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Page last updated at 21:39 GMT, Wednesday, 27 October 2010 22:39 UK

Carling Cup as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

2230: That's that from me for now, then, make sure you join me at the weekend for the Carling Cup draw and all the action from the Premier and Football Leagues. Before that, though, check out the League Cup Show at 2325 BST on BBC One. Beautiful scenes. Bye.

nealcol on Twitter: "Arsenal fans must have loved that. West Ham playing their first team, knackered for the weekend..."

2220: We have our list of Carling Cup quarter-finalists, then, with Arsenal, Aston Villa and West Ham joining Birmingham, Ipswich, Manchester United, West Brom and Wigan in the last eight. The draw for that round will take place on Saturday afternoon, with the ties due on the weeks commencing 29th November 2010 and 6th December, depending on European involvement.

2217: Well well well, that all got a little bit tasty in the end didn't it? Excuse me for one second while I stick my fingers on ice.

Full time
2216: FULL-TIME West Ham 3-1 Stoke (aet)

2216: FULL-TIME Aston Villa 2-1 Burnley (aet)

2215: Ashley Young breaks clear on the counter, but his low effort is pushed around the near post by Burnley keeper Lee Grant.

2214: Brad Friedel - take a bow. The Villa keeper has made a few saves tonight but none more important than that, the American beating Tyrone Mears' stinging shot away and then watching on for gratefully as Carlos Cuellar clears Chris Iwelumo's follow-up header.

West Ham goal: Game, set, match. Victor Obinna, who has been so impressive as a substitute, wraps it up for the hosts latching on to Mark Noble's brilliant slide-rule pass to finish well and surely put West Ham in the quarters.

2213: GOALFLASH West Ham 3-1 Stoke (Obinna)

2212: Victor Obinna does well again and he looks to have put his Hammers striker partner Carlton Cole through, but the frontman miscontrols and the ball trickles back to Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic.

2210: Time ticking down at Villa Park - and Jay Rodriguez attempts to draw Burnley level in spectacular fashion, only for his scissors kick to fly harmlessly high and away.

2208: Back at Upton Park, it's as you might expect with West Ham looking half a danger on the counter attack and Stoke taking any and every opportunity to get the ball into the hosts' penalty area.

2207: Ross Wallace tries his luck from range for Burnley, but his 30-yarder flies over the bar.

JamesLangley42 on Twitter: "How is Hughton's future at Newcastle even considered to be in doubt after what he's done and the manner he's done it in?"

2204: Now then, with a little over 10 minutes of extra-time remaining in both matches, has the sting been drawn from Stoke and Burnley?

2202: Storming run into the penalty area from Scott Parker in the first moments of the second period of extra-time, dribbling into the danger zone before firing in a low shot which Asmir Begovic does well to gather.

PanasonicVieira on 606: "Hardly a ringing endorsement there for Chris Hughton is it? Is that two months to save his job?"

2200: No rest for the wicked with the second half of extra-time under way at Upton Park and Villa Park.

2157: EXTRA-TIME HALF-TIME: West Ham 2-1 Stoke

The club have released a statement on the back of speculation surrounding Chris Hughton's future, reading: "Chris is our manager and will remain our manager. It's our intention to renegotiate his contract at the end of the year."

2157: EXTRA-TIME HALF-TIME: Aston Villa 2-1 Burnley

SoccerDotTel on Twitter: "Love it or hate it, this season's Carling Cup has been fantastic."

2155: It's so nearly 3-1 at Upton Park, but Victor Obinna's vicious drive is deflected wide for a corner. West Ham with their tails up.

2154: It's all Burnley at Villa Park now, and Gerard Houllier's boys have their work cut out to temper the Championship outfit's renewed verve.

2151: From the resulting free-kick, Ross Wallace sees his fierce free-kick beaten away by Brad Friedel - and then Eric Lichaj looks a touch fortunate to get away with handball in the box when the ball strikes his hand from Tyrone Mears' shot. Frantic scenes at Villa Park.

