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Ljungberg to miss start of season

Fredrik Ljungberg is to undergo surgery this weekend which could see him miss the start of Arsenal FC's UEFA Champions League campaign.

Midfield player Fredrik Ljungberg is to undergo surgery this weekend which could see him miss the start of Arsenal FC's UEFA Champions League campaign.

Exploratory operation
The Swedish international, who was arguably the FA Premiership's most impressive player in the final three months of last season, will have an exploratory operation to mend a small tear to the cartilage around his hip joint.

English champions
The recuperation time is expected to be two months, which could put his participation in Arsenal's opening Champions League game on 17/18 Spetember in doubt. The English champions were eliminated at the second group stage last season and will be determined to improve on that in 2002/03.

World Cup woe
Ljungberg's injury meant he missed Sweden's last two games at the FIFA World Cup against Senegal, who knocked them out in the second round, and Argentina, with whom they drew 1-1 in the final group game.

Firm favourite
The 25-year-old has become a firm favourite at Highbury and scored a run of superb goals at the end of the season to help Arsenal to the league and FA Cup double. Arsenal will start the defence of their title against newly-promoted Birmingham City FC on 18 August.