Who said the League Cup didn't matter anymore? With a place in the competition's quarter-finals at stake, this week's fourth round fixtures served up a series of enthralling encounters. Eight games, 35 goals, two periods of extra-time, and one penalty shoot-out - it really was a feast of excitement and entertainment.
The tie of the round came at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday, where Arsenal recovered from 4-0 down to win 7-5, with Theo Walcott bagging a hat-trick to ensure the Gunners maintained their ten year run of last-eight appearances.
Aston Villa edged past Swindon 3-2 at the County Ground, thanks to a Christian Benteke brace, either side of an impressive Gabriel Agbonlahor strike, while Leeds saw off struggling Southampton 3-0 at Elland Road.
Middlesborough scored the only goal of the game at the Stadium of Light to down Sunderland 1-0, while Bradford City caused the shock of the round with a penalty shoot-out victory over Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium, after neither side could break the deadlock after 120 minutes.
The following evening, Liverpool went down 3-1 at Anfield to Brendan Rodgers' former side Swansea City, while Tottenham surrendered a one-goal advantage to lose 2-1 to Norwich City at Carrow Road. Clint Dempsey spurned an opportunity to take the game to extra-time, when he missed a penalty in the final minutes.
And finally, Chelsea and Manchester United went head-to-head at Stamford Bridge for the second time in a week, though this time it was the hosts who prevailed, with an emphatic 5-4 victory.
With United leading 3-2, Eden Hazard scored a last minute penalty to send the game into extra-time before further goals from Daniel Sturridge and Ramires sealed the win. Ryan Giggs pulled one back for the visitors - again from the penalty spot - but time ran out for Sir Alex Ferguson's side, meaning Roberto Di Matteo's men advanced, to the delight of the west London crowd.
GiveMeFootball brings you the top five Capital One Cup goals of the week…
Theo Walcott | Arsenal
The 23-year-old sent another message to Arsene Wenger in his cry to be considered as a striker, with a hat-trick against Reading. His first goal just before half-time was the most impressive of the lot.
Andrey Arshavin played Walcott through one-on-one, he took two touches, held off the defender and chipped delicately over Adam Federici in the Royals goal.
Gareth Bale | Tottenham
After scoring against his former club Southampton on Sunday, Bale added another goal when he broke the deadlock at Carrow Road last night.
Cutting in from the left, the Welsh winger was allowed the space to run right across the edge of the box before unleashing a right-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Luis Suarez | Liverpool
Following a poor first half display, Brendan Rodgers wasted little time in bringing on the Liverpool cavalry with the introduction of Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez.
Two goals down with 15 minutes left on the clock, the Reds skipper delivered a beautifully weighted free kick into the box, which Suarez glanced a neat header into the far corner to get the hosts back into the game.
Ramires | Chelsea
This goal is less about the finish and more about the collective build-up. In extra-time Chelsea exploited Manchester United's tired legs with a stunning counter-attack led by the tireless Eden Hazard.
Going forward with four-on-three in the Blues' favour, Hazard jinked to the edge of the box, where he turned the Red Devils defence inside out, before playing an exquisite pass to Ramires, who rounded Anders Lindegaard and slotted home to seal the victory.
Javier Hernandez | Manchester United
With Chicharito's controversial winner in the 3-2 Premier League victory on Sunday still fresh on the Chelsea players' minds, they will have been determined to keep the Mexican striker quiet last night.
But, with the score poised tentatively at 1-1 Anderson slipped the Manchester United striker in, who beat the offside trap and slammed a low left-footed drive past the outrushing Petr Cech.
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