Thursday, 1 November 2012

Capital One Cup: Quarter Finals

The fourth round of the Capital One Cup saw some of the best League Cup games in its existence. The eight games saw a total of 37 goals scored in some enthralling encounters.

The stand out game of the round saw Arsenal make a remarkable comeback away at Reading in front of the Sky cameras winning 7-5. It all looked rosy for the home side after 35 minutes, as Brian McDermott's men lead 4-0 through Jason Roberts, Noel Hunt, Mikele Leigertwood and a Laurent Koscielny own goal. Despite an awful first half display Arsenal went in at the break with one goal to their name and a slither of hope as Theo Walcott chipped home after through on goal.

The second half of the game started as the first half finished. Arsene Wenger brought on Olivier Giroud who made an immediate impact to head home a Walcott cross and to make the scoreline 4-2. As the half came to a close, it looked like Reading had withstood the Arsenal comeback but in the 89th minute Koscielny made amends for his own goal as he headed home another fine Walcott corner. It was the winger though that completed a remarkable game as his 95th minute shot crept over the line despite the efforts of Nicky Shorey to stop the strike.

The equaliser took the game to extra time, and the 30 minutes did not disappoint as the Gunners went ahead for the first time in the game as Marouane Chamakh drilled home from outside the box. Chamakh's goal had looked like it was to be the vital goal to take Arsenal through but Reading had other ideas. As extra time neared the end, Pavel Pogrebnyak popped up to head home their fifth from a Chris Gunter cross. The game looked set for penalties but it was Walcott again who blasted home from six yards after Andrey Arshavin's cross was blocked to complete his hat trick. Chamakh lobbed home in the dying moments to end a remarkable game and one that will be remembered for a long time.

The drama on Tuesday night continued on Wednesday as Chelsea faced Manchester United at Stamford Bridge for the second time in four days. Like Arsenal, this game was in front of the Sky cameras and didn't disappoint either as Chelsea won 5-4 after extra time. Goals from David Luiz, Daniel Sturridge, Eden Hazard, Ramires and Gary Cahill were enough to overcome a reletively inexperienced United side whose goals came from the boots of Giggs (2), Hernandez and Nani.

The cup wasn't completely dominated this week by the goal fests but with a shocks too as both Wigan and Sunderland were beaten by lower league opposition. Sunderland fell down to Championship side Middlesbrough 1-0 at the Stadium of Light as Scott McDonald's goal was enough for them to win the Wear-Tees derby. Wigan were embarrassed at home as League Two Bradford City beat them 4-2 on penalties to take them to the quarter finals. Both Liverpool and Spurs were eliminated from the competition as Brendan Rogers side were beaten by his former side Swansea 3-1. Spurs were beaten 2-1 away at Norwich with Spurs' Clint Dempsey missing a penalty in the dying moments of the game to end their involvement in the competition.

The quarter finals saw the 'bigger' teams avoid each other and will see Chelsea travel to Leeds who have already deposited of Everton and Southampton in the competition so far. Bradford's reward is a home tie to Arsenal while Middlesbrough face an away trip to Swansea. In the final tie of the quarter finals, Paul Lambert will face his former side as his Villa team will travel to Norwich City.

All games will be played the week commencing the 10th December whilst Chelsea's game at Leeds will be played on 19th December due to their commitment to the Club World Cup which they will play in after their Champions League success.

Quarter Final ties:

Bradford v Arsenal
Leeds United v Chelsea
Swansea v Middlesbrough
Norwich City v Aston Villa

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