Carling CupArsenal produced the outstanding performance of the night, thrashing Championship side Sheffield United 6 – 0.

More impressive was that the average age of the Gunners side was a mere 19. Striker Carlos Vela was the star of the show as he scored a hat-trick.

Manager Arsene Wenger was full of praise for his side saying: “They remained focused and they looked a complete team.

“I am very proud of that. We looked strong in every individual position and that takes a lot of hard work.”

Meanwhile, the Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell was also suitably impressed.

“We knew they were a good set of lads at Arsenal, but nobody knew how good they were” he said.

“He has gone around the world to pick out the best – but there are also four or five top-class English kids in there so that can only bode well for the future of the national team.”

Two Premier League sides were beaten by lower league opposition, Fulham going down at Burnley and West Ham losing, via a Hayden Mullins own goal, at Watford. And Sunderland nearly went the same way, needing penalties to beat Northampton Town after their match ended up all square at 2 – 2.

A horror tackle by Emanuel Pogatetz on Rodrigo Possebon enraged Sir Alex Ferguson who saw his side progress with a 3 – 1 win at Old Trafford. Pogatetz was shown a straight red card for the challenge which left the Brazilian youngster with a suspected broken leg.

Lucas Leiva was the match winner for Liverpool as they beat Crewe 2 – 1 at Anfield, a deflected Jordi Gomez free kick gave Swansea a 1 – 0 win over Cardiff City in the first Welsh derby at this level for almost a decade and Leeds came from behind twice at home to Hartlepool to win 3 – 2 after extra time.

One other game went to spot kicks with Stoke edging out Reading 4 – 3 while it was more straight forward for League two side Rotherham who were too good for Southampton, winning 3 – 1.

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