Bryan Oviedo has made a stunning last minute swap to West Ham in a £3.8 million deal after announcing his intentions to leave the Merseyside club in January. With a mere matter of hours left in the transfer window, the Costa Rican left back flew to London to finalise his contract which is believed to be worth around £3.5 million over 4 years.
The 24 year old played just 4 games this season despite Luke Garbutt leaving to, incidentally, West Ham, as Leighton Baines dominated the left back role. With just 28 league appearances over 3 years at Goodison Park, Oviedo has swapped blue for maroon and will look to resurrect a career after making a dream move in 2013 from FC Kobenhavn.
The Oviedo move will also see Luke Garbutt return to Everton after West Ham elected to not make the deal permanent after judging the £7.5 million fee to be unworthy of his ability. Instead, they pick up his ex-teammate for almost half the price in what can be considered a coup.
A first team spot is not guaranteed however for Oviedo, with Aaron Cresswell currently occupying the left back role for West Ham. His performances however have not been eye-catching to say the least and his mediocrity so far may give the Costa Rican a chance to assert himself. He didn't leave Everton to sit on another bench, so it should be interesting to see Oviedo prove his point at his new club.
Sam Allardyce surely would have been busy on deadline day as he finalised two more transfers, with one player departing and one player joining. Mauro Zarate leaves the club for £7.25 million to Queens Park Rangers, his loan destination this season, whilst out-of-favour Liverpool centre back Carlos Zambrano comes in for £2.9 million.
Mauro Zarate will suffer the indignity of signing for West Ham but never making an appearance in the shirt after being immediately loaned out to QPR. With Allardyce favouring taller strikers, Zarate found himself on the outer of a squad he wasn't even a part of and the 2 clubs negotiated a £7.25 million deal to make the loan permanent. This is a £1 million profit for West Ham whilst Zarate will earn an improved £40,000 per week at Loftus Road.
Meanwhile Carlos Zambrano will be looking to make up for a hugely disappointing and short-lived stay at Liverpool, where he made just 1 appearance in 6 months after signing from Frankfurt. Signed for £2.2 million, he now moves on to West Ham who have paid a meagre £2.9 million for his services. A hard hitting Peruvian centre back, Zambrano is expected to link up with fellow winter window arrival Erik Sviatchenko and club stalwart James Tomkins in the heart of defence.
West Ham's transfer business this season must be applauded, after selling 2 players and signing 6 more with the money received, replacing and strengthening the squad. Winston Reid has not been a miss at all, whilst Jordon Ibe and Matt Lowton have been solid additions to an overachieving West Ham squad. Can they make any more shock deals before the window closes? We'll have to wait and see.
Welcome to this live text coverage of the FA Cup 5th Round between Manchester City and West Ham at The City of Manchester Stadium. These clubs have already met once this season, with City demolishing the Hammers 5-0 in London but will both look towards this clash with optimism. Coverage starts at 3pm UTC and you can also follow the QPR-West Brom, Everton-Liverpool and Plymouth-Cardiff games on the site. Now to preview the two sides for today.
The hosts, the Premier League hopefuls and the heavy favourites, Manchester City will look to this game as an ideal chance to move forward in this competition and instill some team belief. After inflicting a heavy defeat on West Ham away from home, Pellegrini and his side will have confidence they can get the job done at home.
The Citizens will play a slightly weakened side in the game, wary of their Premier League title challenge. Willy Caballero will sit between the sticks, whilst Kolarov, Mangala, Kompany and Sangala make up a solid and reliable back 4. Their midfield four is probably their strongest point, with David Silva and Jesus Navas posing considerable threats out wide. Frank Lampard and James Milner should be the engine room, supplying Sergio Aguero and youngster Jose Pozo, playing his 3rd game of the season.
City's FA Cup journey began in the 3rd Round, travelling to Liberty Stadium to play Swansea. A resilient home performance got the draw but they were no match for City at the Manchester replay as the Citizens won 2-1 to progress to the next round. There they played Swindon at home, who were incidentally the side that eliminated West Ham from the League Cup, and the League 1 hopefuls had no chance, losing 4-0.
