The £12million World Cup hopeful believes that flexibility can help Villa add a Champions League finish to a season that has now taken them to the Carling Cup Final.
Downing, 25, whose men face the Gunners in midweek, said: "The way the manager encourages us to change over all the time has helped me, because you can get stuck on one side and drift out of games.
"It's worked well, and the whole team are encouraged to move around.
"Arsenal are renowned for flowing football and are great to watch at times.
"I'm not saying we are close yet to what they do, but the manager is trying to get us to pass and move in the same sort of way."