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Cardiff City vs. Aston Villa, lineups and open match thread

Aston Villa travel to Wales for a huge mid-week clash with potential relegation rivals Cardiff City, needing three points to avoid sliding into the battle for safety.

Paul Thomas

Aston Villa head to Cardiff City stadium to take on...Cardiff City, which makes a lot of sense. It would be weird if they were going to Cardiff City Stadium to play, like, Shamrock Rovers or something. Calling games "must win" is typically a pretty annoying cliche, but a win for Villa would indeed be a very nice thing, because Villa could fall to as low as 17th in the table with a loss (or a draw, though that's significantly less plausible.

Paul Lambert has opted to go with an honest-to-god 4-4-2, and though that's not a formation that's on the cutting edge of tactical thought, it's probably a hell of a lot more watchable than a diamond 5-3-1 or whatever you want to call that narrow, midfield-clogging thing we've seen so often this season. Villa's clearly no great shakes, but Cardiff are just an awful team; this is really a game where anything less than three points is going to be incredibly annoying.

Cardiff City XI:

David Marshall; Kévin Théophile-Catherine, Steven Caulker, Ben Turner, Declan John; Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Mutch, Gary Medel, Craig Noone; Frazier Campbell, Kenwyne Jones

Cardiff subs:

Joe Lewis, Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Don Cowie, Cala, Mats Møller Dæhli, Jo Inge Berget, Fábio

Aston Villa XI:

Brad Guzan; Leandro Bacuna, Ron Vlaar, Nathan Baker, Joe Bennett; Marc Albrighton, Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph,  Ryan Bertrand; Christian Benteke, Gabby Agbonlahor

Aston Villa subs:

Jed Steer, Karim El Ahmadi, Yacouba Sylla, Nicklas Helenius, Grant Holt, Ciaran Clark, Andi Weimann