Red card
Villa red card: Aston Villa are determined to make things difficult for themselves as Marc Albrighton sees red for a professional foul as he shoves over Wade Elliott, who otherwise would've been through on goal, just outside the area.

2149: RED CARD - ASTON VILLA (Albrighton)

West Ham goal: First blood in extra time to the hosts - and Mark Noble is the creator, the midfield substitute dancing past a couple of Stoke defenders and putting it on a plate for Manuel da Costa to tap in.

2147: GOALFLASH West Ham 2-1 Stoke (Da Costa)

Aston Villa goal: He might have missed a good chance earlier but that's a crashing finish from Stewart Downing, the winger stinging a fierce effort into the top corner via the hand of keeper Lee Grant from 20 yards out.

2145: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 2-1 Burnley (Downing)

2143: Rory Delap, on as a substitute for Stoke, is already causing a few problems with his long-throws into the West Ham box - the home defence just about holding firm for now, though.

2141: Another chance goes begging for Aston Villa as Marc Albrighton does brilliantly down the right and lifts a fine ball on to Steve Sidwell's head six yards out, but the midfielder's effort drifts wide.

2140: Extra-time is up and running at West Ham and Aston Villa folks.

Full time
2138: FULL-TIME Newcastle 0-4 Arsenal
No such extra-time demands at St James' Park as Arsenal stroll into the quarter-finals thanks to an own goal, controversial second, and then a couple of quality breakaway goals late on.

2136: FULL-TIME West Ham 1-1 Stoke
Just as deserved is West Ham's leveller, where we'll also have an extra 30 minutes.

2136: FULL-TIME Aston Villa 1-1 Burnley
And we're into extra-time thanks to Burnley's deserved late equaliser.

Full time
2135: FULL-TIME: Kilmarnock 0-2 Rangers
Rangers remain unbeaten this season as they reach the semi-finals of the Co-operative Insurance Cup.

2134: And we have a couple of minutes of added time at Villa Park.

2134: We're into three minutes of stoppage time at Upton Park.

Arsenal goal: The Gunners are rampant with Newcastle pushing forward, Theo Walcott sprinting clear behind the high home defence and making no mistake one-on-one.

2132: GOALFLASH Newcastle 0-4 Arsenal (Walcott)

Burnley goal: Would you Adam it? Burnley draw themselves level right at the death, Clarke Carlisle rising to meet Ross Wallace's stood-up cross and heading home at the far post.

2131: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 1-1 Burnley (Carlisle)

2129: We're into injury-time at Rugby Park with Rangers 2-0 up, it seems both halves of the Old Firm are safely through to the semi-finals.

Aston Villa goal: Finally a breakthrough at Villa Park - and it's the rejuvenated Emile Heskey. Eric Lichaj budles the ball down the right wing for Marc Albrighton to knock on for Ashley Young - and he squares for Heskey who, despite a strong challenge from behind, converts a low side-footer with relative ease. Nice goal.

West Ham goal: They've had umpteen penalty shouts and finally West Ham are level, Scott Parker throwing himself at Pablo Barrera's cross and heading home from six yards. Extra-time beckons.

Arsenal goal: Game over at St James' Park as Nicklas Bendtner collects Cesc Fabregas's pass, cuts inside the Newcastle defender, and curls a beauty into the far corner.

2127: GOALFLASH Aston Villa 1-0 Burnley (Heskey)

2126: GOALFLASH West Ham 1-1 Stoke (Parker)

2126: GOALFLASH Newcastle 0-3 Arsenal (Bendtner)

Full time
2126 - FULL-TIME: St Johnstone 2-3 Celtic
Despite a brave fightback, the Saints can't recover from their disastrous opening 13 minutes and Celtic progress to the last four of the Co-operative Insurance Cup.

2125: Another massive penalty shout for West Ham at Upton Park - and this time, it should be given. Julien Faubert has his legs swept from under him inside the Stoke box, but once again referee Howard Webb is unmoved. The Hammers fans, understandably, furious with that one.

2123: Howls for a penalty from the Bobby Moore stand at Upton Park - Carlton Cole is backing into Robert Huth and the big striker goes down but referee Howard Webb is not having any of it.