West Ham United
The decisive underdogs, West Ham have been far from their best in cup competitions so far and Manchester City will be the first EPL club they face. After being knocked out of the C1C by Swindon, and scraping through against Wolves and Brentford, the Hammers will need to bring their A game against one of the strongest clubs in England, if not the world.
The Hammers will be playing an almost full strength team to tackle City, with Cresswell, Sviatchenko, Zambrano and Lowton forming a solid back 4. Poyet, Song and Noble have been mainstays of the West Ham midfield whilst Matt Jarvis and Morgan Amalfitano will get a chance ahead of Downing and Ibe. In-form striker Enner Valencia heads the side.
West Ham began their FA Cup campaign against Brentford, beating the Championship side 1-0 at home before drawing with Wolves in the 4th Round. A solid home performance sees them through to this round.
Live Text Coverage
1' - Pozo rolls it to Aguero and we're underway here at the Etihad!
2' - GOAL! West Ham have unexpectedly hit the front less than 120 seconds into the match! Lowton and Noble played a simple one two and the English right back had time to swing in the cross to Valencia, who controls with a touch and fires it into the back of the net. City weren't expecting that!
12' - GOAL! City have hit back in style with a great counter attack! It was the work of Milner in midfield which put Navas into space on the left and his bullet pass left Zambrano outnumbered by Aguero and Pozo. Aguero chose not to pass and instead put it past Adrian to equalise.
28' - GOAL! Against all the odds, West Ham keep on coming! It's Valencia again with a deft first touch to get around Mangala before taking a deflection off Caballero to score his second.
Valencia and Amalfitano embraces after the Ecuadorian scored his second of the match.
34' - Valencia almost finished off his hat trick after getting around Mangala once more; luckily the City defender managed to recover and block his shot. City looking out of sorts at the moment.
43' - He's still hungry! Valencia's effort goes just over the bar, he's making a meal of Mangala at the moment and looks as if he can end this game with a hat trick goal.
45+2' - Terrific save by Adrian as he denies Jesus Navas an equaliser. Milner's free kick fell to the Spaniard at the side of the pack, about 6 yards from goal, and Adrian made himself large to deflect it for a corner.
45' - It's half time here at the Etihad, and against all the odds it's West Ham in the lead. Mangala has been no match for Valencia today, conceding 2 goals, and Kompany needs to step up and quell the Ecuadorian's influence. They'll lose a bit of passing ability at the back but someone needs to stop the goals if they're any hope of getting the win. West Ham meanwhile need to keep doing what they're doing; Song, Noble and Poyet have been terrific in midfield and are probably the main reason behind their success, except of course for Valencia. It's City's game to lose at this stage.
45' - West Ham kick off, it's 2-1 their way at the moment and they'll be looking to hold onto that brilliant lead.
47' - Top stop by Adrian but Lampard should have scored that one. Navas did some good work to get it to the veteran, alone on the edge of the box dead straight but he kicked it straight at Adrian who tipped it aside. No equaliser still for City.
57' - Enner Valencia just can't finish off the hat trick! He twists and turns to find space in the box but his shot is wide, not troubling Caballero.
68' - GOAL!! Fantastic build-up play from City as they strung about 15 passes together, culminating in a lovely throughball by Sergio Aguero duly finished by substitute Bony. City's equaliser has finally come!
70' - GOAL!!!! Just when City thought they had asserted themselves, West Ham have hit them on the counter with a great effort. Morgan Amalfitano finished it off after rounding Mangala but it was the work of Enner Valencia to make the chance, he has been incredible today. City need a response and fast.
86' - City are making chances at the moment but just can't score them, Fernando, Aguero and Silva have all had close calls but West Ham are just hanging on. City have about 5 minutes left to get a replay.
David Silva after missing yet another chance to draw the match.
92' - Samir Nasri has had his last gasp shot denied! He was lurking at the edge of the 6 yard box and almost looked as if he had sent Adrian the wrong way; however the West Ham goalie got his hand to it and pushed it away. Surely that's it for City?
