(CNN) -- Robert Pires is confident Villarreal -- nickname 'the Yellow Submarine' -- can torpedo the Champions League dreams of former club Arsenal in Tuesday's quarterfinal first leg clash in Spain.
Robert Pires made his final apearance for Arsenal in the 2006 Champions League final defeat against Barcelona.
"We can beat them, for sure," said the former French internationa\. "We would not come on the pitch if we were not convinced that we are good enough to go through.
"I would say that I expect a spectacular game between two teams that look like each other a lot. Hopefully we will see many goals."
The 35-year-old spent six successful seasons at Highbury, and made his last appearance for the Gunners in the 2006 Champions League final when he was substituted in an early tactical change following the sending off of goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.
Such an exit was not the way Pires wanted to bring the curtain down on an Arsenal career which had seen him help guide Arsene Wenger's side through an unbeaten Premier League campaign in 2003/2004.
"I have always had a tremendous relationship with the Arsenal fans and these games will be the occasion for me to say goodbye to them," Pires told www.setanta.com. "Not having been able to say goodbye to them is a pain to me.
"I wanted to have the chance to thank the Highbury public for their support, but I could not do it because my last game was the Champions League final with Barcelona.
"Then I announced my departure to Villarreal three days later and did not see them again. Sincerely, this draw is emotional to me, and fills me with nostalgia as well, that is for sure."
Pires was sent off in the 3-0 weekend defeat at Almeria that saw midfielder Santi Cazorla break an ankle in a match that left Manuel Pellegrini's team in fourth place.
Spain international midfielder Marcos Senna is, though, expected to be fit to face the Gunners.
Arsenal striker Robin van Persie misses the trip to Spain with a groin injury, but Samir Nasri and Theo Walcott have been passed fit for the clash at El Madrigal after a virus and knee injury respectively.
Manager Arsene Wenger paid tribute to his players on arrival in Spain and maintained that he is "confident" of a positive outcome over the two legs.
Midfielder Andrey Arshavin is ineligible having played for Zenit St Petersburg during the group stages. Striker Eduardo (groin) and midfielder Abou Diaby (thigh) remain sidelined, while long-term absentee Tomas Rosicky continues his recovery.