By Nick Teale
Three points above the drop zone, West Ham are in the thick of the Premier League relegation battle. But the Hammers have caused Arsenal problems twice already this season.
They came from two goals down to earn a point at Upton Park in October and the Gunners needed late goals from Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo to see off Gianfranco's Zola's side after falling behind in the FA Cup Third Round.
However, West Ham are yet to beat a 'Big Four' club under the management of Zola. Ahead of their trip to Emirates Stadium on Saturday, we caught up with Dave Evans of the Newham Recorder to get an East London perspective on the clash.
BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL
"They have only won one away game all season and that was on the first day when they won at Wolves and looked quite good. But since then it's been a bit of a disaster and it could be up there with their worst seasons in history. It's not exactly ideal when you are battling relegation when you can't rely on picking up points away from home. The last home game, against Bolton, was a bit of a disaster. They were very poor and will be looking to pick up as soon as possible. But playing Arsenal on Saturday is not exactly an easy task for them."
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
"They say the mood within the club is upbeat and things certainly picked up with David Sullivan and David Gold took over. But things have slipped back again and they have lost their last three games, though two of those were against Manchester United and Chelsea. Against Chelsea they battled a lot harder and the 4-1 result flattered Chelsea a lot. West Ham were level at half-time and looking to push on but Chelsea just stepped up a gear in the second-half. But it was certainly a lot more positive than the Bolton game where everything that could go wrong did go wrong."
THE MAN IN CHARGE
"I think the supporters are certainly backing him at the moment and I think the new owners are seeing how he does for the rest of the season. They certainly wouldn't replace him before the end of the season as Hull City have done with their manager. But I think the jury is out with regards to the owners."
THE ONE TO WATCH
"Carlton Cole has recently come back from a knee injury and is easing his way back into the team. He doesn't look quite 100 per cent fit yet but when he does play he makes an awful lot of a difference. He is a good target man, he holds the ball up and brings other people into play and has scored a couple of goals since he came back."
"Normally the defence has been a key part of the West Ham team with Matthew Upson and Robert Green at the heart of it. Their full-backs haven't been as consistent this season so Upson has had to do more work in the middle and Green has had more shots to try and save. I think when you are near the bottom your confidence is hit a little bit. But both are good players."
"At Chelsea last week they left Cole on the bench and played five in midfield and Zola admitted he was trying to play a counter-attacking game which suggested to many that he was playing for a point. It didn't work particularly well so I think on Saturday they might be a little more adventurous though they do have a game against Wolves next week. That's a game where they would be expected to get three points whereas on Saturday perhaps they wouldn't be."