2120: Scottish CIS Cup as it stands: Kilmarnock 0-2 Rangers, St Johnstone 2-3 Celtic.

2119: Apparently we're having problems with the Scottish text commentary at the moment - Stevie Miller, therefore, is going to drop some updates into this here commentary to try to keep you abreast of things. Which is nice.

2117: West Ham are going for it at Upton Park and much of that is down to Victor Obinna, who is impressing in his little cameo so far. No clear-cut chances as yet, though.

2115: Tasty turn-and-cross from Martin Paterson inside the Villa box now, but Burnley don't have anyone in the box to take advantage of it. Could still go either way, that one.

2114: Another glorious chance for Villa as Stewart Downing strides clear behind the Burnley defence, but his finish one-on-one is woeful and it flies well wide. Over at St James' Park, Cesc Fabregas is on for Carlos Vela.

2113: Still plenty of heart being shown by this Newcastle side and Wojciech Szczesny has to be alert to get down and save at his near post from Ryan Taylor's low drive.

2111: Not a bad player to be able to bring off the bench I suppose... Cesc Fabregas looks like he is coming on for Arsenal.

2108: Good defending from James Perch as he gets across to cut out Carlos Vela's cut-back with Nicklas Bendtner lurking. Still end-to-end at St James' Park - can the hosts get a goal soon to make a game of it in the last 25 minutes?

2106: The flurry of substitutions continues at Upton Park with Victor Obinna on for the hosts. A sense of all-or-nothing about a few of these replacements, no?

2105: Back at St James' Park, meanwhile, Andy Carroll and Jonas Gutierrez are on for the hosts, Peter Lovenkrands and Wayne Routledge the men replaced.

2104: West Ham have started the second half well here - and Tony Pulis does not like what he has seen. The Stoke boss makes two changes in the opening few minutes of the second half, Danny Pugh coming on for Pennant and Eidur Gudjohnsen replacing goalscorer Kenwyne Jones.

2103: For all their first-half dominance, Villa are on the ropes a touch here. First Brad Friedel tips Martin Paterson's left-foot curler away and then he gets back to save Jay Rodriguez's follow-up header. Moments later, Rodriguez's clever back-header is again kept out by Villa's American keeper.

2101: Villa have a striker on the field against Burnley at last as Emile Heskey comes on to replace Stephen Ireland.

2059: Big chance for West Ham. It goes just wide from James Tomkins, who flung himslef at a corner at far post - wide of post by about an inch and a half. Very unlucky for West Ham.

2058: So close at Villa Park. Burnley's Martin Paterson jinks inside Habib Beye in the box before curling a left-footer just wide of the post, with Brad Friedel stretching every sinew. The visitors stronger this second half. Heskey is taking his tracksuit off. He's got the nod.

Arsenal goal: The Gunners have their two-goal cushion - but all eyes are on referee Andre Marriner. Theo Walcott dashes on to Johan Djourou's headed through-ball and finishes smartly with a clipped finish - but only after Nicklas Bendtner, tracking back from an offside position, wipes Toon defender Mike Williamson out with what looks a clear foul. Controversial.

2057: GOALFLASH Newcastle 0-2 Arsenal (Walcott)

2056: Steve Sidwell races into the box to get on the end of Eric Lichaj's cross but it skims off his head and out for a goal-kick - if he'd been a couple of inches taller, that could've been the opener at Villa Park.

2054: ...and it should really be 1-1, James Perch rising to meet the set piece but succeeding only in heading over from eight yards.

2052: Nile Ranger twice looks like he has worked space for himself in behind the Arsenal defence, but twice his touch lets him down and the Arsenal defence are able to get back and clear. Newcastle corner, though...

2050: Villa midfielder Barry Bannan has the first shot of note following our half-times, but his 20-yard effort is easily held low down by Burnley keeper Lee Grant.

2049: And now at (a very wet) St James' Park and Upton Park.

2047: Back under way at Villa Park.

2045: Right then, last night we had something of a goal frenzy in the second half - what do the next 45 minutes have in store I wonder?

