Arsene Wenger says Arsenal are back in “contention” and have a “good chance” of winning the Premier League title this season.
The Gunners resume domestic action following the international break at Watford on Saturday, having beaten Manchester United 3-0 last time out to sit second in the table, just two points behind Manchester City.
Wenger, who this month marked 19 years in the job, used his address to the club’s annual general meeting at the Emirates Stadium to reiterate his belief the likes of Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez can help fire Arsenal towards a first championships success since the Invincibles of 2003-04.
”We are now equipped around the whole team to say we are really advanced in the way we work, prepare and develop players,” Wenger said.
”I know you want to ask me – will we win the championship this year? I think we are back in contention and we have a good chance.
”All of our numbers confirm that we have the potential to be in the fight.
”We had a bad start, but have still managed to come back to within two points of the leaders. We have created consistency, what we have to do now is be able to win the big games.
”We have potential to do more and will fight very hard.
”I know I have faced some adversities, but I am more motivated than ever, more committed than ever.
”I am resolute to commit until the last day of my contract here to bring back big success to this club and leave this club in the position it can do even better when I leave.”
His present contract runs to summer 2017.
Wenger sees no reason why the players cannot rise to the challenge of becoming champions this term.
He added: ”We have the ingredients, now we must produce it week in and week out, that is what is at stake until the end of the season.”
A range of issues were on the agenda at Thursday’s AGM, from ticket prices and the state of the club accounts to the beer served on match-days and even defending at corners.
Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick defended the second annual £3million payment to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke as advisory fees from his Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE) company.
Kroenke payment defended
”We should not be in a position where we expect these things to come for nothing – that would not be good governance. I would remind you that KSE is one of the most respected sports organisations in the United States,” said Keswick, who at one point had to shoot down questions being called out from the floor.
”This has contributed to our positive evolution in a number of areas.
”The best advice you can possibly get is the quick advice from people or organisations who know more about the problem than you do.
”If you’re humble enough to accept it you will go and get good advice, and that’s precisely what we do at Arsenal with KSE.
“I am responsible ultimately for the money management of the club and making sure it’s well spent and I am very determined that will continue to be the case.”
Wenger, meanwhile, hopes key man Alexis Sanchez will not be drained by his exploits for Chile during the international break.
He said: “We don’t know what kind of shape Alexis will be in because his own (Chile) coach said he played the last two games not completely fit. That means he could have damaged (his hip problem) more, and we will have to deal with it.”