But Hill-Wood has moved to assure Arsenal fans that if the club has to settle with a Uefa Cup place there would be no financial meltdown and nor would they struggle to continue paying off the mortgage on their £360 million stadium.
"Although missing out on the Champions League for one year would be a big disappointment, it would not mean financial Armageddon for Arsenal," he is quoted as saying in the Mirror
"There is not denying that it would be a real financial drain on the club if we didn't qualify. [But] when we worked out the budget, and did our fund-raising calculations in respect of the new stadium, we did not assume we were going to be in the Champions League every season.
"So although it would certainly hurt us in the pocket to finish outside the top four, it would not be a huge shock to the club's finances."
Admitting that catching United would be a tough job, Hill-Wood insisted the club had in no way resigned themselves to fifth spot. He also said he was backing Wenger all the way in his attempts to sign Andrei Arshavin as a result of an injury plagued season which has seen them without Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Eduardo and Tomas Rosicky.
"It is going to be hard to catch United now. For us to overturn an eight-point deficit means they will have to slip up on several occasions, and right now they don't look like slipping up at all," he continued.
"But we are still serious contenders for a top-four finish.
"Although our squad is not as big as Manchester United's, I accept we have lost a lot of key players this season - we have always trusted Arsene's judgement.
"I am sure every club has its hard-luck stories, but it is seriously difficult to replace overnight world-class players like Fabregas, Walcott, Rosicky and Eduardo. Without them, we have looked a bit limited some of the time, and of course that has impacted on our Premier League results to an extent."