Manchester United overcame rivals Liverpool 1-0 to reach the League Cup last 16 on a night which saw holders Swansea bow out at Birmingham.
Javier Hernandez brought a sense of stability back to United after a turbulent week by netting the only goal of an absorbing tie at Old Trafford.
Following a heavy weekend derby defeat to Manchester City, Hernandez wriggled away from Jose Enrique to touch home Wayne Rooney's corner early in the second half of a game in which Luis Suarez impressed on his return from a ten-match suspension.
Arguably the biggest shock of this year's Capital One Cup came at St. Andrew's, where Birmingham secured a shock 3-1 win against holders Swansea.
After a first half in which Wilfried Bony and Alejandro Pozuelo hit the post in quick succession, the 2011 champions appeared a different animal after the break.
Dan Burn headed home his first goal for the club in the 56th minute, before Matt Green added a second from close range soon after.
Inspired by winger Chris Burke, who played his part in all three goals, Tom Adeyemi also got in on the act with his maiden goal late on - with Bony netting a consolation with virtually the last touch.
Papiss Cisse's first goal since April helped ease Newcastle to a 2-0 victory over Leeds.
The Senegal international's drought finally ended 31 minutes into a pulsating encounter when he powered a header past goalkeeper Paddy Kenny to end a run stretching back to the 1-1 UEFA Europa League draw with Benfica on 11 April.
However, the tie remained in the balance until deep into the second half when strike partner Yoan Gouffran blasted home to wrap up a 2-0 win over the Championship side.
Elsewhere, Stephen Ireland marked his first Stoke start with a goal at Tranmere.
One of seven changes made by manager Mark Hughes, the on-loan Aston Villa midfielder put them ahead in the 23rd minute at Prenton Park.
Peter Crouch, making his first start of the season, scored in stoppage time to seal a 2-0 victory which was somewhat harsh on the hosts.
It took penalties to decide the final third round tie, with Arsenal eventually overcoming West Brom at The Hawthorns.
Arsenal took the lead through Thomas Eisfeld in the second half, slotting in what was his first Gunners goal on his maiden start.
However, West Brom equalised in the 71st minute through Saido Berahino to take the game into extra time and eventually penalties.
In the shoot-out, West Brom initially had the advantage after Luke Daniels saved Serge Gnabry's effort, but misses from Craig Dawson and Morgan Amalfitano allowed Nacho Monreal to seal victory for the away side.