Arshavin: United weak without Ronaldo

Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin has stoked the fires ahead of the Gunners' weekend trip to face Premier League champions-elect Manchester United, by claiming the Red Devils would be weak without Cristiano Ronaldo.

The diminutive Russian was sent home from training last week due to illness, forcing him to miss the club's humiliating 4-1 defeat to Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.

And he was also absent from Arsenal's 3-1 Champions League semi-final defeat to Sir Alex Ferguson's side through ineligibility, with Ronaldo netting twice, including a long-range free-kick after just 11 minutes to all-but ended the Gunners' slim hopes of reaching the Rome final (pictured).

The 27-year-old is now eager to return and help Arsene Wenger's side gain revenge for their European exit to United, and stall their league title celebrations in the process, with the Red Devils needing a draw to secure their 18th domestic crown.

"The Portuguese forward generally means a lot for them, take him away and United would be much weaker," he said.

"We'll only manage to win if we can find their weaknesses, which is not easy. On the surface only strong features are visible.

"A very good goalkeeper, probably the best defence in the world, and a perfect attacking line with Rooney, Berbatov and particularly Ronaldo."

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