Tomas Rosicky has dismissed the importance of former Arsenal teammates Alex Hleb and Mathieu Flamini.

The midfielder said: "We're more experienced now, precisely because of what we have gone through. We took a huge step forward.

"At the end of last season, we finished just four points behind the winners Manchester United.

"I've already said we will be competing for the title even though people don't have much confidence in us. It was the same situation a year ago, when Thierry Henry left.

"He was a much bigger icon than the lads who have gone now - and we coped with that."