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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
By ESPN Staff

Aston Villa get Christmas cheer with Emile Heskey news

Aston Villa are relieved at the news that striker Emile Heskey should be fit for at least part of their festive programme.

Heskey limped out of Saturday's 1-0 home success over Stoke with a groin problem. The England player went for a scan on Monday and there is no serious damage.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill said: "Emile went for a scan. It showed a bit of something but he feels much better himself. I think it is shaping up to be a short-term injury, which is good news for us and him. He may be available for one of the two Christmas games and that is decent news for us.''

Villa visit Arsenal on Sunday and then entertain Liverpool next Tuesday and O'Neill will be relieved Heskey will be able to play at least some part.

The former Liverpool player was just starting to show his best form before the weekend setback and had netted three times in the previous six games.

O'Neill said: "Emile knows himself that he should be contributing more goals, but then he is an unselfish player who creates chances for other people. If you ask people like Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney with England, they will say how much they enjoy playing with him.''

O'Neill has no other fresh injury problems ahead of the trip to Emirates Stadium. Villa will be looking to complete a set of victories over the so-called big four, having already defeated Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United this season.


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