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Aston Villa-Cardiff City Preview

AP - Sports

Two goals in two minutes cost Aston Villa dearly last weekend, and manager Paul Lambert voiced his frustrations.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and relegation-threatened Cardiff City are dealing with defensive issues of their own.

Lambert and the Villans attempt to avoid a third straight defeat Tuesday, when they visit Cardiff for the first time in over 39 years.

Aston Villa (7-6-12) have been outscored 20-11 during a 2-2-7 stretch, and they've surrendered at least two goals in five straight matches.

That trend continued with Saturday's 2-0 home defeat to West Ham United, as defensive errors led to a brace by Kevin Nolan in a span of two minutes immediately after the interval.

Lambert was sure to express his anger at his side, which hadn't allowed any other shots on target by the Hammers.

"It was disappointing," Lambert told the team's official website. "The two goals were really disappointing. That's the thing. Especially right after half-time. They know my feelings. You can't defend that way."

Villa didn't have any troubles defending Cardiff (5-6-14) on Nov. 9, winning 2-0 at home. Keeping the Bluebirds off the score sheet again is possible since their 19 goals are only better than Crystal Palace's league-low 18.

Getting some production from Christian Benteke and Leandro Bacuna would also help.

Benteke leads the team with eight goals across all competitions, but he's failed to score in two games after getting one in each of the last three. The forward, though, assisted on Bacuna's latest tally in a 2-1 loss to Everton on Feb. 1.

Bacuna followed that up by failing to generate a shot Saturday, while all five of Benteke's were off target.

They could be in for some dramatic improvement in Villa's first visit to Cardiff since a 3-1 loss on Dec. 28, 1974, when the teams were in the second division.

The Bluebirds have allowed 22 goals while going 1-1-7 over their past nine league matches, and they're coming off a 3-0 derby defeat to Swansea City.

"We're bitterly disappointed," Solskjaer told the team's official website. "It hurts a lot for me, and it hurts a lot for the players, and of course our supporters. For the points lost also, it hurts."

Solskjaer is hoping Cardiff City can rebound in strong fashion, as their next three matches are at home. After facing Villa, the Bluebirds host Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup on Saturday before facing Hull City the following weekend.

"Every game is important and every win is important," Solskjaer said. "Thankfully, we've got two Premier League home games next on the schedule, along with the FA Cup fixture at home against Wigan. For those games I'm sure that we'll get a response."

He could also use goals, as Cardiff have been held to 10 over their past 11 games in all competitions.

Kenwyne Jones may be looking to make an impact again after he was limited to two shots by the Swans. That came a week after he scored the eventual winner in a 2-1 home victory over Norwich City, making his debut after being acquired in a transfer from Stoke City.

The forward has failed to score in four straight games versus Villa, while Craig Bellamy has three goals and one assist in his past five.

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