LONDON — Manchester United took a step towards exorcising the demons of Sunday with a 3-0 victory over Aldershot in the Carling Cup on Tuesday night.
United arrived at The Rec licking the wounds of a 6-1 defeat by Manchester City. They started somewhat sketchily, with Nemanja Vidic booked for a wild tackle, but Dimitar Berbatov settled the nerves and they went on to complete a routine win.
Berbatov, who has gone from Premier League top scorer to bit-part player, was the catalyst. He looked a man determined to prove a point and capped a slick passing move involving Mame Diouf, Park Ji-Sung and Tom Cleverley by slotting United ahead on 15 minutes.
The goal rocked Aldershot and the effective knockout blow was dealt by Michael Owen on 41 minutes. He may no longer be the player that lit up the World Cup in 1998, but the striking instincts are undiminished and he hit a first-time pass from Berbatov beyond Ross Warner.
Antonio Valencia is another player pressing for a more regular starting spot and he lashed home the goal of the game on 48 minutes, arrowing a right-foot drive into the top corner from 20 yards.
Arsenal have found some form in recent weeks and kept their Wembley hopes alive with a 2-1 win over Bolton.
Bolton did not look overawed against Arsene Wenger’s men and, after going close in the first half, took the lead on 47 minutes when former Gunners man Fabrice Muamba seized on some slack defending to score.
The goal sparked Arsenal into life and Andrei Arshavin, a player who has so frustrated the club’s faithful, crashed home to level six minutes after falling behind.
Park Chu-Young capped the comeback when curling home his first goal for the club on 56 minutes. Lukasz Fabianski was called on to make a couple of decent saves in the final 20 minutes as Arsenal held on.
Crystal Palace eased into the quarter finals with a 2-0 win over Championship leaders Southampton as Darren Ambrose and a Jermaine Easter penalty sealed the win. Joe Mason kept his fine run of form going by scoring the only goal of the game as Cardiff beat Burnley 1-0.