Arsenal 5 – Leyton Orient 0
Arsenal made 10 changes to the team that lost the Carling Cup final with Rosicky the only player to stay in the team. Almunia was back in goal, Eboue and Gibbs on the right and left, with Squillaci and young Spaniard Ignasi Miquel the central partnership. Denilson, Diaby and Rosicky. With Chamakh up front with Bendtner and young Conor Henderson on the wings. Chamakh opened the scoring for Arsenal after Rosicky pulled the ball back for Chamakh to side foot home. It wasnt the smoothest shot, but it was effective enough. Orient had a chance to get a goal from a corner but Ben Chorley’s shot hit his own player and was deflected wide. Orient had another chance not too long after when Alex Revel shot, but unfortunately couldn’t control his side footed effort goalwards and went wide. But the chance was there. Arsenal didn’t panic that Orient had their chances and continued to play their passing football, and soon a goal came. Gibbs put in a chipped cross and Bendtner rose above Daniels and directed the header towards goal and the keeper couldn’t reach it. Leyton Orient were soon 3-0 down as they dithered on the ball and tried to pass it out of defense when Bendtner picked up the ball and did brilliantly to score, He made the space and then let a nice low curling shot that didn’t give the keeper a chance to save. With that goal he showed what he can do, just maybe doesn’t do it enough. Arsenal continued their attack on Orient in the second half, and Diaby came close to scoring as he dribbled his way through Leyton Orients defense and shot, but pulled it wide. Arsenal did make it 4 and it came through a penalty. Kieran Gibbs dribbled down the left and into the box and did well to keep the ball and but was brough down. Bendtner stepped up to take the penalty and claim his hat trick and did. Nasri came on for the injured Rosicky before the penalty was taken. Wilshire came on for Nicklas Bendtner and Clichy came on for Diaby and it wasnt long before Arsenal scored the 5th and Clichy was the goalscorer. From the strike you wouldn’t think it was his second ever goal for Arsenal as it was struck with power and confidence. It was driven in low and hard, a great goal. Orient almost got a goal, but Cox couldn’t make the shot count, as it was straight at Almunia who saved it. Nasri had a try for goal late on, but couldn’t keep it down as he was always leaning back when he took the shot. Orient did brilliantly to earn a replay, and deserved their trip to Las Vegas, but tonight just couldn’t compete.
Manchester City 3 – Aston Villa 0
Things couldn’t have started better for Roberto Mancini’s team as after 5 minutes there were one up with Yaya Toure finding the back of the net. The powerful midfielder was in the right place at the right time as when the ball dropped to him in the six yard box, he turned and lashed it home. It hit Bannan on the hand and fell opportunely to Yaya Toure, who took full advantage. Aston Villa didn’t give up on the tie because of that early goal and came close with Agbonlahor who’s curling shot went wide. But when the second City goal went in, it seemed that the tie was past them. Mario Balotelli scored the goal with a great strike. He timed his run to perfection and arced his run, left the ball drop over his shoulder and on the half volley side footed it up and over the keeper and in off the the top of the post. A beautiful goal. Villa had a chance to score but Emile Heskey’s shot was saved by Joe Hart and pushed it out and it was cleared for a corner, but nothing was able to become of it. in the second half Balotelli received a yellow card for his challenge on Herd. He saw where the player was but still managed to land his arm in Herd’s face, and when the player went down holding his nose, Balotelli looked down at him with a grin on his face. Villa threatened City’s goal, but not enough to force Hart into action, unlike David Silva who forced Friedel into action, but unfortunately for Friedel he was unable to save Silva’s shot. He controlled it and then rocketed a low shot to the right hand side. In the end City were deserving winners of the tie. It doesn’t seem from the team selection that Houllier saw this tie as a much win. As he rested many first-teamers. City have a bigger better squad to be able to do that, and that was evident tonight.