Wenger: Ninety-nine per cent of Arsenal fans are fantastic

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Ahead of the FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley, the Gunners manager has rejected any idea he's motivated by a drive to silence critics

Arsene Wenger has insisted 99 per cent of Arsenal fans are “fantastic people” and says he’s hoping to win the FA Cup final for them, not to silence his critics.

Wenger will become the most successful manager in FA Cup history with his seventh win should the Gunners defeat Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday.

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Earlier, quotes had emerged in which the Emirates Stadium head coach said his treatment from critics this season has been a disgrace.

But, when asked if he would silence those people with a victory, Wenger told BBC Sport: “No, I believe that 99% of Arsenal fans are fantastic people who stand behind the team. You want to play for them.

“In my position you’ve worked hard to get here, you want to just win the competition for the club, for the team. Indirectly, I’ll be happy if we do.

Arsenal’s defensive crisis is reflected in a makeshift back three that haven’t played together once this season and Wenger admitted he’s faced tough choices on who to start versus Chelsea.

“We lost three centre-backs in one week," the Frenchman added. “Last night we lost Kieran Gibbs who had to go home sick during the night.

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“The decision was very difficult because there weren’t any defenders left.”

A victory in the FA Cup would be a happy end to a tumultuous season for Arsenal, who missed out on Champions League qualification for 2017-18.

The pressure from so-called #WengerOut campaigners has intensified as the campaign wore on, although he’s expected to sign a new deal this summer to extend his time at the club for another two years.