Arsene Wenger has told Arsenal shareholders that his team were prepared to fight to get back into the Premier League title race following a poor start to the season.
The Gunners travel to Stamford Bridge at Saturday lunchtime to face Chelsea on the back of four consecutive victories, but it has still only taken them to seventh in the table.
Chairman Peter Hill-Wood was criticised and asked to stand down at the club’s Annual General Meeting this week but was given the support of majority stakeholder Stan Kroenke.
Wenger also spoke at the meeting and asked for the club to be “united” following their poor start to the season.
“Where we will finish at the end of the season? Frankly, I don’t know,” the Frenchman said.
“I know just one thing – that these players we have at the moment are ready for a fight, because I see them every day and they are ready to have a go.
“Not many people at the moment are behind us, but I believe we can be a positive surprise.”
In contrast to Chelsea’s investment under owner Roman Abramovich, Arsenal have been conservative in the transfer market.
Wenger defended Arsenal’s spending policy and his message was: “Trust us, this team has qualities.”
“I hope as well that in many years, people will look at this period and think that we have put the club on the right track and defended the right values and think that together we were not too stupid,” he said.
“I can see a lot of fear and discontent among you and I can understand that because we live in a world where we fight with people who have extremely high resources.
“The way we can compete is to try to be intelligent but as well to be united because it is very difficult to be consistent in football.
“It is difficult enough if you are united. If you are not united, you have no chance.”
Wenger’s team will be facing a Chelsea team looking to get back to winning way in the league following their defeat at QPR last weekend.
They reached the League Cup quarter-finals with victory at Everton, which also allowed Jose Bosingwa and Ashley Cole to serve suspensions.
Didier Drogba, however, is still banned but Fernando Torres has completed his three-match ban after getting sent off in the win over Swansea.
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is in confident mood after the cup win at Goodison Park helped erase the memory of their defeat at Loftus Road.
“It was important,” he said on official website Chelseafc.com.
“To be fair after a defeat that happens like that, although we have nothing to say about the effort we put on against QPR it was important to go back to winning ways and to do it in this fashion is more gratifying.
“Although the physical effort is immense the emotional benefit you gain from this is tremendous and it helps us to recover for Arsenal and to try to get back to winning ways in the Premier League.
“If you see our timesheet we have minutes spread out by everybody because we have immense talent available and we are able to distribute minutes through everybody. I think we are under a good logic and physically we won’t have problems.”
Florent Malouda, the France winger, is targeting victory against Wenger’s team, adding: “The league is our priority.
“You need to start well but also to finish well as well, and we are coming into a period where we play a lot of games and every point is important.
“We stay calm and have to play Arsenal this weekend. With a win we can expect great things for the rest of the season.”