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Claudio Ranieri: 'Chelsea can be caught in Premier League title race'

Claudio Ranieri watches on during the Premier League game between Bournemouth and Leicester City on December 13, 2016
© SilverHub
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri insists that Chelsea can still be caught in the Premier League title race despite sitting five points clear at the top of the table.

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has insisted that Chelsea can still be caught in the Premier League title race this season.

Antonio Conte's side stormed to the top of the table courtesy of a 13-match winning streak, which finally came to an end at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur in their last league outing.

Despite that defeat, Chelsea still boast a five-point lead over second-placed Liverpool, but Ranieri warned that there is still a long way to go in the race as he prepares to welcome his former club to the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

"Yes, they can be caught. They started not so well but after a few matches Conte understood the team and the players. They made a good start and lost to Tottenham after 13 [straight wins] which is an amazing achievement. We expect a lot from them but we are ready to fight and win," he told reporters.

"Yes it's harder [to win from the front]. But I think everyone wants to be up there and not behind, that is much better. But the league is very long and they must be careful. I am a sporting man, I want the best to win the title but of course, if I had to give someone the title, why not Chelsea?

"I expect a strong reaction from them. They are old champions and they want to make up for defeat. Last season was something strange. This season it's normal. Chelsea are in the first position and Leicester are there (15th) - that's all, last season was strange. We'll come back, don't worry."

Chelsea are currently nine points better off than eventual champions Leicester were at the same stage of last season.

Chelsea's John Terry during the EFL Cup match between Chelsea and Bristol Rovers at Stamford Bridge on August 23, 2016
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CChelsea38303585335293
2Tottenham HotspurSpurs38268486266086
3Manchester CityMan City38239680394178
4Liverpool382210678423676
5Arsenal38236977443375
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381815554292569
7Everton3817101162441861
8Southampton381210164148-746
9Bournemouth381210165567-1246
10West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom38129174351-845
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham38129174764-1745
12Leicester CityLeicester38128184863-1544
13Stoke CityStoke381111164156-1544
14Crystal Palace38125215063-1341
15Swansea CitySwansea38125214570-2541
16Burnley38117203955-1640
17Watford38117204068-2840
RHull City3897223780-4334
RMiddlesbrough38513202753-2628
RSunderland3866262969-4024