BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: Emile Heskey in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Birmingham at Villa Park on October 31, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Aston Villa's Emile Heskey Set For Three-To-Four Week Absence After Training Ground Knee Injury

Aston Villa's choice number nine is set to miss three-to-four weeks after knee surgery, giving Gerard Houllier chance to consider other, forgotten options.

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7500 To Holte: Emile Heskey's Injury Means It's Time For Nathan Delfouneso At Aston Villa

Kirsten Schlewitzz is more than a Soccer editor. Much more. For example, she also contributes to SBNation Seattle and, convenient for this story, SB Nation's Aston Villa blog, 7500 to Holte.

There, Kirsten says Emile Heskey's knee injury, set to keep Gerard Houllier's first choice out three-to-four weeks, should give time to Villa's future, not Villa's past.

With Gabriel Agbonlahor still not recovered from groin surgery, even though the Villa said it would be a week, and John Carew having forgotten how to play football, unable to do the simple things like pass, Aston Villa are, in proper terms, "screwed." Discounting Carew--and I do, because he's actively hurt the team--Villa have just one striker left at their disposal:Nathan Delfouneso.

For the complete post, check out Kirsten's thoughts at 7500 to Holte. Here, there's a little more ground to cover:

Carew has been a Villa mainstay since 2007-08, the year after he moved to Villa Park from Olympique Lyonnais. Since, he has scored double-digit league goals each season, though he's unlikely to reach such heights this season. In seven league appearances, Carew has failed to score and has lost his spot in Villa's XI to Heskey.

Still, Carew did score for Norway in Euro 2012 qualifying during the last international break. Clearly has hasn't lost all of his mojo (perhaps only 99 percent of it). We have to consider more than one possibility here.

Carew may have lost a step, but this may also be able Villa's managerial situation. With Villa on their third manager since the start of preseason training, it's possible Carew's become unsettled. It's also possible the new man in charge has no idea how to use a still viable option, or he has instilled an approach that plays away from Carew's strengths.

It's also possible Nathan Delfouneso has become a better player.


Aston Villa's Emile Heskey Set For Three-To-Four Absence After Training Ground Knee Injury

An injury in training is set to keep Emile Heskey out of Aston Villa's lineup for up to four weeks, the club announced today. Gerard Houllier's first choice striker will require surgery for a medial meniscus injury incurred Wednesday. Heskey's absence leaves Houllier with only John Carew and Nathan Delfouneso for Saturday's trip to Fulham.

Heskey had experienced a minor resurgence under Houllier, who was appointed Villa manager in early September. Recently, Heskey has been the preferred choice at striker, usurping Carew, who had been former manager Martin O'Neill's choice number nine. Heskey has started each league match since Houllier took over. Under O'Neill, Heskey started only 54 percent of Villa's league matches since moving from Wigan in the winter of `08.

The former England international's string of starts began with a game winning goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers. In Villa's next match, a strong effort from Heskey set-up an opening, Mark Albrighton goal at White Hart Lane. That goal was the last Villa has scored in league, amassing a 254 minute goalless streak ahead of Saturday's trip to Craven Cottage.

Despite Heskey's strong individual play, Villa's goal rate in matches he's started (0.75) is down slightly from their preceding six matches (1.00) as well as their 2008-09 rate (1.37). While samples of four and six matches are hardly meaningful bases for conclusion, Villa's scoring drought sparks what seems the perpetual debate surrounding Heskey. His work rate is appealing, and his ability to win balls and bring teammates into play is attractive to a coach that has an Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor or (for England) Wayne Rooney. Whether those skills make up for Heskey's lack of goal scoring (six goals in 61 appearances for Villa) at the most important goal scoring position brings his the relative value of his contributions into doubt.

For the next four weeks, Gerard Houllier will get a different context to assess Heskey's contributions. The striker is set to miss matches against Fulham (Saturday), Blackpool (November 10), Manchester United (November 13), and possibly Blackburn (November 21).

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