By North-west correspondent

David de Gea is in line to start for Manchester United against Arsenal in Sunday’s Premier League showdown, Football Insider sources understand.

The United goalkeeper took part in training on Saturday to put himself in contention for a return in the fixture at Old Trafford.

De Gea has missed the club’s last three matches with a knee injury sustained in the warm-up before their Europa League defeat to Midtjylland 10 days ago.

But the goalkeeper’s return to training means he is likely to replace Sergio Romero in the starting line-up for the crunch clash at Old Trafford against Arsene Wenger’s title challengers.

Romero has performed impressively while standing in for De Gea but the Spaniard has been United’s outstanding player this season, after winning the club’s Player of the Year award in the two previous campaigns, and will come back into the side if he is passed fit.

“I expect [David can return] because I saw the way he was today,” said Van Gaal during a briefing with the media after Thursday night’s 5-1 Europa League triumph over Midtjylland.

In other Manchester United team news, Chris Smalling is hopeful of playing against Arsenal after missing Thursday’s win with a shoulder injury.

“I was disappointed to miss the other night, but I’m hoping to be okay to play this game,” the defender told the United website.

Meanwhile, Anthony Martial is a major doubt with a hamstring injury sustained in the warm-up against Midtjylland on Thursday.