There were no shock defeats in the Carling Cup fourth round as the Premier League teams held their form to continue to the last eight.
Manchester City sustained a sublime run that has seen them lose only one game in all competitions so far by winning 5-1 against Championship relegation-battlers Scunthorpe, who left themselves exposed with their free style of play. This competition could offer Mark Hughes some silverware and he showed his understanding of this by fielding a strong side and a fresh face – Roque Santa Cruz, who grabbed his first goal for the club. The city of Manchester must be rejoicing as both of its teams waltzed into the last eight. Manchester United also faced Championship opposition and fielded a young side against Barnsley. 2-0 was the final score and Owen contrived a fantastic individual goal to stake his claim to Fabio Capello.
The game of the round was undoubtedly Liverpool vs. Arsenal. Both teams played quality football and scored goals of great style and class, the best of which coming from Emiliano Insua to pull the score back to1-1 after Fran Merida’s impressive opener. However, Arsenal’s youngsters are always excellent in this cup and proved too strong for a Liverpool side that battled until the end, with Nicklas Bendtner grabbing the winner.
The Carling Cup is now hotting up as Chelsea also booked their quarter-final seat in style. A 4-0 victory against Bolton puts them as one of the favourites for the cup, and other teams will be sweating during the next draw. This game also saw the return of Joe Cole who had a good game with two assists to his name, and on this form Capello must be considering him for his World Cup squad. In the other action of the day, a swine flu-hit Blackburn battled against a tough Peterborough side that can feel aggrieved at the result as Rovers triumphed 5-2.
Aston Villa had to limp over the line to the last eight by beating Sunderland on penalties in what was a tense and nervy encounter that went right to the wire. Brad Guzan saved four out of five penalties and excelled throughout the match. The American has given a case for selection in O’Neill’s next Premier League game with his Carling Cup performance. In another all Premier League tie, Everton collapsed at Tottenham losing 2-0. David Moyes can feel aggrieved that his injury-prone side were forced to play three games in six days, however he certainly cannot argue with the result. Tottenham outplayed their opponents and their quick breaks were too much for Everton.
Finally, Portsmouth grabbed an unlikely victory against Stoke, winning 4-0. Paul Hart must be wondering why his side can’t score in the league in what was a rampant display against a weary Potters side. A draw and a victory in Portsmouth’s last two games could be something to build upon, and it will be interesting to see how they do in their next league fixture.
Tuesday October 27, 2009
Barnsley 0-2 Manchester United
Blackburn 5-2 Peterborough
Portsmouth 4-0 Stoke
Sunderland 0-0 Aston Villa (0-0 AET, 1-3 on penalties)
Tottenham 2-0 Everton
Wednesday October 28, 2009
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
Chelsea 4-0 Bolton
Manchester City 5-1 Scunthorpe