Arsenal defender Kolo Toure expects the Gunners to still be at the top of the Premier League when he returns from the African Cup of Nations.
The Ivory Coast international plus two team-mates - Emmanuel Eboue and Alexandre Song - will leave to play in the tournament in Ghana after Saturday's FA Cup third round trip to Burnley.
But Toure doesn't believe results will suffer as he claims there is plenty of strength in depth available to manager Arsene Wenger.
"This is an important part of the season for Arsenal and a lot can happen in that time," he told the Daily Express.
"But the team is still on top because the squad is really strong and we know all the players will fight and will wait for us to come back.
"And yes, of course when we do come back I still expect them still be up there at the top and still challenging.
"So the players who come in for me, for Emmanuel, will do their best.
"They will do a really good job. I am confident about that, definitely."