Board retains total faith in Wenger, insists chairman

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The Independent Football

Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood maintains it is "ridiculous" to suggest the board would "lose faith" in Arsène Wenger following a difficult spell at Emirates Stadium.

While the Gunners remain on course in Europe following the 1-0 win over Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday, their domestic challenge has stuttered. Despite the recent win over Manchester United, the squad has endured a turbulent both spell on and off the pitch, with former captain William Gallas stripped of the armband following public criticism of his team-mates and the side suffering back-to-back league defeats. Arsenal head to leaders Chelsea on Sunday some 10 points off the pace after five losses this season – another this weekend would leave their title hopes all but over and facing a real fight to get back into the top four.

However, Hill-Wood insists any talk of Wenger not having the total support of the boardroom is wide of the mark, with funds available to strengthen the playing staff when the transfer window opens again in January should he want to spend.

"Of course he has my backing. What he has done for the club over the last 12 years has been fantastic," Hill-Wood said on Arsenal TV. "We are only a third of the way through the season and we have had a few disappointing results – but you do not lose faith in a man like him after three or four bad results. It is a ridiculous suggestion really."

New captain Cesc Fabregas feels there is plenty of football left in Arsenal between now and May. He said: "The aim is to lift a trophy. We're in the last 16 of the Champions League and are in contention in every competition. We have played only 14 league games and it is not over yet. Nothing is done and we will fight until the end. Our target is to go there [Chelsea] and win, because we could get some points back. Other teams at the top have some difficult games as well."

Fabregas added: "We have to play as a team and when we play good and quick passing, we can play against anybody and win. Arsenal never go for a draw, we always go for a win."

New chief executive Ivan Gazidis maintains the "unique" structure of the club made them the only destination for which he would have left his role as Major League Soccer deputy commissioner. The 44-year-old South Africa-born Oxford graduate will take up his new post in January after a 14-year association with the American organisation he helped establish. During his time there, Gazidis oversaw all negotiations for players' central contracts and is expected to take over many of the duties previously handled by former vice-chairman David Dein.

Gazidis said the lure of Arsenal – the last of the Premier League big four to remain in British ownership – was too good a chance to turn down. "Arsenal are a unique club in the world, a very historic club which carries a rich tradition, and for me there was not another opportunity I'd look at which could possibly be as exciting as this one."

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