The Belgian international was dropped in the Gunners' 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League in midweek.
Wenger told reporters: "In England, it is true the captain is of massive importance. But that shouldn't guarantee you a place in any game.
"When you don't think it is the right selection for tactical reasons, do you put the player in just because he is captain?
"That is disrespectful to the guy who doesn't play. For sporting reasons it is not completely justifiable. All the players are in the same position. Nobody is guaranteed places in the team. Everybody faces the same competition."
Arsenal face Swansea City in the Premier League later today.