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Wednesday, 22 March, 2000, 17:12 GMT
O'Leary fearful of Gunners showdown
o=leary
O'Leary fears a potential 'Battle of Britain' clash with Arsenal
Leeds manager David O'Leary has admitted he fears a potential Uefa Cup semi-final showdown with former club Arsenal.

O'Leary is bracing himself for the prospect of an explosive clash on the European stage should both sides reach the last four of the tournament.



We want to finish the job off, but we have to remember Slavia Prague are still a dangerous team.

Leeds boss David O'Leary
The mouthwatering possibility is on the cards as both Leeds and Arsenal are in commanding positions going into the second legs of Thursday's night's quarter-final ties.

Leeds currently hold a 3-0 cushion over Czech League leaders Slavia Prague ahead of the return at the Strahov Stadium, while Arsenal are 2-0 up on German side Werder Bremen.

Should the two Premiership heavyweights be paired in Friday's draw, then O'Leary's recent criticism of Gunners boss Arsene Wenger and his side's participation in the Uefa Cup will only add spice to the occasion.

"I wouldn't want Arsenal over the two legs in the semi-finals because they are the strongest team and they've the experience," O'Leary said.

"I see them as the favourites for this competition now - in fact I think they will go on and win it."

No guarantee

O'Leary, however, knows Thursday's match against a team who have won all four of their European home ties this season is not a foregone conclusion.

Despite no personal experience of having lost a two-legged affair after being 3-0 up from the first leg, recent Uefa Cup history has proven such a feat is possible.



Obviously, we've a great chance of reaching the semi-finals of the Uefa Cup, so there will be no silly slip-ups or mistakes. We want to do it right.

David O'Leary
"You only have to look at Werder Bremen and Parma in the last round," O'Leary said.

"The Italians led 3-0, but then went on to lose 4-3. So it can easily be done."

Slavia coach Frantisek Cipro has already stated his side have no chance of reaching the last four, particularly as they are hit by suspensions.

Cipro's job is made even harder by the fact Adam Petrous and skipper Karel Rada are suspended, the latter due to his sending off at Elland Road last week.

O'Leary, meanwhile, could be tempted to play three central defenders as Jonathan Woodgate is fit again following a month-long lay-off with a calf injury.

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