Arsenal boss Wenger: African Nations Cup absentees no excuse

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger will not use African Cup of Nations call-ups as an excuse for failure by his side.

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Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Eboue and Alex Song will all be absent for four weeks at the very least as they attend the Ghana-based tournament, but Wenger is adamant that his team must keep performing anyway.

The Gunners boss told Arsenal.com, "I won't use it as an excuse if we don't win the title because I've known who we will lose since the start of the season. If the players were injured, I wouldn't complain."

He contends that Chelsea have more cause for complaint: however, he added that the Blues can merely spend their way out of trouble.

"I believe it will be Chelsea who suffers the most though on the other hand they can buy more than anyone else to correct that.

"But losing [John Obi] Mikel, [Michael] Essien, [Didier] Drogba and [Soloman] Kalou, that's four main players. Nobody else loses that many. We are just behind Chelsea and Portsmouth."

With the Cup being a biennial competition, some clubs have shy away from signing Africans. Wenger admitted that this competition did weigh in his mind when it came to signing targets.

"It won't put me off but when you do buy them, you have to consider how many to go for," he mused.

"If you lose four or five games at that time you can't win the championship so you have to consider the balance. You can afford to lose two maybe but not five. It's certainly a problem you have to consider."

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