There were few glamour matches in tonight's Carling Cup, with one notable exception, and just as few true shocks, with yet another singular exception.
Arsenal vs Tottenham: 4-1 AET
Arsenal's young guns outclassed Tottenham. After a tight 1-1 for ninety minutes, the floodgates were opened and Arsenal smashed three more goals past Stipe Pletikosa. A brace of Nasri penalties and a sublime Andre Arshavin strike made the difference and gave a flattering gloss to the scoreline.
Wenger sat this game out on the sidelines following his ban but it made no difference to the result and Wenger's youth impressed (again) in the early stages of the Cup.
Everton took control of this match quickly, scoring after just six minutes. Their inability to convert again proved to be costly as Brentford managed an equaliser, and then held their nerve in the lottery of penalties to beat Everton after Jermaine Beckford had his penalty saved by Richard Lee.
So far the biggest shock of this edition of the Carling Cup.
Birmingham City vs MK Dons: 3-1
Birmingham City's new boy Aleksander Hleb scored his first goal for his loan club, followed swiftly by giant Zigic. Hometown lad Craig Gardner finished the Midlanders' scoring in a frantic six minute period. MK Dons stuck back in the eightieth minute, scoring past deputising goalkeeper Maik Taylor, but it was to little avail. Birmingham fans will be glad to see a reaction following a dismal performance against West Brom on the previous weekend.
Stoke vs Fulham: 2-0
Stoke enjoyed a fairly comfortable victory over Fulham after a twenty-third-minute Higginbottom strike put Stoke in the drivers seat. Kenwyne Jones completed the scoring on the seventy-nine mark. Fulham's Dembele failed to make the same kind of impression and was taken off accordingly.
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Notts County: 4-2 AET
Wolves' late equaliser took this game into extra time, after which they took full control, scoring three goals for a reply of one, vindicating Mick McCarthy's decision to make eight changes to his team. Notts County will rue the late goal which dragged this to extra time, as they had the chance to cause an upset, but Wolves fans will be happy with their teams scoring potential here.
Sunderland vs West Ham: 1-2
West Ham belied their dire league results to pick up an impressive away win at the Stadium of Light, beating Sunderland by two to one. It's a result which might just spark a West Ham revival, especially considering that their football has not warranted their league position.
Burnley vs Bolton: 1-0
Owen Coyle tasted defeat at the club which he abandoned last season, explaining the rapturous celebration following an Elliot strike on the forty-five minute mark. Bolton become the second team of the night to fall to a lower league team, but Bolton fans will probably agree that league results carry far more significance this season.
Peterborough United vs Swansea: 1-3