Carling Cup 2011, Fourth Round: Manchester City, Blackburn, Chesea And Liverpool All Advance

There were no real surprises in the 4th Round of the Carling Cup, as Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool all advanced, along with Crystal Palace and Cardiff City.

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Carling Cup 2011, Round 4: Manchester City, Liverpool Advance

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-5 Manchester City

Well, at least Wolves can take heart from not losing 6-1. Or something like that. Manchester City completely changed their starting XI, playing Adam Johnson, Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko, Alexander Kolarov and Kolo Toure, among others. Wolves also made numerous changes to the side that drew against Swansea last Saturday, and they took the look after 18 minutes. Sam Vokes' cross was taken down by Nenad Milijas, who spun and fired home, giving Wolves a deserved lead after a period of increased pressure. City took a while to respond, but when they did, they did it in bunches, scoring 3 goals in 4 minutes. Adam Johnson hit a curling strike before playing a wonderful through ball for Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko scored from close after a Wolves mistake. City started the second half right where they ended the first, with Luca Scapuzzi's shot unluckily squirming off of keeper Dorus De Vries. Dzeko scored his second after a wonderful passing move to make it 5 before Wolves got a consolation goal when substitute Jamie O'Hara scoring with his first touch. 

Stoke City 1-2 Liverpool

Two Luis Suarez goals saw Liverpool come back against Stoke City at the Britannia. Kenwyne Jones gave the Potters the lead with a exquisite chip after a 30 yard defence splitting pass from Rory Delap. Actually, it was a close range header, and it counts all the same as the chip. Either way, Liverpool were a goal down heading into the second half. Luis Suarez, though, changed things, nutmegging one defender before hitting a glorious curling shot into the bottom right corner to level the scores. Suarez scored the winner 5 minutes from time after a close range header beat keeper Thomas Sorensen. Stoke put pressure on the Liverpool goal for the final 5 minutes, but, tired by their endeavours, and by 3 games in 6 days, they were unable to send the game into extra time, which might be better for them. 

Blackburn-Newcastle and Everton-Chelsea are both in extra time. 

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Carling Cup 2011, Round 4: Manchester United, Arsenal, Crystal Palace And Cardiff All Advance

Aldershot Town vs. Manchester United

United cruised to a comfortable win against Aldershot Town as Berbatov, Owen and Valencia gave them a comfortable 3-0 scoreline. It was always going to be a big ask for the League Two side, who, while not making any obvious mistakes, were simply outclassed by United. Berbatov looked in fine form, creating and finishing chances, before an Antonio Valencia screamer after half-time made the result secure. Most pleasing for United fans, however, will be focused on their youth - Tom Cleverley looked sharp on his return, withdrawn early with Everton in mind, whilst Fryers gave another assured performance. But most exciting was the introduction of Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba, who both gave assured, creative performances that suggest they may have more to offer this season than just outings in the Carling Cup.

Arsenal vs. Bolton

Both Arsene Wenger and Owen Coyle rang in the changes for this match, Arsenal with 11 changes and Bolton with nine. The first half was largely even, as both goal keepers put in excellent stops to keep the sides level. Andrei Arshavin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain proved to be a handful on the wings, especially given less than inspiring defending for the Bolton fullbacks, while at the other end Darren Pratley and Gael Kakuta put Fabianski to work. Bolton started the second half with a statement of intent from Fabrice Muamba who put the Trotters up in the 47th minute. Unfortunately for the visitors, they failed to follow that up and two defensive errors allowed Arsenal to first equalise then take the lead. Only six minutes later Andrei Arshavin made an unmarked run through the Bolton box and sent his shot through Zat Knight's legs to open the Arsenal scoring. three minutes after that Park Ju-Young took the lead with a screamer of a shot that arced past Bogdan. A feisty Bolton side failed to convert any of that spirit into another goal and the match ended, deservedly, 2-1 to the hosts.

Crystal Palace vs. Southampton

Crystal Palace left it late in a 2-0 win over Southampton at Selhurst Park, with goals by Darren Ambrose and Jermaine Easter in the 73rd and 82nd minute sealing the home side's place in the Carling Cup quarterfinals. Southampton are four points ahead of Palace in the league, and looked like the better team for the first half, but the game eventually turned fairly stale before a mistake by the visitors' defence gave Jonathan Williams the chance to cross to Ambrose, who tapped in. Nine minutes later, Dan Harding fouled Williams in the penalty box to give Easter the chance to step to the spot and wrap up the tie. He took it.

Cardiff vs. Burnley

A late first-half strike from Joe Mason saw Cardiff edge Burnley 1-0 to advance to the Carling Cup quarterfinals. The hosts were broadly on top throughout the match and also hit the woodwork through Mason before going ahead. Burnley didn't have the best of games, but woke up towards the end of the second half, putting pressure on the home defence but ultimately finding themselves unable to breach it.

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