Ronaldo: Gunners still a force

Cristiano Ronaldo has brushed off suggestions that injury-hit Arsenal's title aspirations will take a dive if Manchester United come out top on their trip to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

In the build up to this weekend's clash most of the focus has been on injury-hit Arsenal, who played out a disappointing goalless draw at home to Fenerbahce in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

In the race for the English Premier League title the Gunners have recently misfired, their weekend defeat at Stoke seeing them drop to the bottom of the 'top four', even though they have played a game more than the other three. Also, while United, Chelsea and Liverpool have played each other this season, Arsenal have yet to face any of their major rivals.

It has been suggested if they fail to win on Saturday their title hopes will be over in early November, but Ronaldo is not buying into that argument. The Portugal winger is expecting the normal gruelling examination no matter how many injuries Wenger has to cope with.

And as United have dropped points against Newcastle and Everton this term, he feels Sir Alex Ferguson's side have much to prove as they go for a title hat-trick.

"We want to win the title so we have to get three points there," Ronaldo said. "I don't know if it is tough for them at the moment but they will still have 11 players, the same as us, and I know it will be difficult because it always is. But we have a great spirit and we are a great team, so our aim is to pick up three points."

While United had an excellent record at Highbury, they have so far managed just one point from two visits to the Emirates, conceding late goals on both occasions.

"It is a new stadium and maybe it is because of that our record at the Emirates is not as good as it was at Highbury," Ronaldo added. "But do not forget also Arsenal have great talent. We respect them and it is going to be difficult to win there."

Ronaldo insists Arsenal's championship hopes are not on the line on Saturday and sees no reason why their form cannot improve in the second half of the season in the same way it tailed off so badly last spring.

"Last season Arsenal started very well and dropped points at the end of the season," he said. "Maybe this season is going to be different. Maybe they will lose points at the start and then win them in the last bit of the season. But we can't worry about that. We have to think about ourselves."