Spence on 606: "Re 2032 - you've started something awful with that pun Sam, regular Doctor Frankenstein you are!"
Head on over to 606 for all your Tim Krul puns people.

Half time
2036: HALF-TIME Aston Villa 0-0 Burnley
Chris Whyatt's HT snap-shot:
"Remarkably, Villa's 4-6-0 formation are creating chances - but Nigel Reo-Coker needs a barn door to practice with. Burnley full of graft, yet little else."

Half time
2035: HALF-TIME Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal
Mandeep Sanghera's HT snap-shot:
"For all Arsenal's style they take the lead on the stroke of half-time in somewhat comedy style against a Newcastle side that worked hard to keep them at bay and that had a few chances of their own."

2033: And that's half-time at St James' Park, as well as in the Villa-Burnley game.

Arsenal goal: What a Krul end to the half that is. Arsenal pinch the lead on the stroke of half-time as Nicklas Bendtner's header causes panic in the Newcastle box, the ball finally trickling over the line when Ryan Taylor's goal-line clearance comes off the back of keeper Tim Krul's head.

2032: GOALFLASH Newcastle 0-1 Arsenal (Krul og)

Half time
2031: HALF-TIME West Ham 0-1 Stoke

2031: And now Robert Huth goes within inches of bundling Luis Boa Morte's cross into his own net. West Ham suddenly don't want the half to end.

mattzaliar on 606: "RE: redandblackT - Don't worry Sam. There was goal madness in the second halves last night!"
That's the spirit, good lad.

2029: The hosts certainly ending the half the better side at Upton Park. Carlton Cole and Luis Boa Morte combine well and Cole puts in a lovely cut back across the face of goal - it's on a plate for him but Benni McCarthy misses his kick completely and West Ham's best chance of the half goes begging.

2027: Better from West Ham in the last couple of minutes and Carlton Cole does well to take Ben Haim's ball on his chest and turns his man on the edge of the box, but his finish on the half volley flies over the crossbar.

redandblackT on 606: "One goal all night? Sort it out Sam."

2025: Chances continue to come for both sides at St James' Park - but this time Emmanuel Eboue, having waltzed past Ryan Taylor as if the Newcastle defender were not even there, pulls his near-post finish into the side-netting with just the keeper to beat. How this match remains 0-0 I really don't know.

2023: Newcastle have the ball in the net as Peter Lovenkrands sweeps in from the edge of the area - however the Dane was, approximately speaking, about 387 yards - give or take 381 - offside and it is rightly, and swiftly, ruled out.

2021: Benni McCarthy goes down in the Stoke box and the Hammers fans hail for a penalty - there was, however, no-one near him and he simply lost his footing attempting a shot. Not given.

2020: Former Aston Villa winger Steve Froggat on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "In terms of chances, Villa deserve to be ahead. They've been quite creative, actually, with Ashley Young and Stephen Ireland's link-up play impressive. Young has been their bright spark, working centrally and down the flanks. The experienced heads in the Burnley camp need to string one or two passes together."

2017: It's now James Perch's turn to writhe in agony at St James' Park following a clumsy - at best - challenge by Arsenal's Craig Eastmond.

2016: Bit of hope for West Ham as James Tomkins rises to meet Pablo Barrera's corner, but his header goes over the Stoke bar.

2012: Our BBC London commentator reckons "there's very little sign West Ham have a coherent plan to rescue this match" - which is a bit worrying for Hammers fans, to say the least.

2009: Well I've seen some sitters missed this season - and this is right up there with the worst. Ashley Young dashes on to Stephen Ireland's through-ball and squares for Nigel Reo-Coker, but the Villa captain aims his tap-in straight at Burnley keeper Lee Grant who gratefully pushes the shot away.

2006: Bad news for Kieran Gibbs, who has known his fair share of injuries the poor lad, as he can't continue and is replaced by Bacary Sagna following that earlier challenge at 1956. TV replays, meanwhile, show Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny actually tipped that Alan Smith shot at 1959 on to the bar - a stunning save.

