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Azpilicueta: Special day, special relationship

Cesar Azpilicueta expects Chelsea to work hard to try to carry our winning rhythm into the new year, having played a key role in setting up our sixth successive league victory at Stamford Bridge.

Speaking after he sparked a second-half improvement from the Blues with another assist as we beat Brighton on Boxing Day, Azpilicueta stressed the need to keep up our momentum.

The talented defender has enjoyed plenty of time on the pitch in 2017 and had a run of 74 Premier League starts from 2015 up to late November. Nevertheless, he is still eager to end the year on a high against Stoke, with Arsenal and Norwich to come in a frantic fortnight of domestic action.

‘Boxing Day is one of the most special days in football and it is always a pleasure to play in front of our home fans, especially during the festive period,’ said our No. 28. ‘Obviously, we are very happy that we keep playing games and to win those games would be even better.’

Antonio Conte’s side will be chasing our fifth win from six matches at home to the Potters on Saturday and, following our rare failure to take all three points when we went goalless at Goodison Park last week, Azpilicueta was particularly happy with the Brighton result.

‘It’s very important to keep winning games,’ said the Spaniard. ‘Especially after the draw against Everton, we really needed these three points. I always try to find ways to help us score and I’m happy with my sixth assist, but the most important thing is that we won.’

Azpilicueta was right to highlight his track record for supplying goals. He can be credited for the assist in half of the dozen times Alvaro Morata has scored since moving to Cobham this summer, showing signs of a strong connection with his team-mate for club and country.

‘Yes, I do appreciate that we have a special relationship. Strikers need to receive the ball in the box and we look for ways to put him in the best possible position.

‘Now we are focusing on our own job, which is to keep winning points, and let’s see where we are near the end of the season.’

By Danny Wittenberg

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