NEWS
09/20/2011 05:54 EDT | Updated 11/20/2011 05:12 EST

Man United strolls past Leeds 3-0 in Carling Cup, Arsenal beats Shrewsbury 3-1

LONDON - Manchester United transferred its free-scoring form to the Carling Cup by cruising past Leeds 3-0 in the third round on Tuesday, while Arsenal had to come from a goal down to overwhelm fourth-tier Shrewsbury 3-1 and avoid another calamitous defeat.

Former England striker Michael Owen scored twice and veteran winger Ryan Giggs added the third as a makeshift United team swept past second-tier Championship side Leeds at Elland Road.

Arsenal also played its reserves and had to work much harder to make the fourth round after slipping behind to James Collins' shock 16th-minute goal for visiting Shrewsbury.

Defeat to a team three divisions lower down in the pyramid would have piled more pressure on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after his team's dreadful start to the domestic season.

However, left back Kieran Gibbs equalized with a far-post header before halftime and second-half goals by the impressive Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Israel captain Yossi Benayoun eased the gloom around Emirates Stadium.

"It was a bit nervy because we played against a good side," Wenger said. "But in the second half, we took over and it was all us."

On a night devoid of any real upsets, Stoke defeated Tottenham 7-6 on penalties after the match finished 0-0 following extra time while Bolton beat Aston Villa 2-0 away in another all-Premier League match.

In-form Newcastle, which is fourth in the Premier League, needed extra time before seeing off second-tier Nottingham Forest 4-3.

Given its lowly position in the league, Tuesday's result was far more important for Arsenal than it was for United, which has won its first five games — scoring 21 goals in the process — to storm to first place in the Premier League.

Wenger was given a vote of confidence on Tuesday by the club's chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, after Arsenal's wretched start to the Premier League season that has seen it lose three out of five matches, plummeting the team to fourth from bottom.

It looked like things were going to go from bad to worse when Shrewsbury took a shock lead in the 16th minute, Collins heading home powerfully a right-wing cross.

Arsenal's defence looked typically shaky — Shrewsbury had earlier hit the post through striker Mark Wright — and the visiting fans derided Wenger by chanting, "You're getting sacked in the morning."

Wenger, though, said he felt relaxed throughout.

"I was very calm at halftime because panic doesn't help," he said. "We played a mixture of young and experienced players. We took a gamble and it worked."

Gibbs provided a relieving equalizer in the 33rd by heading in a cross from the right by right back Carl Jenkinson, and Arsenal dominated the second half from start to finish.

Wenger's side deservedly went ahead for the first time when Oxlade-Chamberlain capped a strong first start for Arsenal by lashing a shot into the bottom corner from 30 yards in the 58th and Benayoun also grabbed his first goal for the club, slotting in a finish from close range in the 79th.

Seeking a fifth Carling Cup title, and a fourth in last seven years, United had little trouble disposing of a rival that ranked as one of its fiercest before Leeds dropped out of the Premier League in 2004.

Owen, who is behind Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck and Dimitar Berbatov in the pecking order of strikers at United, marked his first start of the season by putting United in complete command with two goals in the opening 32 minutes.

The former Real Madrid and Arsenal striker dribbled a finish into the corner for the opener in the 14th and smashed home a low shot from the edge of the penalty area for 2-0 in the 32nd.

"With Berbatov, Hernandez, Rooney and one or two other strikers around the place he's not getting the games he deserves, it's unfortunate for him, but he's fantastic to have around," Ferguson said of Owen.

Leeds' hopes of repeating its FA Cup third-round victory over United in 2010 were then extinguished by evergreen midfielder Giggs, who collected Park Ji-sung's return pass from a short corner, nutmegged a defender and fired a rising shot into the corner.

United had few problems at the other end, despite fielding a defence containing England midfielder Michael Carrick and Ecuador winger Antonio Valencia.

Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen saved the decisive penalty by young midfielder Massimo Luongo as four-time winner Tottenham was eliminated at Britannia Stadium.

Second-half strikes from Chris Eagles and Gael Kakuta helped Bolton to victory at Villa Park while a close-range header by Argentina centre back Fabricio Coloccini in stoppage time of extra time edged Newcastle past Forest.

Blackburn beat third-tier Leyton Orient 3-2 while Wolverhampton Wanderers thrashed Millwall 5-0.