93' - It is! The ref has blown the whistle and it's going to be West Ham progressing to the next round of the FA Cup at the expense of Manchester City. A spectacular performance by Enner Valencia has fired them to a 3-2 victory which no one saw coming. I guess now's as good a time as ever to get some cup form, and with this win under their belt, anything is possible for the Hammers.
West Ham had an excellent February, gaining 11 points from a possible 15 in the league and progressing to the FA Cup 6th Round against the odds. The new signings Svaitchenko, Zambrano and Oviedo also did well at their new homes as Sam Allardyce celebrated one of his most successful months to date.
Barclays Premier League
LEICESTER 2-1 Adrian, Lowton (O/Brien), Tomkins, Sviatchenko, Cresswell, Poyet, Song, Downing (Nolan), Ibe, Jarvis (Amalfitano), Valencia
Enner Valencia, Jordon Ibe
Enner Valencia (West Ham)
Leicester were no match for the Hammers in London at the start of February with Enner Valencia returning from injury to tear the Foxes' defence to shreds. His goal and assist nullified a lucky Knockaert goal after HT as West Ham continue their assault on 7th position.
FA Cup 4th Round Replay
WOLVES 3-1 Adrian, O'Brien, Collins, McShane (Sviatchenko), Cresswell, Poyet, Song, Nolan (Noble), Amalfitano, Jarvis (Downing), Valencia
Matt Jarvis, Enner Valencia, Morgan Amalfitano
Morgan Amalfitano (West Ham)
After a comeback draw at Molineux, West Ham made no doubt of who was the better team, registering 13 shots on target in the replay. 3 of them hit the back of the net as Wolves watched their 56th minute equaliser nullified by goals to Valencia and Amalfitano to put the Hammers through to the next round.
Barclays Premier League
STOKE 1-0 Adrian, Lowton, Tomkins, Sviatchenko, Oviedo, Kouyate (Song), Noble, Downing, Ibe (Amalfitano), Jarvis, Carroll (Valencia)
Stewart Downing (West Ham)
A highly uneventful match saw just one clear cut chance, with substitute striker Enner Valencia continuing his red-hot form with a late winner to seal the 3 points. Natural left winger Stewart Downing filled in at MC and had a commanding performance as the side's playmaker.
Barclays Premier League
SOUTHAMPTON 3-1 AAdrian, O'Brien, Sviatchenko, McShane (Zambrano), Oviedo (Cresswell), Poyet, Song, Amalfitano (Noble), Ibe, Downing, Valencia
Enner Valencia (x2), Alex Song
Yoan Gouffran (Newcastle)
West Ham put in a brilliant performance in a match with huge ramifications, as Southampton are immediately behind them on the EPL table and had been closing for a while. Enner Valencia shocked the defence into submission with a brace within the first 20 minutes whilst Alex Song effectively ended the match at half time with a 3-0 scoreline. Graziano Pelle's 86th minute consolation goal was the only highlight for the Saints as West Ham dominated.
FA Cup 5th Round
MANCHESTER CITY 3-2 Adrian, Lowton, Sviatchenko (Tomkins), Zambrano, Cresswell (Oviedo), Poyet, Song, Noble (Nolan), Amalfitano (inj), Jarvis, Valencia
Enner Valencia (x2), Morgan Amalfitano
Enner Valencia (West Ham)
The link for this match's update can be found here.
Barclays Premier League
MANCHESTER CITY 0-2 Jaaskelainen, Lowton, Sviatchenko (Zambrano), Tomkins, Oviedo, Poyet, Song, Noble, Ibe (Amalfitano), Downing (Jarvis)
Fernando (Manchester City)
The football gods weren't kind to West Ham a second time around as they couldn't repeat their FA Cup upset in the league tie. Goals to Jesus Navas and Sergio Aguero (penalty) gave the Citizens a revenge win despite West Ham having more shots and shots on target.
Barclays Premier League
QPR 1-1 Adrian, Lowton, Sviatchenko, Zambrano, Oviedo, Poyet (Kouyate), Song, Noble, Ibe (Amalfitano), Jarvis, Valencia (Carroll)
Enner Valencia (West Ham)
West Ham will once again consider themselves unlucky not to have gotten all 3 points at The Boleyn Ground as QPR escaped with a point due to a 62nd minute penalty. Enner Valencia's fantastic strike put his team 1-0 up at the break but a lapse in concentration by Carlos Zambrano meant Adel Taarabt scored an equaliser from the spot, making it a 1-1 draw.