2004: West Ham still under pressure at Upton Park, where Sanli Tuncay has just glanced a header wide from Jon Walters' cross from the left-hand side.

2002: Stephen Ireland, breaking beyond Ashley Young, tries his luck from outside the area - easily saved by Burnley keeper Lee Grant.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1959: Glorious chance for Newcastle - wasted. Nile Ranger is set through on goal by Danny Guthrie and he beats the onrushing Arsenal keeper, only to dally too long on his finish and allow Laurent Koscielny to get back and clear. Moments later, an Alan Smith pile-driver from range crashes off the bar. Superb game.

1957: Sounds like it is all Stoke at Upton Park, with West Ham struggling to keep their effervescent visitors under wraps.

1956: Spot of treatment for Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs at St James' Park after an awkward fall under a challenge by Wayne Routledge - but it looks like he'll be able to continue.

1954: It looks, by the way, that Steve Sidwell of all people has been tasked with supporting Villa's lone striker Ashley Young against Burnley - though it's early days yet.

1952: At Villa Park, Burnley have made a bright start to proceedings with Jack Cork - on loan from Chelsea - getting on the ball nicely in the early stages. Steve Sidwell has miscued Villa's best early chance from inside the area.

Stoke goal: For all the action in Newcastle, it's in East London where we have our first goal - Kenwyne Jones rising to head home Jermaine Pennant's corner. Simple.

1950: GOALFLASH West Ham 0-1 Stoke (Jones)

1949: It is all happening at St James' Park - moments after Emmanuel Eboue's low shot is easily saved by Tim Krul, Theo Walcott gets in behind the Newcastle defence only for his cross to fall behind Carlos Vela and the hosts can clear.

1947: What a start at Newcastle - now the hosts forge forward and Haris Vuckic slams into the side-netting from the angle just inside the area.

1946: Less than a minute in at St James' Park and Newcastle Tim Krul has already had to make two fine saves. First Tomas Rosicky makes the most of Mike Williamson's hesitation to set through Carlos Vela, who is stopped one-on-one by the home keeper, and then Nicklas Bendtner sees a low effort kept out at Krul's near post.

1945: And we are up and running. Plenty of empty seats around the grounds in these early stages by the look of things.

1944: The teams are emerging at Villa Park, St James' Park and Upton Park. Ready for some Parklife? Ahem, sorry.

mw883 on Twitter: "Why aren't Villa playing Delfouneso? He never gets a game and we don't actually have a recognised striker playing. Great."

Dukey42 on Twitter: "I don't get it, there's a ticket to the Europa League at the end, why is that not a big enough carrot for the Premier League teams?"

1941: Newcastle manager Chris Hughton: "We're on the back of a wonderful win against Chelsea in the last round and you saw that night what this competition means to us. We will go into this game much the same as not too many expected us to get a result in that game and a lot of the players who that played at Chelsea are again in the side. I have to use the squad as best I can and we are going into the game to win it."

Graycrow on 606: "This talk of Hughton being sacked is crazy. I think it's because Calderwood left and hasn't been replaced. Chris Hughton = Legend."

Anon via text: "Do my eyes deceive me or is that not a pretty strong Villa team? Oh hang on a sec, they've forgotten to play a striker! The world seems right again..."

1938: Ah yes - re: 1930 Villa are playing Burnley. Prizes all round for spotting the 'deliberate' (ahem) mistake. Refresh please.

Chris Whyatt reports:
"Changes aplenty for both sides. Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has made six from the side which lost 0-1 at Sunderland, giving rare outings to a trio of youngsters: full-back Eric Lichaj, centre-back Ciaran Clark and midfielder Barry Bannan. Nigel Reo-Coker is captain in the absence of the injured Stiliyan Petrov. Stephen Ireland and Marc Albrighton play. Burnley boss Brian Laws also has six fresh names on his teamsheet. Leon Cort is suspended after his red card against Reading, but defender Clarke Carlisle returns from suspension. Captain Graham Alexander is also back."

