By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger will treat the loss of three players to the African Cup of Nations in the same way he would deal with an injury. He'll just get on with the job and focus on the players who are available for Arsenal.
Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue and Alex Song leave for Ghana on Monday and could miss as many as nine domestic games, depending on their countries' success in the tournament and their club's progress in the FA Cup.
Wenger is used to chopping and changing his team in response to injuries and suspension. As far as he is concerned, this will be no different.
"I consider them to be injured, so if they were injured, they would not play," said Wenger. "The day they get out of the competition, they are not injured any more and so you get them back."
The Frenchman expects a similar problem when the next African Cup of Nations comes around, but he hopes that the tournament dates will eventually be shifted to accommodate club football.
"I would love to see it played in June or July," said Wenger.
"[Staging it now] dates from a period where they had no floodlights and had to play during the day, therefore it was maybe too hot in some countries in June and July. That has changed now.
"They could put it now maybe on the same date as the European Championship."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 4 Jan 2008