Wenger ready for fresh start
Arsene Wenger believes this weekend marks the real start of the season following the international break.
Last Updated: 17/10/08 4:34pm
Arsene Wenger believes this weekend marks the real start of the season with no more major international breaks until next spring.
Arsenal will resume their Premier League campaign against Everton on Saturday a fortnight after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Sunderland.
Most of Wenger's players have been away with their countries and the Frenchman has now confirmed who will be fit to face the Toffees.
Robin van Persie (muscular) and Cesc Fabregas (broken nose) will be able to feature but Johan Djourou (concussion) will not be risked and Wenger also admits he is likely to rest Theo Walcott following the England winger's long trip to Belarus.
"Djourou has a concussion in the first game," Wenger said on Sky Sports News. "We were a bit cautious when he came back but he is out, we do not want to take any chances.
"For the rest, we have of course (William) Gallas and (Nicklas) Bendtner not available, two players who got injured during the international break.
"I hoped (Bacary) Sagna would be capable to play but he is out as well.
"Fabregas and Van Persie will be available and Walcott has come back available.
"I might maybe rest him because he played on Wednesday night in Minsk."
Wenger has come to accept that players will pick up injuries on international duty but is looking forward to being able to keep his squad together until the next World Cup qualifiers in the spring.
He explained: "It is frustrating but I am not frustrated because you know before they go that statistically you lose a player.
"I am not frustrated because I know that is part of the game.
"But it is a new start and the real start of the season because there is no big interruption to the season."
Arsenal have already lost twice in the Premier League this season and are currently four points adrift of Chelsea, but Wenger is still confident of challenging for the title.
However, he accepts that his side cannot afford to suffer more defeats if they are to stay in touch with the leaders.
"If you ask me how many games you think we can lose, I would say zero because I always start a season thinking you cannot lose a game, but we have lost two already and we are in a position where we have given ourselves a handicap," he said.
"However, I still think it is manageable to get back to the top and I want to lead this team knowing that there is not a lot of margin of error left - but I still think we can do that."