Goonerlicios98 on 606: "RE: MarkBilly - I say the LEAGUE cup should be for the football LEAGUE and the Premier LEAGUE!!"

Benni McCarthy makes his first start for seven months as West Ham make eight changes from the team that lost to Newcastle at the weekend for their clash with Stoke. Scott Parker, Manuel De Costa and Carlton Cole are the survivors from Saturday's team. Stoke make six changes from the side that lost to Manchester United on Sunday, with Tuncay being rewarded for his goal scoring cameo with a start for the Potters.

1932: A quick reminder, by the way, that if Scotland's Co-operative Insurance Cup is your bag, make sure you head over to Stevie Miller's commentary for all the latest on Kilmarnock-Rangers and St Johnstone-Celtic. Happy days.

MarkBilly on Twitter: "Seeing as Premier League clubs play their reserves and moan it only adds to their schedule, I say the LEAGUE cup should be exclusive to the Football LEAGUE."

Aston Villa:
Friedel, Lichaj, Clark, Cuellar, Beye, Albrighton, Reo-Coker, Sidwell, Bannan, Ireland, Ashley Young. Subs: Guzan, Downing, Delfouneso, Heskey, Hogg, Collins, Johnson.
Burnley: Grant, Mears, Carlisle, Duff, Fox, Alexander, Rodriguez, Marney, Cork, Wallace, Paterson. Subs: Jensen, Iwelumo, Elliott, Edgar, Bikey, Easton, Thompson.
Referee: Michael Jones (Cheshire)

SwitchBarLondon on Twitter: "Not one for tips; but as a neutral I fancy a Arsenal, Villa and Stoke treble for this evening."

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Newcastle and Arsenal each make nine changes for the game at St James' Park. The Magpies draft in youngsters Tamas Kadar, Haris Vuckic and Nile Ranger, who starts in attack with the experienced Peter Lovenkrands. Alan Smith, Ryan Taylor and Danny Guthrie also get rare starts. Arsenal bring keeper Wojciech Szczesny into the side along with fellow youngster Craig Eastmond but, despite the changes, they have a strong-looking side which also includes Denilson, Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner, with Cesc Fabregas on the bench."

Polish Fox on 606: "Do my eyes deceive me??? That looks like a pretty strong line up Pulis has put out there. Lets go for it- c'mon you Potters!"

1924: Burnley manager Brian Laws has been talking about tonight's trip to Villa, in light of their 0-4 home defeat by Reading at the weekend: "That was totally unexpected and against the grain. Maybe it was a lesson to not just think we can turn up, too relaxed. [But] we hadn't lost in seven matches previously and the performances have been outstadning. We couldn't ask for a better game to try and get over it - a chance to get into the last eight."

Patrick_in_NY on 606: "Arsenal fans' ambitions lie elsewhere. A Carling Cup would be nice but it's essentially a reserves tournament for the top teams."

Paul, from Belper, via text: "As a Derby fan, I don't get excited. But will try my best for you tonight. 'Go Carling'."

Sidderick on Twitter: "It would be a farce if Hughton's sacked. Looking after/keeping managers has always been Newcastle's weak point."

West Ham:
Stech, Faubert, Tomkins, da Costa, Ben-Haim, Barrera, Parker, Kovac, Boa Morte, McCarthy, Cole. Subs: Green, Reid, Noble, Behrami, Ilunga, Nouble, Obinna.
Stoke: Begovic, Huth, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Higginbotham, Pennant, Whitehead, Whelan, Sanli, Walters, Jones. Subs: Nash, Gudjohnsen, Soares, Pugh, Tonge, Delap, Faye.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

Krul, Perch, Williamson, Kadar, Ryan Taylor, Routledge, Guthrie, Smith, Vuckic, Lovenkrands, Ranger. Subs: Soderberg, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Barton, Carroll, Gutierrez, Tiote.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs, Denilson, Eastmond, Rosicky, Walcott, Bendtner, Vela. Subs: Fabianski, Sagna, Fabregas, Arshavin, Emmanuel-Thomas, Lansbury, Nordtveit.
Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands)

I-Never-Lose on 606: "No matter what people say about the Carling Cup, a trophy's still a trophy."

