By Richard Clarke

Mathieu Flamini has made it "his priority" to stay at Arsenal.

The in-form midfielder capped a fine personal display against Newcastle on Tuesday night with a stunning strike from long-range.

The 23-year-old has become the engine of Arsène Wenger's side this season, driving them forward with unstinting athleticism.

However Flamini's deal is up in the summer so, as of January 1, he was free to talk to other clubs and even sign a pre-contract agreement. Yet, from the way he spoke after that 3-0 win at Emirates Stadium, it is unlikely to happen.

"My priority is to stay here," he said. "I'm very happy here. I'm happy to play in the team and everything is good. My representatives are talking with the Club and I hope everything will be good. I want to play game after game. The rest, we will see later."

Fabregas' fine form has been assessed and re-assessed this term, but there has been little analysis of his partner. After the game the Spaniard described Flamini as "hyperactive", the man himself chose "bossy". Either way you get the impression these good friends have become complementary players in the Arsenal midfield.

"We are very close on and off the pitch," said the former Marseille man. "We chill with each other off the pitch. That is important. But when we have to speak on the pitch we are doing it and finding a solution.

"I'm bit more defensive than him. He goes forward more so I cover Cesc, Alex and Tomas in the midfield. I'm trying be the insurance policy and be a little bit bossy. That's my role. But I'm also trying to help the players up front and help Cesc as well because he is going forward.

"Sometimes he's tired and I try to help. Sometimes it's him and sometimes it's me. But I think we are a very good complement for each other."

And, after that stunning goal on Tuesday night, for once the compliments were directed towards Flamini.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
Richard Clarke 30 Jan 2008