Hughes was a leading light at Old Trafford when the nucleus of United's talented FA Youth Cup sides went on to establish glittering careers at the top.
Hughes said: "Arsenal's players have the same mentality and they are very competitive. They can do very well too. Their mentality is that they expect to win games - they don't just hope to win games.
"At United, lads like Beckham, Scholes, Neville and Butt all had that same mentality. You could see it in them right from the time that they were in the youth team.
"I look at Arsenal's young players and I see that in them as well. They will always get the ball down and pass and move, and they'll create opportunities."
No single youth set-up since has produced such an abundance of talent - Gary Neville, for example, has won seven League titles and three FA Cups - and Wenger will often buy abroad rather than develop.
Hughes added: "What Arsenal have are two excellent teams - a first-choice team and another one which is made up of all the other exceptional players they have.
"Arsenal have got a fantastic squad. It's not a case of a first team and the reserves - they are all talented players. The team that played us are a talented side of individuals. They're maybe not as strong or cohesive as the first XI but that's because they have not played as many games together.
"They are very athletic and they can retain possession really well. We set out with a game plan to play high tempo and put them under pressure but we had to change because they were so impressive in the first 30 minutes.
"Arsenal will always have quality but this "kids" tag is also a relative term.
"Eduardo scored two goals - I don't know how much he cost, but it was something like £11million (actually, the fee is believed to be £7.5m). So these young kids don't come cheap!"