Carling Cup Wednesday Review

Fran Merida netted his first Arsenal goal as Arsene Wenger’s youngsters beat Liverpool 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup.

The 19-year-old former Barcelona trainee drilled in a fine first-half strike as Wenger’s faith in youth was once again justified.

Nicklas Bendtner, only 21 but now a regular in the side, produced a powerful finish after 50 minutes to put Arsenal into the last eight after Emiliano Insua had equalised.

Wenger had shaken things up in the team selection for his 750th game at the helm, naming an entirely different starting XI from the one which let a 2-0 lead slip at West Ham on Sunday.

There was, though, a more experienced look to the team, with veteran Mickael Silvestre captaining the side, while French midfielder Samir Nasri made his first appearance of the season after recovering from a fractured leg with Croatia striker Eduardo also in the team.

Only Dirk Kuyt, the Reds captain tonight, remained from the Liverpool side which had defeated Manchester United – although there was a welcome sight for the visitors’ fans when £20million man Alberto Aquilani came off the bench in the closing stages.

Chelsea cruised into the last eight with an easy 4-0 victory over Bolton at Stamford Bridge.

First-half goals from Salomon Kalou and Florent Malouda put the home side in command before Deco and substitute Didier Drogba finished off Gary Megson’s side after the break.

Bolton wasted a couple of chances to reduce the arrears but Chelsea were always in control despite the loss of goalkeeper Hilario through injury in the first half.

Manchester City’s wealth has bought great quality and it was more than enough to outclass Scunthorpe at Eastlands as the hosts won 5-1.

Stephen Ireland staked his claim for a regular place in Mark Hughes’ side with a glittering performance and City’s early goal.

Scunthorpe hit back with a Jonathan Forte equaliser and never gave up. But once Roque Santa Cruz headed his first goal for City to restore their lead before the break, there was only one winner.

The second period saw Carlos Tevez outstanding. He scored one and tormented Scunthorpe relentlessly.

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