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Frenchman insists title race is wide open

Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda believes the team’s recent poor form is down to the team “not defending so well”.

The Blues led the Premier League for the first two months of the season before allowing Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City to overtake them.

Despite still having conceded the least goals in the top flight, Malouda believes the Blues’ main strength is no longer their defence.

"We have one of the most prolific attacks in the league, our main strength was our defence in the first part of the season and I think the reason why we drop is because we are not defending so well," he told the club's official website.

The Frenchman also insisted that all was not lost in the Premier League this season, and that his side are very much still in the title race.

"It is an open race," Malouda said.

"We were on top for the first part of this season and now we have dropped so many points that now we are chasing Man United, Arsenal and Man City so I think it is going to be tight until the end of the season.

"We have the experience of last year when we ended up winning the league with one point ahead and at this period of the year we not so far ahead. I think it is going to be open because there are more teams involved in the race so I think it is going to be interesting to the end."

The Frenchman also believes that the rigours of a World Cup year could have taken a toll on some players, as he said: "Maybe it is a factor but that is not the main reason.

"I think the other teams in the league improve every year and try to challenge the top teams and try to get into the top four. Some teams get the results of their efforts and that is normal when you have more competition.

"We know that the league is the most difficult in the world and there is more competition this year but that doesn't mean the same team won't be on the top at the end. It is more difficult for the players who play the international games but we are used to that and that is the reason why we come to the top clubs, to play for national sides."

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