Curbs wants a Green day again

Alan Curbishley expects West Ham United to be "put to the test at Arsenal" as his side kick off the New Year with a visit to the league leaders.

Arsenal are two points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League, following nine wins and one draw from their ten fixtures at the Emirates Stadium. That said, after just six goals conceded from nine away games and with five wins in that run, Curbishley knows his side are a tough proposition on the road.

He said: "The one thing about us is that we have kept every game quite tight. Our away record and our defensive record will be put to the test at Arsenal. As it was last year. We know what we are up against at the Emirates and what a good side they are."

Arsene Wenger's men will be particularly eager to avenge last season's 1-0 away win for the Hammers, when Robert Green single-handedly kept the Gunners at bay. For Curbishley, Green showed that April day that he was as much a factor in the survival success as Carlos Tevez, who returned to the Boleyn Ground with Manchester United on Saturday, or anyone else.

"There has been lots of talk about Carlos Tevez coming back this weekend but I did say there were lots of other big performances," Curbishley said. "One of the biggest last year was Robert Green at the Emirates. He definitely got us the three points because of the saves he made - I know Bobby [Zamora] scored a great goal but he was fantastic on that day."

With Fabio Capello taking the England reins on Monday, the manager believed there was every chance that an international recall could soon be coming his No1's way. "He has decided that all he can do is play and play well and let other people decide. I know he was disappointed he wasn't included in the squad but if it is a clean slate, as surely it is going to be - he has got to be in the frame.

"I remember Sven-Goran Eriksson coming in [in January 2001] and announcing a clean slate. He picked [left-back] Chris Powell which was fantastic for Charlton and everybody else." He added that he expected Capello to look around and say "that's the best person on merit at the moment".

Indeed, Green is not the only West Ham United candidate for England with Curbishley also touting the merits of Matthew Upson, Scott Parker, Kieron Dyer and Dean Ashton as England hopefuls. "We have got a contingent of people who still feel they have got a chance." Chief among them is Green, however, but the keeper himself is only concerned with the team display today.

For Green, there is no reason why the Hammers cannot take all three points. "We caught United on an off-day and we hope to do so again on Tuesday against Arsenal," he said. "They have been playing fantastically well and if we can catch them again on an off-day, then fantastic. Our away record has been pretty good so far this season. We know how to defend. We can do it well and can break on teams."

Injuries could have an impact on the manager's selection but Green said that need be no barrier to success. "We will patch up a side and go there full of spirit. It was a fantastic win on Saturday and an important one. In that respect maybe the pressure is off us and the pressure will be on them definitely. And they will want to seize the chance that maybe we have given them."