Zola plotting a surprise

Gianfranco Zola has encouraged his West Ham United team to emulate Internazionale by springing a surprise at Arsenal on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho's Italian champions shocked the football world by scoring an unexpected win at Stamford Bridge to knock Chelsea out of the UEFA Champions League in midweek.

With that in mind, Zola believes his players can take inspiration from the performance of the Nerazzurri and produce another upset at the Emirates Stadium.

"It's not a great time, but we never give up. I stand by the thing that football can sometimes produce surprises. There were not many that thought Inter could play the game like they played against Chelsea. I think the majority if people said that Chelsea would go through. They needed one goal and they were comfortable, but football can sometimes be unpredictable.

"I always hope. I never go on to the pitch with the feeling that I'm going to lose the game. I tend to go for the positive side all the time, so I'm going to go there and I'm confident that my team can do something. I always do."

West Ham travel to north London without injured Hammer of the Year Scott Parker - who has tightness in his leg muscles - seeking to end a run of three straight defeats against an Arsenal side themselves welcoming back a fit-again Cesc Fabregas.

However, Zola insisted that, while the odds may be stacked against his team, they will going all-out to upset the formbook.

"Obviously on paper, Arsenal is flying right now, playing well and scoring goals, and we have not been playing well recently and our away form is not the best. But football is football - trust me, it can be tricky.

"Last year we did very well there [to draw 0-0]. We defended very well there and got a good point for us, so I want to play this game.

"Fabregas is back, and Alex Song is also back from suspension, which is great! It's tough for us, because we have a few injuries. There's no doubt it will be a difficult game, but we will give it our best shot.

"Fabregas is a big, big player for them, not only in terms of the quality of the football that he plays, but he produces a lot of important of goals he scores for them. That's the quality that has surprised me the most - I knew he was very good at playing the ball, but I didn't expect him to score so many goals.

"Scott felt a little bit of tightness in the leg, and I can't risk anything because we have another game on Tuesday, so I don't think he's going to be available. Everyone knows how important Scott Parker is to my team, but we have to cope with that. It's important that we go on the pitch and believe that we can get a good result."

Parker's absence may be a blow, but the Hammers have been boosted by the return of Herita Ilunga and Mark Noble to full training this week, while Carlton Cole and Guille Franco are both pushing for a start after regaining full fitness.

While it may not be to Gunners manager Arsene Wenger's liking, Zola has told his players to prepare for a battle this weekend.

"We will try to be aggressive. I know Arsene doesn't like losing very much, but sometimes when you play teams like Arsenal, the only way to beat them is to be strong and aggressive and stop them playing. If you allow them to play, they can cause you a lot of problems."

Zola and his players have also been working hard to cut out the individual mistakes that cost them dear against Bolton Wanderers and Chelsea in recent weeks.

"I personally learnt a lot and so did the players as well [from the Chelsea defeat] because they worked hard and kept themselves in the game, then they made a mistake and they punished us. When you play against strong teams, you cannot afford to make any mistakes, because they punish you. That has been the case.

"Their second goal, when we didn't challenge John Terry in time, he found Malouda and he produced an unbelievable cross and we lost the man [Didier Drogba] in the box, and that's the way the goal came. When you play teams like Chelsea and Arsenal, the concentration has to be 100 per cent for 90 minutes otherwise they will take advantage of your mistakes."

Following Saturday's trip to Arsenal, West Ham play host to Wolverhampton Wanderers next Tuesday before Stoke City visit the Boleyn Ground on Saturday week. The manager believed three matches in eight days could define his side's season.

"The next few days will be very, very important for us. We have massive games. Saturday is a derby, it will be tough, but we are going to give it our best because the game will be important for Tuesday. It's a massive, massive week, but we know that."