who proved to be the difference in last night's tense encounter was a striker that van Gaal had let go when he came in to United, suggesting at the time that Danny Welbeck was not up to the requisite standard at the club.

The Dutchman at the time had stated that Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and the incoming Radamel Falcao were where he saw the future striking options coming from. Welbeck certainly made his point with the winner for his new club, flicking the ball past David de Gea and then coolly sliding the ball into the empty net.

Interestingly, fellow BBC pundit Martin Keown had obviously been reading the tea leaves, as he forecast that Welbeck would be the match winner for Arsenal at half-time, not long before he came up trumps for the Gunners.

Besides basking in his old club Arsenal's success, Keown can also look forward proudly to his son perhaps following in Keane's footstep, as Niall Keown has been called up by the Republic of Ireland under 21s.

After the high profile tie had finished, the draw for the semi-finals at Wembley opened up the interesting possibility of a repeat of the 2001 final between Arsenal and Liverpool, which the Merseysiders dramatically snatched 2-1 late on thanks to two Michael Owen goals. Making his first FA Cup final appearance on that day was Steven Gerrard, who still has the possibility of reaching another Cup final on his 35th birthday this year. Standing between the American-bound Kop legend and that date with destiny is a replay against Blackburn Rovers, with Aston Villa awaiting the winners in the semis. Arsenal would need to defeat either Bradford City or Reading in the other semi-final, after that 'pairing' was made in the draw.