Fri, Oct 29, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Arsenal cruise into last eight of Cup


Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner, front, challenges for the ball during their League Cup match against Newcastle United on Wednesday at St James’ Park in Newcastle, England.


England winger Theo Walcott scored twice as Arsenal cruised into the quarter-finals of the League Cup on Wednesday with a 4-0 rout of Newcastle at St James’ Park.

Walcott’s brace, an own goal from Newcastle reserve ’keeper Tim Krul and a Nicklas Bendtner strike settled the tie for Arsene Wenger’s men.

Wenger was left purring over the Walcott’s contribution.

“Walcott is more composed in front of goal this season. His first touch is better. He is an intelligent boy and because of that he will always improve,” Wenger told Sky Sports 2.

Both Arsenal and Newcastle made nine changes from the teams which scored away victories in the Premier League at the weekend.

Yet Wenger was still able to field a starting XI featuring no fewer than seven internationals.

Arsenal’s hunger was apparent from the outset, the visitors sweeping forward relentlessly in search of an early goal, with Walcott, Bendtner and Carlos Vela all threatening.

However, Newcastle also could have taken the lead in the opening period, Nile Ranger missing a gilt-edged chance before Alan Smith saw a shot tipped onto the bar by Arsenal ’keeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Arsenal went 1-0 up with a farcical own goal on the stroke of halftime, Krul inadvertently heading a clearance from Ryan Taylor into his own net.

Eight minutes into the second half Walcott burst clear to double Arsenal’s lead with a goal that drew protests from Newcastle, who complained that defender Mike Williamson had been fouled by Bendtner.

The goal knocked the stuffing out of Newcastle and Arsenal gradually took control, Walcott and Bendtner scoring in the final 10 minutes to give the scoreline a lopsided look.

At Upton Park, West Ham came from behind to defeat Stoke 3-1 in extra time.

Kenwyne Jones looked to have headed Stoke into the last eight after only six minutes, giving his team a 1-0 lead.

However, Hammers skipper Scott Parker forced extra-time with an 84th-minute equalizer before Manuel da Costa put the home side ahead on 96 minutes. Substitute Victor Obinna completed the scoring two minutes from time.

There was more extra-time drama at Villa Park, where Aston Villa overcame spirited resistance from Championship side Burnley to win 2-1.

Emile Heskey looked to have settled the contest when he put Villa 1-0 up in the 86th minute only for Clarke Carlisle to level three minutes later.

Yet winger Stewart Downing rifled in a 20m effort to restore Villa’s lead on 96 minutes.

Villa were forced to endure a nervous finale after Marc Albrighton was sent off but Gerard Houllier’s men hung on for victory.

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