Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling were on top-form as Manchester City cruised to a 4-1 Capital One Cup victory at Sunderland to end a two-game losing run in explosive fashion.
The £100million duo tore the Black Cats apart on a night when the Barclays Premier League leaders demonstrated a brutal efficiency in front of a largely horrified crowd of 21,644 at the Stadium of Light.
Sergio Aguero started the ball rolling from the penalty spot before De Bruyne, Vito Mannone’s own goal and Sterling made it 4-0 by the break to extend bottom-of-the-table Sunderland’s first-half goals conceded tally for the season to 17 in just eight games and make Ola Toivonen’s late header irrelevant.
Rudy Gestede settled a scrappy Second City derby as Aston Villa edged past rivals Birmingham.
The striker’s second-half header sealed a 1-0 win to lift some of the building pressure on boss Tim Sherwood.
Villa had lost their last two games, and their last two derbies, to West Brom and Leicester before being booed off at the break here.
But the introduction of Jack Grealish at half-time helped turn the game in Villa’s favour following a pedestrian first half.
David Meyler poached the only goal of the game as Hull defeated Swansea in a tie that saw a return to action for Jake Livermore.
Livermore managed 69 minutes in his first appearance since May, when he was suspended following a positive cocaine test, and played his part as Steve Bruce’s side knocked over their Barclays Premier League opponents.
But it was his fellow midfielder Meyler who grabbed the winner, turning home from a matter of centimetres after Shaun Maloney’s header was palmed across goal just before the break.
Everton survived a scare as they came from behind to beat Reading 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium.
Nick Blackman gave Reading the half-time advantage but Ross Barkley equalised just past the hour and the visitors won it 11 minutes later when Gerard Deulofeu crashed home a long-range free-kick.
Peter Crouch’s first goal of the season was enough to see Stoke into the fourth round at the expense of Fulham.
The Potters made eight changes from their weekend draw with Leicester as Crouch started just his second game of the campaign, but they still had enough to see off a Fulham side who were consigned to the Championship following a defeat at the Britannia Stadium 16 months ago.
Andy King’s header in the second period of extra-time saw Leicester through to the fourth round after a 2-1 win over West Ham at the King Power Stadium.
The tie looked destined for a penalty shoot-out until King, captain for the night, guided a Christian Fuchs cross into the top corner of the net and beyond Adrian, who had kept his side in the game with a string of saves.
Foxes academy product Joe Dodoo marked his full home debut with the opening goal after six minutes, his fourth in the competition after his hat-trick at Bury in the previous round, but West Ham equalised before the half-hour mark through Mauro Zarate’s deflected shot.
Bournemouth held their nerve to edge past Championship Preston on penalties after a 2-2 draw at Deepdale.
The visitors made nine changes to the team who beat Sunderland on Saturday but went ahead after 23 minutes through a Shaun MacDonald header.
Jordan Hugill equalised for Preston and despite Marc Pugh’s strike early in extra time, Preston drew level once again through Daniel Johnson’s late penalty.
But the hosts blew their chance from the spot as Hugill, Johnson and Alan Browne all missed to send Eddie Howe’s men through.
Middlesbrough cruised into the fourth round as they extended their winning run to five matches with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Wolves.
Albert Adomah scored twice with Diego Fabbrini also finding the target, as Aitor Karanka’s side carried over their impressive league form into the cup environment.