West Ham got their 7th position but with Everton have a game in hand, meaning a win for them over Swansea will take back 7th. Newcastle are also threatening their position, but at this stage it looks as if West Ham will definitely finish in the top half of the league.
Player Of The Month
West Ham fans will be scratching their head as to how Valencia didn't win League Player Of The Month after tearing apart the league and the cup. The Ecuadorian striker has pushed Carroll and Sakho out of contention and although he may dribble a bit too much, he scores enough to compensate. 7 goals in 6 games over the month brings his season tally to 18, justifying his £12 million fee.
Sebastian Lletget tore his hamstring against Manchester United on the 28th of December and is expected to be out for a further 9 days to 3 weeks. Guy Demel suffered a sports hernia in training on the 17th of February and is expected to be out for a further 3 to 4 weeks.
Chuba Akpom scored a dream goal in the 85th minute to see his side through to the semi finals of the FA Cup despite a strong showing from the home side West Ham. Akpom's brace was the vital difference in a match which Arsenal will consider themselves lucky to win.
Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny was tested early as Stewart Downing found space in the 5th minute to crack off a shot, deflected wide by the Pole. Less than two minutes later, Enner Valencia put the ball just wide of the post as West Ham stamped their attacking intentions early on.
However it was Arsenal who scored first despite the run of play being against them. Mesut Ozil's angled cross looked easy for Zambrano to deal with but he didn't bargain on Chuba Akpom flinging his body at the ball. With his legs full stretch, the Nigerian youth international got just enough on the ball to send it past the unexpecting Adrian, putting his side in the lead.
http://www.ccfc.co.uk/cms_images/akpom-sponsor-h144-1360165_478x359.jpg Arsenal starlet Chuba Akpom after scoring the first goal
Arsenal weren't out of the woods however as West Ham kept on coming. Enner Valencia's 15 minute shot needed to be deflected by Szczesny, and a follow up shot a couple of minutes later only narrowed miss the underside of the bar. Mesut Ozil was the only response, with a great dribble culminating in an Adrian save. The momentum was decidedly with the Hammers however.
After half time, West Ham continued to chase their equaliser. Matt Jarvis had a solid effort in the 52nd minute, held by Szczesny, who was eventually man of the match after denying West Ham multiple chances to hit the front.
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01980/Wojciech_Szczesny_1980126c.jpg For the majority of the night it was Szczesny keeping his side in the game
His performance was excellent, but eventually the Hammers got their breakthrough from the unlikeliest of sources. Fill-in right back Carlos Zambrano found himself with the ball in the box, and after being momentarily dispossed by Koscielny, won the ball back and fired it into the bottom of the net for an unlikely equaliser.
http://www.independent.co.uk/incoming/article9832184.ece/alternates/w460/enner-valencia.jpg Enner Valencia after playing a part in the Zambrano goal
But despite having the majority of the play all night, and probably deserving the win, Arsenal struck the final blow of the match. Following a corner, Marco Verratti swung it into a developing pack of players, targeting Chuba Akpom who was one-on-one with Erik Sviatchenko. The Danish centre back lost balance, giving Akpom a clear path to goal - and he didn't disappoint.
Arsene Wenger celebrating his side's dramatic equaliser
West Ham's last roll of the dice ended in agonising failure, as Morgan Amalfitano missed a one-on-one chance with Szczesny in the 88th minute. The Polish keeper pushed it away once more to all but kill the Hammers' spirit as they consigned themselves to defeat.
As the final whistle blew, Arsenal fans celebrated a trip to Wembley after terrific performances by Chuba Akpom and Wojciech Szczesny, giving them a 2-1 win. West Ham fans will certainly be aggrieved after missing so many chances, with Enner Valencia failing to find the net despite 4 great chances and of course an 88th minute miss in a one-on-one situation by Amalfitano. Did Arsenal deserve to win? In the end, they scored the goals and will reap the rewards - a place in the FA Cup semi finals.