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Cesar Azpilicueta has played a key role in Chelseas recent revival. D.J. Fluker Jersey . Here, he tells Johnny Phillips about Antonio Contes tactics, the team spirit in the camp and plans for a late-season sprint for the title... This is not the Premier League season to be switching off. It changes by the week. Five contenders currently separated by just one point suggest that, even at this early stage, we could be witnessing the most competitive title chase in years.Take Chelsea. They entered October fresh from a dispiriting 3-0 defeat at Arsenal and were being written off by plenty of observers, but now the Blues head into the last game of the same month with three wins, three clean sheets and their heads held high after a 4-0 demolition of Manchester United. Cesar Azpilicueta scored a spectacular equaliser as Chelsea came from two goals down to beat Leicester 4-2 in the EFL Cup Third Round The key for the team has been the change in system. Manager Antonio Conte jettisoned his four-man defence after the Arsenal debacle and for the next game away at Hull lined up with three at the back; Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill. The three men have remained in place in the Premier League since that trip to Hull and the team has progressively improved against Leicester and then United.It is a system Azpilicueta has enjoyed operating in. I find it good. The most important thing for me is the team and since we changed the system we havent conceded goals in the Premier League, he told Sky Sports. The most important part of the system is the spirit of the team and the way we work. The tactics make a difference but what was most pleasing was the way the team work?made it happen. Cesar Azpilicueta I try to play my part in the team. The most important part of the system is the spirit of the team and the way we work. The tactics make a difference but what was most pleasing was the way the team work made it happen. Some players have different roles now but we have all week to work on that and we have a very clear idea what to do in the game. We have different options from the attacking fullbacks now.Ahead of Azpilicueta on the right hand side is Victor Moses, who has successfully adapted to the role of right wing-back and appears to be flourishing with the new-found responsibility. Victor has played most of the time as a winger but he has to defend in this role now and he needs help, Azpilicueta continues. Why Contes 3-4-3 works Chelseas switch to 3-4-3 has been a success. We analyse why its working so well. I have talked with him and explained a lot of the defensive side because he has to adapt to that now. Hes offensive-minded, we have seen that when he gets in those positions, but hes working hard and its great to have him in the side.Moses could have no better on-field tutor. It is two years now since Gary Neville described the Spaniard as as near to perfect as is possible when it comes to defending. Azpilicuetas performances dipped last season but his current form is as close to those near-perfect displays as is possible. For positional awareness and cleanness in the tackle there is no-one to touch him. So does he prefer his new role in the side to that of fullback? I dont mind - I want to help the team whatever the position is!You can add diplomacy to those qualities too. Azpilicueta is happier discussing the virtues of his team-mates. When NGolo Kante scored Chelseas fourth against United the entire outfield team joined in the celebrations. It was a popular goal. He will not change. Hes a worker, says Azpilicueta. But he knows when he has a chance to go forward that he can do it very well. On that occasion he scored an amazing goal. Its important for us as well that he can contribute an extra dimension like that because it gives us extra options.There were four different goalscorers against United. Thats really important because you always need to have a few options. We scored from set-pieces and individual excellence, thats great because you need to create those chances and score in different ways when needed. Watch highlights of Chelsea 4-0 Man Utd The euphoria of the United win was dampened in the midweek EFL Cup fourth round tie, when Conte made seven changes from the league match and Chelsea lost 2-1 at West Ham United. Frustrating?Yes, frustrating, because we have lost one of the three chances we had to win a trophy. I think we could have done better. When you lose that type of game you have to look to improve. We are in very good form in the league and we have to move forward from Wednesday and come back strong.What Chelsea fans want to know is whether or not Contes first season at Stamford Bridge will end with him landing the big one. Azpilicueta is happy to talk titles, but it comes with a caveat. Watch NOW TV Watch Sky Sports for just £6.99. No contract. Even though we are one point off the lead it still feels like we are a long way away. Id like to be higher, we have to keep improving. The two games we lost in a row and also the dropped points at Swansea hurt us a lot, he explains.We have to keep getting the points to be up there. We have the chance to prepare all week for a game because we dont have European football. We want to be there and we will try and arrive at the final sprint with a chance to win the title. But its a long way off, we have to think about Southampton away first.Azpilicueta may not want to look too far into the future, but if Chelsea can replicate Octobers form in the forthcoming months they will have a major say in the title reckoning. Also See: Why Contes 3-4-3 works Half-term Premier League grades J.T. Thomas Jersey . -- Tony Stewart is 20 pounds lighter and has a titanium