"Of course, but the pressure will be more on them than Chelsea, especially when you remember their defeat to Birmingham in 2008 and the effect that would have had on their dressing room. Chelsea will rotate after playing so recently, but the quality will be there. Don't forget it's the first trophy you can win. It's very important. It's not the same in France, they don't take it seriously. They're stupid because they don't understand that to get that winning spirit, that mentality you have to win this sort of game. But you know... [cynically rubs fingers together] money."
Do you see any of the qualities of the team you won the title with in 1998 in the current Arsenal side?
"I can't make comparisons, because that was 15 years ago and football has changed a lot. But I think they need to achieve the same team spirit that we had at that time. We were all competitors, we were all determined to win game after game, without any question. It doesn't matter if you are French, English, whatever, we were all on board with the same target, the same motivation. There is a big difference between the teams because this spirit only comes after you win a lot of games together. Before that happens you have to have strong personalities to reach that target. When you look at the squad of 1998, there were huge, big personalities in that team."
Who were the leaders in the dressing room?
"No idea. There were so many. You would talk to Ian Wright, Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Lee Dixon. There were so many powerful guys, with strong belief. That's the big difference between the teams, we had players that would never have accepted defeat."
What did you make of Ian Wright when you first arrived in England? You must have been baffled...
"After a couple of months with Ian Wright I thought, in my head, 'this guy cannot play in France'. It's impossible, because he's so free in his mind. That's why I like it here in England. If you are a crazy personality, that doesn't matter. If you entertain people, it doesn't matter. Until you do bad things, of course. In France we have to be confined, in a box. I loved it when I first came to England, and I loved Ian Wright's personality because when playing alongside him, and living alongside him, he helps you to forget the importance of football and the pressure you're under every day. That's important. He made fun all the time, made ridiculous things happen all the time. I really enjoyed it."
Arsenal hadn't won the league for quite a while before 1998, how do you become a team that's ready to challenge for the title?
"I remember when Arsène first came to England there was a headline 'Arsène who?!' because he was from Japan, not a typical footballing background. He brought a French revolution to the dressing room with dietetics, food, training. He changed everything. So it wasn't easy for him, as a French guy, to bring in all these changes to a club with the history of Arsenal. When he first came he had to manage big English players with big English personalities. The fact that everything went well after a year, with the French and the English contingents, showed that everybody was on the same lines, with the same motivations."
How did the big English characters react when Wenger effectively said you can't have a pie and chips at half time any more?
"Chocolate bars before the game, that was one thing that used to happen. The results shows that Arsène was right. Even the English players understood that they couldn't eat baked beans before the game."
Well, that's just impolite...
"I know. But we succeeded, and that was the best response.It was a human adventure at first. Different nationalities, personalities, all mixed. It went well. It was the perfect time for English players to show that they were still the best in their country, and a chance for foreign players like me to make my name here. The fact that Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp and me were playing key roles... I remember Tony Adams saying at the training ground that he was so happy to have us just in front of him, and that because of us he was able to play for three years longer than he'd expected."
What was Wenger like after losing a game?
"Even when Arsène sleeps, his mind is still working. When you look at him on the bench you think one day he's going to have a big problem with his heart because he tried to keep everything inside. I just want to tell him that sometimes you've got to open up, because otherwise one day you'll come into big trouble. Every time we were losing or lost a game he lost his temper just like the players did."
How do you feel about France's chances against Ukraine in the World Cup qualifiers?
"We wanted to avoid Portugal because most of the players are at top clubs, and also Sweden because last time we met them they beat us. Ibrahimovic is a nightmare for the French defenders in Ligue 1."
Was your international team-mate Fabien Barthez as unhinged as he seemed?
"You have to understand that goalkeepers live in their own world. They train alone, and when you talk about tactics before the game they're not included. Fabien has got a weird personality sometimes. Sometimes you look at him and think he is dreaming but no, he's there. His eyes are not there but he's still there, don't forget. He's still listening."
What were the celebrations like after the World Cup final in 1998?
"Amazing. After big sporting victories people express themselves like nowhere else. There were a million people on the Champs-Élysée, the last time that happened was after the Second World War. We were very proud to do that for France, and especially when you look at 15 years ago, to create a link between immigrants and people who had been in France for longer. The team of that time had Zidane, Barthez, Lizarazu, Thuram, Desailly, we were all from different backgrounds. It didn't matter at that time. I think now, the reality in France is that nothing has really changed, it's become worse and worse. We were proud of what we achieved but unfortunately we didn't really change anything."
Having played with him at Barcelona is it any surprise to you that Pep Guardiola has done so well in management?
"I want to see how he's going to do with Bayern Munich. For me, the job at Barcelona was done by Cruyff. He set the way which everyone has followed. No disrespect to everything he did, but he hasn't created anything at Barcelona. He had Iniesta, Xavi and Messi, three of the most important players in the world at the same time. I don't want to minimise what Guardiola has done, but I think people should realise that it's not him that did that, it's Cruyff, and it's easier when you have the best players on your team. It's the same with Bayern Munich, it's a strong team with two of the best wingers in the world in Robben and Ribery."
It must have been difficult for you to go to Chelsea, with your Arsenal connections?
"It was weird, you're right, but when I left Arsenal I had no problems with the fans. The relationship I had with the fans was strong and was based on love. They knew from the first day that I wore the shirt I was honest with them, and they knew I was honest until the end."
What was the reaction among the players at Chelsea when Abramovich took over?
"They went from being a club with no money to having unlimited finances. If you're a player you know that it is going to be extremely difficult for you to stay, especially if you are at the end of your career like me. I knew I was on a shortlist to leave the club, which was no surprise for me, these were the rules."
Was John Terry an obvious leader at that age?
"John Terry had a chance to play alongside Marcel Desailly, who had huge experience. Without that I'm not sure he would have had the same career. They built a very good relationship and Marcel helped Terry to settle quickly into the team. He was a natural captain, and he wasn't alone because Frank Lampard was doing the same in the midfield."
You taught Frank Lampard everything he knows, right?
"No. I never had this attitude of going to tell young players how to play, except when they behaved badly without any respect for others. As long as they do their best, who am I to tell them what to do? Even if they are only 15 years old."
Emmanuel Petit was talking to The Telegraph on behalf of Capital One, the credit card company and sponsors of The League Cup. Round 4 of the Capital One Cup takes place from the 29th August.