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October 30, 2009

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Gunners see off Liverpool

A YOUNG Arsenal side delighted a near capacity crowd at the Emirates Stadium with a scintillating 2-1 victory over Liverpool to secure a place in the League Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Manchester City thumped Championship (second division) Scunthorpe United 5-1 to take its place in the last eight and Chelsea saw off Bolton Wanderers 4-0 at Stamford Bridge.

That trio joined defending champion Manchester United, last year's runners-up Tottenham Hotspur, Blackburn Rovers, Portsmouth and Aston Villa in an all-Premier League draw for the quarterfinals which takes place on Saturday.

Manager Arsene Wenger, in charge of Arsenal for the 750th game and seeking his club's first silverware since 2005, put his faith in younger players as he usually does in this competition and they rose to the occasion with a well-deserved win.

Fran Merida, the 19-year-old Spanish midfielder, put the Gunners ahead with a superbly struck curling left-foot shot after 19 minutes, before Liverpool equalized with an equally stunning shot from Argentine Emiliano Insua, his first for Liverpool, six minutes later.

Liverpool, also fielding a team of promising youngsters and seeking its first win at Arsenal for nine years, played excellent football but was eliminated after Niklas Bendtner scored with a powerful left-foot drive after 50 minutes.

"There was very little difference between the teams," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told Sky Sports. "We looked dangerous and they looked dangerous, but I think there is enough quality here to win trophies again this season."

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, who made nine changes from the side that beat Manchester United on Sunday, said the defeat did not detract from the win over United.

"Of course we are disappointed to lose, but we do not lose the feel-good factor from beating United," he said. "It was a different team and a different competition."

Manchester City, which has not won a major honor since the 1976 League Cup, took the lead through Stephen Ireland after only three minutes against Scunthorpe, but the visitors shocked the ultra-rich Premier League side when Jonathan Forte equalized after 26 minutes.

City soon took control, however, with goals from Roque Santa Cruz, his first for City since his 17.5 million pounds move from Blackburn Rovers, with Joleon Lescott, Carlos Tevez and Michael Johnson adding the others.


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