rod in his surgically repaired right leg. Brandon Marshall Jersey . After Mondays hard-fought loss, the wait seemed longer than usual. Getting set to go their separate ways for a short Christmas break, the Raptors coach credited his team for their effort on a seemingly impossible three-game road trip, urging them to build on that success when they get back to work at the end of the week. http:///...p-jay-bromley-jersey . How great will be revealed in the next couple of days at the board of governors meeting in Pebble Beach, Calif. DETROIT -- Justin Verlander has been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball for the last six weeks.For most of Tuesday night, he was again.Verlander came into the game having gone 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA in his previous eight starts, then only allowed four hits and a walk in seven-plus innings to the Kansas City Royals.The problem was that three of the hits were home runs, and the Royals went on to a 6-1 victory.Most of the time, Ill take my chances with giving up four hits, but tonight, every mistake I made got hit into the seats, Verlander said. They say solo homers dont hurt you, but that obviously wasnt the case today. It was just one of those games.Raul Mondesi, Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer all homered off Verlander, but Mondesi was the only one who got an ice bath after the game. Batting in the third inning, he hit a hanging slider just inside the right-field foul pole for his first career homer.As soon as I hit it, I knew it was going to stay fair, so I just started running, he said. Im sure everyone could see me smiling when it went over the fence. That was a great feeling.Hitting it off Verlander made things even better.It makes it more special that I hit it in my first at-bat against that guy, he said. Hes a great, great pitcher, and I hit my first homer against him.Kendrys Morales added Kansas Citys fourth solo homer, hitting one off Mark Lowe in the ninth.Danny Duffy (10-1) outdueled Verlander, allowing three hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings. He struck out five.Youd expect a pitchers duel from those two, and thats really what it was, Royals manager Ned Yost said. Danny was great, and Verlander threw the ball really well. We only got four hits off him, but somehow, three of them were homers. You dont expect that.Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered for Detroits only run. The Tigers have lost seven of nine.We just need to win, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. Our offense is cold right now, and the opposing pitching has a lot to do with that, but sometimes you just go cold as a group.Kansas Citys second hit came in the fifth inning, when Gordon hit another slider into nearly the same spot as Mondesi. Gordon came into the game with a .205 career average against the Tigers ace.Duffy only needed 41 pitches over the first four innings, but Saltalamacchia put the Tigers on the board with a fifth-inning homer into the shrubs above the centerfield fence.Hosmer restored Kansas Citys two-run lead with a seventh-inning homer to center field that was estimated at 443 feet. It was thhe fifth hit of the game -- four solo homers and a double by Detroits J. Robert Thomas Jersey. D. Martinez.Victor Martinez got the games first single in the seventh. J.D. Martinez hit into a force at second, but moved to third on a wild pitch and a fly ball. Duffy, though, struck out James McCann to end the inning.Detroits defense fell apart at the start of the eighth. Gordon hit a routine grounder to third, but ended up on second when Saltalamacchia missed Casey McGehees throw. Alcides Escobar singled to left with Gordon taking third, then moved to second when Justin Upton lobbed the ball into the infield.Verlander walked Mondesi on his 112th and final pitch, loading the bases. Bruce Rondon came in from the bullpen and struck out Paolo Orlando, but Cheslor Cuthbert hit a blooper to shallow center that Ian Kinsler got under, but dropped.Kinsler recovered in time to force Escobar at third, but Gordon scored to make to it 4-1. Lorenzo Cain doubled to give the Royals a four-run lead.TRAINERS ROOMRoyals: Three pitchers with long-term injuries are scheduled to make rehab performances this week. Kris Medlen, out since May with a rotator cuff problem, started Tuesday night for Surprise in the Arizona League, while Jason Vargas (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to start for Double-A Northwest Arizona on Wednesday. Mike Minor (shoulder) is supposed to pitch for Triple-A Omaha on Friday. Vargas and Minor have both missed the entire season.Tigers: 1B Miguel Cabrera was out of the starting lineup Tuesday with a strained left biceps. The injury, sustained in Mondays loss to the Royals, is not considered serious. Cabrera said after the game that he hopes to play on Wednesday. ... Jordan Zimmermann (neck) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday, and is scheduled to throw another on Thursday.TIGERS TRADEThe Tigers announced shortly before the first pitch that they had traded utilityman Mike Aviles and minor-league catcher Kade Scivicque to Atlanta for infielder Erick Aybar. General manager Al Avila said the move was designed to give the Tigers more offense off the bench. Aybar is hitting .242 this season as opposed to Aviles .210.UP NEXTThe teams finish their three-game series on Wednesday evening, with Kansas Citys Yordano Ventura (8-9, 4.60) facing Anibal Sanchez (6-12, 6.31). Sanchez has allowed 23 homers in 19 starts and only lasted four innings in his last outing. Cheap NFL JerseysCheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From ChinaCheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys' ' '