Merv anticipating physical encounter

Mervyn Day insists the Hammers should be wary that Arsenal could come back even stronger today after their 4-1 defeat to Liverpool last Saturday.

"You tend to worry in some respects when you play the bigger teams after they've had a bad result because the reason they are successful and at the top of the league is because they meet adversity head-on," he said. "They don't hide from it; they tend to be able to bounce back.

"So we are expecting a bit of a backlash, by the same token you do know that teams down the other end of the table, when they hit one piece of adversity it can snowball and you can't get out of that particular run.

"That's what we're hoping will happen to two or three of the teams above us. There's no doubt that today's is an important game. We are in a series of massive games for the club. People say we have to win every game and that's not strictly true.

"We know we need to win four or five of our last seven. We're placing great importance on it but if things don't go our way today then it's not necessarily the end of our fight to stay in the Premiership, it just makes it that much more difficult."

Merv believes the Hammers must get stuck in from the start if they are to get a result at the Emirates today.

"If you look at the Middlesbrough game, we made seven or eight really good tackles in the first five minutes," he said. "If you're fired up for it and you're competitive and aggressive right from the first minute then you've got a good chance of imposing yourself on the game. Difficult as it might be against teams like Arsenal, that's really where we've got to start from.

"The players are under no illusions as to what is required now. The correlation between the physical stats we've produced over the last few games and getting good performances is there for all to see. We need people running those extra few yards.

"If we compete physically then we've done very well. We've not had the best of luck in certain games but what we're looking for over the next seven games is for that competitive edge to stay with us and if they give us that, regardless of what happens in terms of good luck or bad luck, then we can't really argue."