West Ham v Arsenal: Parker confident about Gunners visit

West Ham v Arsenal: Parker confident about Gunners visit

West Ham midfielder Scott Parker is in confident mood ahead of the Hammers’ Premier League clash with Arsenal at Upton Park on Saturday.

Despite their position at the bottom of the league table, West Ham go into the game buoyed by success in the domestic cup competitions, victory in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final against Birmingham followed quickly on the heels of the win over Barnsley in the 3rd round of the FA Cup last weekend.

Parker said: "We are feeling positive. We've been on a run of good form if you take the Newcastle result out of it. Other than that, we have picked up some good results. We'll go into the Arsenal game confident - it's a London derby and hopefully we can pick up some more points."

The 5-0 defeat to the Magpies came a something of a shock for the team that looked to be turning the season around after a disappointing start for manager Avram Grant. Since picking up a precious away point at Blackburn on 18 December, the Hammers have gone on to win four, draw one and the drubbing at St James Park being the only defeat in the last seven games.

Grant could unveil his new signing Wayne Bridge for the visit of the Gunners, the former England full-back has joined on loan from Manchester City for the rest of the season and his arrival adds another lift to the positive mood at Upton Park.

Conversely, third-placed Arsenal have suffered disappointment in the cup competitions which threatens to disrupt their League form and promising title challenge. The Gunners needed a last gasp equalizer from Cesc Fabregas at Elland Road on Saturday to scrape a third round FA Cup replay against Leeds, then suffered the humiliation of defeat against Championship strugglers Ipswich in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final at Portman Road in midweek.

Arsene Wenger has been linked with a move for Hammers central defender, Matthew Upson as he looks to shore up his injury weakened defence for an assault on Manchester United’s position at the top of the table. Sebastien Squilliaci has joined Thomas Vermaelen on the sidelines and Wenger makes for the short trip to the east end of London without right-back Bacary Sagna who is serving the last game of his three match ban.

Grant will be without Benni McCarthy, Lars Jacobsen and Herita Ilunga who have picked up knocks in the New Year and join long term absentees Manuel da Costa, Thomas Hitzlsperger and Peter Kurucz on the injured list.

Bookmakers have installed Arsenal strong favourites to win on Saturday, as befits the league placings of the two sides, but as this is a London derby with West Ham on the up, the odds of 11/2 with online bookmaker Betfred will tempt many Hammers fans and armchair punters who fancy a home win.

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