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Arsenal’s defensive problems have intensified with the news that defender Lauren has been ruled out of action for the rest of the season because of a knee injury.

But the 28-year-old Cameroon full-back underwent surgery on Thursday, and although he was expected to be in action again within a month, the injury was more severe than anticipated and Lauren will now miss the remainder of the campaign.

Lauren joins fellow defenders Pascal Cygan, Ashley Cole, Gael Clichy and Kerrea Gilbert on the injury list. Sol Campbell is also out, having been given time off by Wenger.

Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue are away at the African Cup of Nations, leaving Wenger facing a major headache.

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