Arsene Wenger has admitted that the African Cup of Nations could prove to be a headache in January with both Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh set to play for their respective nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
The attacking duo could be called up at the start of the New Year for pre-tournament training camps and with the Final scheduled for February 12th it is possible, if either man is successful, that they won’t be back at Arsenal until the middle of that month.
While playing surfaces and fatigue are obvious worries, it is also hard to discount other off field distractions, especially following the horrific attack on the Togo team bus which resulted in casualties and a huge political storm.
Speaking yesterday Wenger spoke of his concerns: “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.”
Arsene has spoken repeatedly about having a squad large enough to cope without both men. However, you can’t help but think having only Ju Young Park as back-up to Robin van Persie is something of a risk. Whether the boss decides to draft in a short-term replacement just in case remains to be seen.
Arseblog News knows what you’re thinking…you’re thinking Thierry aren’t you…