James Tomkins is relishing the prospect of shackling the Barclays Premier League's most potent attacking force on Sunday.

Visitors Arsenal have netted 40 goals in just 14 matches in all competitions this season, including 27 in just eight league matches, but West Ham United's England Under-21 defender is ready to rise to the challenge.

Dutch striker Robin van Persie has flourished in his new lone-striker role in Arsene Wenger's free-flowing system, while the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Andrey Arshavin have also been in scintillating form this term.

However, the 20-year-old says the Hammers are fully prepared to shoot down the free-scoring Gunners this weekend.

"They're a good footballing side and we're going to have to be on our game to get a result, but we're confident we can do that.

"They're very good and obviously have some world-class players, but we do well against the bigger sides. We play good football and will try and play our way and concentrate ourselves more than the opposition, but we're aware of how good they are. We're confident."

West Ham are without a league success since the opening-day win at Wolverhampton Wanderers, but Tomkins insists that everyone at the club is feeling upbeat ahead of Sunday's London derby.

That positive outlook, said the youngster, stems from the inspirational approach of manager Gianfranco Zola and first-team coach Steve Clarke.

"The manager has been brilliant with the lads. He's such a calm man. He's a lovely man and a nice fella and he's really confident all the time. He says that he knows that results aren't going our way but that we'll turn it around.

"He gives us the confidence that we need instead of saying that we're struggling. He's not like that. He builds you up and Steve does as well and it's important that you have characters like that around."

To beat Arsenal, Tomkins and his defensive cohorts will have to keep the Barclays Premier League's most powerful attacking force at bay.

Among those hitting the heights for the Gunners are two men from the Low Countries - Dutchman van Persie and Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen, both of whom have netted five goals already this term.

"Van Persie has got a new role and he is doing that well this season and will be a great test for me and Matty Upson at the back to deal with him. It will be a good experience for me as a young player to play against a player of his calibre.

"As for Vermaelen, set plays are something we're trying to improve on as we're conceding more from them than we did last season. We did well in the last game against set plays and we need to build on that because games are won and lost on them.

"It's something we need to touch on as it will be a threat, but we're also a threat from set plays as well."

When asked if he ever doubted that the Hammers would pull themselves clear of the relegation zone, Tomkins echoed the positive sentiments of his manager, stating unequivocally that the club's upward motion would begin sooner rather than later.

"We're creating chances and playing well on the pitch. Against Stoke, we played so well and had a lot of possession. That showed how well we're playing and keeping the ball. If we can do that against a lot of teams then we've got a chance.

"We need to start worrying if we weren't playing too well, but that's not the case. We're playing well and everyone is confident results are going to change."