Robert Green is expecting two "interesting games" when West Ham United travel to Manchester City for the FA Cup replay on 16 January before taking them on in the league at the same stadium four days later.
"They are good at home, we are better away so it could be two interesting games," he said, reflecting on the 0-0 draw at the Boleyn Ground that means both teams are in the hat for Monday's fourth-round draw. "It was a tight game really - we had a couple of chances to win it and were denied a penalty in the last minute. We haven't kept a clean sheet for a while so that was nice and defensively we looked good.
"It was a difficult one. If you are not going to score, the best result you can hope for is a 0-0." As the scoreline suggests, City were equally impressive at the back with Richard Dunne and Micah Richards catching the eye, while Joe Hart showed that the West Ham United shot-stopper is not the only English goalkeeper in form. "He played well and made some saves," said Green. "In front of him he has got a couple of fantastic centre-halves playing very well, like they have done all season. It makes your job that bit easier."
The result was an improvement on the 2-0 opening-day league defeat back in August, and Green could see why Sven-Goran Eriksson's men have continued to impress. "They play a formation which makes it difficult to break down - as we found out earlier this season. When it comes to that creative edge, at home particularly, it is something we have struggled with a little bit.
"At the moment, you look at the creative players and they are all in the treatment room. If you look at the front six, it is changing every game. I don't think we have had a consistent front six all season. It is always going to be difficult to create things and know each other's movements when you have got different players playing in different weeks. The understanding has got to be there."
There are positive signs, however, not least because the attack-minded likes of Luis Boa Morte and Julien Faubert could be in action soon, starting with the reserves on Monday. Considering the other options going forward, Green also reserved particular praise for Matthew Etherington, who returned after two months out. "Matty [Etherington] was back which was good," he said. "He put his all in for an hour which is as much as we could have asked for. We had the better chances, we just couldn't find an end product."
With extra creativity on the way, Green is relishing the prospect of pushing on in the league and keeping the cup dream alive. "We will see who is fit and who can get patched up for the Fulham game next Saturday. We have got a chance to get a few people back in the reserves and get back to fitness. Hopefully we will have a stronger squad to play Fulham next week and then go up to Manchester."