Chris Whyatt reports:
"You can be sure Gerard Houllier didn't preface Liverpool's treble with 'Mickey Mouse' back in 2001, when the League Cup was the first trophy to fall in that headiest of periods in English football for the Frenchman. How the Villa boss would love to get his mitts on it once again upon his return. Problem! They haven't even scored a goal for 254 minutes. Solution? Championship high-fliers Burnley are probably more concerned with securing a return to the Premier League…"

West Ham might well be happy to see Stoke again, given the Hammers picked up their first point of the season at the Britannia Stadium in September. That point sparked a five-match unbeaten run - and even though West Ham's bubble was firmly popped by Newcastle's 2-1 win at Upton Park on Saturday, what better than a cup run to work wonders for morale in East London? West Ham have twice been runners-up in the League Cup in 1966 and 1981, while boss Avram Grant was a losing finalist when he was Chelsea boss in 2008, meaning Stoke City edge history in this competition having lifted the League Cup in 1972. And with a spot in the quarter-finals up for grabs, Potters boss Tony Pulis might just be dreaming of a 2010 commemorative issue Carling Cup winners baseball cap...

Mandeep Sanghera reports:
"Nineteen-year-old Nile Ranger and Haris Vuckic, 18, might not be familiar names outside, or even inside, Newcastle, but they soon could be if they impress in the same way against Arsenal as they did in helping the Magpies knock Chelsea out in the last round. The trio are again in contention with manager Chris Hughton having one eye on this Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby against Sunderland. Arsenal fans won't want reminding they haven't won a trophy since 2005 but, for a change, their manager Arsene Wenger seems to be taking this year's competition a bit more seriously than usual. He is still likely to field some of his youngsters but with a host of more familiar faces needing first-team football."

Zain_Patel on Twitter: "This is a competition that Houllier might take seriously. Villa reached the final last year, can they go a step further?"

StuartCulli on Twitter: "Newcastle fan here - expecting a 5-0 Arsenal win tonight. Anyone else as optimistic as me?"

1910: And, before I throw the team news at you, it's worth bearing in mind the pressure a few of tonight's managers might be feeling tonight isn't it? Arsene Wenger - trophyless at Arsenal for five years and counting. Avram Grant - yet to convince at West Ham with his side struggling at the bottom of the Premier League. Brian Laws - took Burnley down last year and outside the Championship play-off spots now on the back of a 4-0 reverse to Reading at the weekend. And what about Chris Hughton? Forget rumours that he is not 100% safe in his job despite taking Newcastle up last year and the fact they currently sit pretty in ninth in the Premier League - they can't actually be true, can they? - it's all about the little man's dress sense tonight after he was told by his dad to lose the tracksuit and smarten up. Or he'll be sent to bed without any supper (maybe).

Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott, Laurent Koscielny and Nicklas Bendtner all start against Newcastle at St James' Park.

ModricsTechnicolourAliceBand on 606: "Villa 2-1 Burnley, Newcastle 0-3 Arsenal, West Ham 0-0 Stoke (Stoke on Pens). You heard it here first etc etc."

1905: So let's embrace tonight yeah? Let's get involved. Let's show the Carling Cup the very best that we have to offer. Let's link hands in the middle of our giant circle and throw them up as one while shouting things like "Carling Cup" and "Go Team" and what not. Actually, leave that last one. Instead good people, Tweet me @sampatricklyon, get chatting over on 606, or text me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) and get this puppy rolling.

1903: Now, all right, it's hard to argue that many teams start the season with the Carling Cup at the top of their campaign priorities. Yes, attendances might not always be great, yes there is a tendency for top-flight sides to field below-strength XIs, and yes there may be one or two teams out there who aren't desperately sad to have this week off. But there is still a trophy and European qualification at the end of this particular rainbow folks - and for tonight's managers, for whom silverware has been more elusive than The Road Runner for the last few years, that can hardly be scoffed at. Can it?

1900: Wednesday night, round four of the Carling Cup. Excited?

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