By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger was caught in two minds when Togo were knocked out of the African Cup of Nations last week.

The Frenchman was preparing to cope without Emmanuel Adebayor for up to six weeks in the New Year while the Arsenal striker represented his country at the Finals in Ghana. Togo's defeat against Mali in their final qualifying game scuppered Adebayor's hopes and left Wenger feeling both sympathy and relief.

"It's an exaggeration [to say I celebrated when Togo lost] but I didn't cry as well," said the Arsenal manager.

"You are a little bit caught in two, you know it will be a disappointment for the player but as well you don't cry because you know at least you have your main striker.

"But you never know, Adebayor may be injured during all of that period. But if you ask, of course the preference is that he stays at home."

Wenger will still be without Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue after the Ivory Coast booked their place in the Finals. As far as Arsenal's title rivals are concerned, some will be affected more than others.

"When you look at who is going to be out, Chelsea are going to lose four to five players but Manchester United aren't going to lose anyone," said Wenger.

The African Cup of Nations will take place from January 20 to February 10. Toure and Eboue could miss as many as 10 Arsenal fixtures, depending on how early they join up with their national squad, how far Ivory Coast advance in Ghana and how well the Gunners fare in domestic cup competitions.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
Chris Harris 19 Oct 2007