November 17, 2017 / 9:24 AM / 10 months ago

Chelsea's title defence 'difficult' due to in-form City, says Willian

(Reuters) - Champions Chelsea face a stiff challenge to defend their Premier League title from in-form leaders Manchester City but will fight till the end in the race, midfielder Willian has said.

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Chelsea Training - Cobham Training Centre, London, Britain - October 17, 2017 Chelsea's Willian during training Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

City have won 10 of their opening 11 league games and sit at the top of the table, nine points ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea.

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Premier League - Chelsea vs Manchester City - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - September 30, 2017 Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi in action with Manchester City's John Stones Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

“It’s difficult,” Willian told BBC’s Football Focus. “Manchester City are playing very well but I think we can fight for the title until the end.”

Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are second and third respectively, a point ahead of Antonio Conte’s men.

“It is difficult to play when you were champion last season and to fight for the title again as every team wants to win against Chelsea,” added the Brazil international.

Chelsea travel to West Bromwich Albion, who are 16th in the league, on Saturday.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly

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