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Birmingham boss Alex McLeish fires warning to Arsenal

Alex McLeish
McLeish's side could push into a Europa League spot this season

Alex McLeish says Birmingham will play hard but fair when Arsenal visit St Andrew's for the first time since Eduardo broke his leg there in 2008.

Striker Eduardo, who was out for a year after the tackle by Martin Taylor that injured him, will return with Arsenal for Saturday's Premier League match.

City boss McLeish said: "You must be able to make tackles in football.

"I'll certainly say to my team 'don't stand back and admire them', but there won't be any rough stuff."

He added: "We know if we are open, Arsenal will rip us apart but we believe we have got players who can cause Arsenal problems as well.

"If you are asking 'will we get in their faces?' we don't have that type of player in the team. [But] you've got to be competitive and, if you are brought up in the British game, that is the style of play.

"[Arsenal manager] Arsene [Wenger] has created a European style in his team, with an international flavour, and they are fantastic to watch.

The Bonstar Wandit

"But if we stand around and watch them we will get a battering so you've got to be making tackles. You must be able to make tackles in the game of football. It is a contact sport."

Birmingham have taken points of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool this season - and McLeish believes they are capable of the same against the other member of the established "big four."

Arsenal will be desperate not to drop points as they look to maintain the pressure they have been building at the top of the Premier League - they are one point behind second-placed Chelsea and two points behind leaders Manchester United.

However, Birmingham have lost only twice at St Andrew's all season in the league and McLeish warned: "We want to make it tough for Arsenal.

"It is a great league, very competitive, and some of the other teams in the top five or six, will be looking for us to do something.

"We are capable of doing it."

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see also
Birmingham 1-1 Arsenal
27 Mar 10 |  Premier League
Eduardo faces St Andrew's return
25 Mar 10 |  Arsenal
Wenger retracts Taylor criticism
24 Feb 08 |  Premier League
Birmingham 2-2 Arsenal
23 Feb 08 |  Premier League

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