By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger admits that the Africa Cup of Nations could be a problem for Arsenal.
The 2012 tournament is co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea and it runs from January 21 to February 12 - a period that could span six Arsenal fixtures.
Wenger will be without Ivory Coast star Gervinho and Morocco striker Marouane Chamakh while they are involved in the competition but Cameroon's surprise failure to qualify means Alex Song will not be on international duty in the New Year.
All the same, Wenger is worried about the impact the Nations Cup could have on Arsenal's campaign.
"It is a concern," he said. "You can lose the players two weeks before the competition starts and sometimes they come back really exhausted.
"The pitches have improved in Africa but sometimes the weather conditions are completely different. When they come back, they look really tired. I always give them extra time off when they come back.
"Chamakh is going for Morocco, Gervino is going, the only guy who stays who should have gone is Song. It’s difficult to understand that Cameroon doesn’t qualify but he doesn’t go."Copyright 2017 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