Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger fears the African Nations Cup will hurt his players.

Wenger admits the pressure of playing in the tournament could have a negative effect on Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh when they return to Arsenal.

"It is the equivalent of a player here going to the European Championship. They are under immense pressure," he told arsenal.com.

"It is a different climate [over there]. Usually we have snow in February here, so they come from a big temperature difference. Most of the time, they are dead [afterwards]."

Wenger says he expects Ivory Coast to triumph in the tournament, which runs from January 21 until February 12.

"Ivory Coast are hot favourites; they have an incredible team. They have a midfield of [Cheik] Tiote, [Yaya] Toure, Gervinho," he said.

"Nobody else has qualified. Cameroon is not there, Nigeria is not there - they are under massive pressure."