Everton and Tottenham scored nine goals between them on their travels as they defeated Hull and Preston respectively. Everton cruised to an emphatic 4-0 defeat of under-strength Hull and found themselves three goals to the good after only 24 minutes.
A fourth was added early in the second period as David Moyes' men begin to find their form.
Tottenham made seven changes, travelled to Preston and hammered the Championship outfit 5-1, including a hat trick from Peter Crouch.
Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole returned from his long-term knee injury and set up the only goal of the game by Salomon Kalou in the 1-0 defeat of QPR at Stamford Bridge.
Gabriel Agbonlahor's third minute strike was enough to overcome Cardiff 1-0 at Villa Park. Villa had crashed out of the competition to lower-league opposition in three of the previous four seasons.
The visitor's had their chances but United held firm.