Zola welcomes Gunners test
Hammers boss ready to tackle Arsenal
Last Updated: October 23, 2009 11:58am
West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola believes a clash with in-form Arsenal is the ideal encounter to bring the best out of his struggling side.
The Hammers have plunged into the relegation zone after taking a paltry two points from their last seven Premier League games.
Arsenal, in contrast, have enjoyed four successive victories and make the trip to Upton Park having scored an impressive 14 goals in that spell.
But the diminutive Italian believes that his troops can upset the odds and insists that one victory could kick-start their season.
Zola told the club's official website: "In my opinion it is just the kind of game that we need. We are the underdogs. Nobody is expecting us to do well against Arsenal.
"But the spirit of the team is very high and we are going to be working very hard. It could be a surprise. Certainly we are going to give it our best shot.
"If we keep performing well then sooner or later we are going to get the points we deserve. We are very close. You can smell it, you can sense, it is very close.
"We just need the victory that would guarantee a little more comfort to the players and a little bit of confidence. Everything should be starting to work in the right direction again."
And Hammers striker Guillermo Franco is eager to be given a starting role against the Gunners having stepped off the bench to make his debut in the weekend defeat at Stoke.
The Mexico international, who faced Arsenal in UEFA Champions League action while with Villarreal, is hoping to be given the chance to partner Carlton Cole and is confident the club can halt their current slump.
Franco said: "Everybody has been working hard and is determined to turn things around. We are not in a good moment but I can see plenty of belief in the squad.
"I am ready to play and want to show what I can do for West Ham. I am really enjoying being at the club and I am happy to be here. We just need to get a win. We know Arsenal are a strong team and they have lots of good players but so do we.
"I have played against them in the Champions League and I know what to expect. We have the players to compete with them and the only talking we can really do to show that is on the pitch."