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Friday, Oct. 29, 2010

Gunners cruise into quarterfinals

LONDON (AP) Theo Walcott's double helped Arsenal rout Newcastle 4-0 on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the League Cup.

News photo
On the run: Arsenal's Carlos Vela (right) vies for the ball with Newcastle's Wayne Routledge during their League Cup match on Wednesday. The Gunners won 4-0. AP PHOTO

Arsenal went ahead through Newcastle 'keeper Tim Krul's 45th-minute own goal and Walcott netted his first at the start of the second half.

Nicklas Bendtner scored in the 83rd minute before Walcott completed an emphatic victory for Arsenal that puts the club closer to ending its trophy drought since winning the 2005 F.A. Cup.

"People may say that this is a Mickey Mouse cup, but we want to win trophies," Walcott said. "We want to look back on the trophies we have won in our career. At the moment it's none, but if we keep playing like that I'm sure it will come."

Aston Villa defeated Burnley 2-1 and West Ham beat Stoke 3-1 in Wednesday's other matches, which both went to extra time.

Defending champion Manchester United advanced to the quarterfinals on Tuesday along with Birmingham, Wigan and West Bromwich Albion, and second-tier Ipswich.

The quarterfinal draw will be made on Saturday.

At St. James' Park, Arsenal's opener came after Bendtner headed toward the Newcastle goal and Ryan Taylor's defensive header hit Krul and dropped into the net .

There was controversy surrounding the second. Bendtner, who had run from an offside position, collided with Mike Williamson as he attempted to get to Walcott.

But referee Andre Marriner allowed play to continue and Walcott calmly chipped Krul to make it 2-0 with Newcastle protests counting for nothing.

After Bendtner extended Arsenal's lead, Walcott wrapped up the win in the 88th after rampaging through the Newcastle defense.

"Walcott is more composed in front of goal this season," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "His first touch is better. He is an intelligent boy and because of that he will always improve. He was flying at the start of the season and now he is just coming back from injury. You can see today that he is ready to go to another level."

Arsenal's night was soured by an injury to full back Kieran Gibbs, who went off before the break with a knee problem.

At Villa Park, substitute Stewart Downing scored a winner six minutes into extra time for Villa, which lost last season's final to Manchester United.

Burnley defender Clarke Carlisle had canceled out Villa substitute Emile Heskey's 86th-minute opener just three minutes later.

But after Downing's winner, Villa had winger Marc Albrighton sent off in the 100th minute.

"Marc's sending off was a fair decision," Villa manager Gerard Houllier said. "He didn't touch (Wade Elliott) a lot but I've no complaints."

Russia strikes back

MOSCOW (AP) A spat between Russian and English soccer officials over their rival bids for hosting the 2018 World Cup escalated Wednesday, with the Russian Football Union's honorary president denouncing an English complaint as "absolutely primitive."

Vyacheslav Koloskov told Russian website championat.ru that a complaint by England's bid team to FIFA about comments by the head of the Russian bid was prompted by "nervousness."

English bid officials complained to FIFA after Russian bid chief Alexey Sorokin described London in an interview as a city with high crime rate and high alcohol consumption among its youth.

Sorokin told the daily Sports Express Wednesday that journalists misinterpreted his comments and said he didn't mean to criticize London.

FIFA said in a statement Wednesday that it was studying the complaint by England that Russia broke competition rules by criticizing London.

England, Russia, Belgium-Netherlands and Spain-Portugal are in the running for the 2018 World Cup, while the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar are looking to host the tournament in 2022.

This is the first time that two World Cups have been decided at the same time — a potential bonanza for would-be vote sellers or traders.

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