(Reuters) - Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic thinks Tottenham Hotspur will take the race for the Premier League title right down to the wire, making the run-in far more difficult for the West London club than it was two years ago.
Antonio Conte's side beat Everton 3-0 at Goodison on Sunday but Spurs extended their league winning streak to nine games by downing Arsenal 2-0 in the North London derby to remain four points behind with games remaining.
In the 2014-15 season, Chelsea and Manchester City were level at the top in January but City faded to finish fourth well behind the champions.
Serbian Matic does not expect any similar reprieve in this campaign.
"I think this year is more difficult," he told London's Evening Standard.
"We finished 2015 eight points clear of Man City. I'm not sure this will be the case with Tottenham.
"I'm sure they will not give up until end of the season. At this moment it's hard, but we will see. Each time we win, they win, two years ago that was not the case."
Chelsea face the bottom two clubs in the league as well as West Bromwich Albion and Watford in their four remaining games.
Tottenham travel to West Ham United and host Manchester United before taking on champions Leicester City and ending their season at Hull City.
"This season is hard. We win and Tottenham win, they are always close," Matic added.
"But the important thing is that we are playing well, we take points and we will see if they can drop some points
"They have some difficult games, home and away, so everything is open until the end."
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney)