Villarreal midfielder Robert Pires claims not much has changed at Arsenal since his departure almost three years ago.
Pires swapped north London for Spain in the summer of 2006 after expressing his dissatisfaction at playing a reduced role under boss Arsene Wenger.
But the former France international is still a fan of Arsenal’s attacking brand of football.
He told L’Equipe: “Their playing style is still the same but that’s normal because Arsene is still in charge.
“It is a team which is always on the move. They play two or three touch. They are also a team with spirit. They haven’t lost in the Premier League for three months.”
Arsenal have a much younger side than their Primera Division opponents but Pires is not convinced that will necessarily be an advantage for the home side at the Emirates in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final tomorrow.
“Physically, they ended the first leg better than us,” he added.
“But young players also lack experience. That’s probably their failing.”
The Yellow Submarine will be without two key players tomorrow night in Spain internationals Marcos Senna and Santi Cazorla.
And Pires admits losing the pair is a significant blow.
“Two big setbacks,” said Pires.
“Senna is the captain and an important player, especially at dead-ball situations.
“We are going to miss both of them because they dictate our play.”