By Matt Fortune
The Frenchman's thunderbolt against Newcastle was just reward for another dynamic performance. In fact, Fabregas joked that the growth of his teammate, and friend, has somewhat stunted his own attacking prowess.
"He has taken my role," said the Spaniard with a laugh. "I said to him tonight, 'come on Mathieu you are doing my job!'. He deserves it though. I'm happy for him and hopefully he will get more goals from midfield.
"He was amazing, not just tonight but he has been amazing all season. I'm a big fan of his. He's hyperactive, on and off the pitch. I don't know how he does it but he has so much power.
"With his encouragement we play better. He has so much passion for the game. He enjoys it and he hates losing."
Flamini's current deal expires this summer and, as far as Fabregas is concerned, it's vital that the Frenchman extends his contract.
"I definitely want him to [sign a new deal]," he said. "He is a very big player for us, not just this season but the seasons before as well. He has improved a lot with the ball as well.
"He has stepped up this year. As have [Emmanuel] Adebayor, Gael [Clichy] and all these kind of players. We need them so badly."Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 30 Jan 2008