QPR hopeful of spoiling Ferguson party

Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates 26 years in charge of Manchester United this month, and the club enshrined the manager in club lore by unveiling a statue of the Scotsman outside of Old Trafford on Friday.

The arrival of the statue comes one year after the club renamed the north stand of the Theater of Dreams in honor of Ferguson. United took the Old Trafford pitch shortly after to earn a 1-0 victory over Sunderland.

Now, the Red Devils will face a struggling QPR side on Saturday that is hopeful of pulling a shocking upset against last season's runners-up.

QPR comes into the clash in a transitional period. A supremely poor start to the season has left the club bottom of the table with just four points, costing manager Mark Hughes his job on Friday after failing to lead QPR to a single victory in 12 Premier League matches this term.

Manchester United is a class - or several - above QPR in every aspect, but a potential hangover from Friday's statue unveiling paired with a motivated Rangers side looking to spoil the party could spell disappointment for the 19- time league champions. After all, the Red Devils are coming off of a 1-0 loss to Norwich City at Carrow Road last weekend.

But despite dropping out of first place with the road loss, and even with Chelsea failing to pick up a league win in its last four outings, Ferguson was still adamant that it will be a three-horse race for the title this season with United, Chelsea and Manchester City pushing one another each step of the way.

"Certainly a few week ago we were thinking it looked like a three-horse race," the boss told reporters on Friday. "I don't think that is out of the question either because there are only a few points between the three teams anyway."

Manchester City sits atop the Premier League table with 28 points, one point clear of United and four points clear of Chelsea. With the Blues and the Citizens set to meet on Sunday, a victory for Ferguson's side on Saturday would place a great deal of pressure on both sides to pick up maximum points at Stamford Bridge.

"Chelsea have got a big squad of players," Ferguson continued. "They have a lot of experience and have brought in a couple of young players - Oscar and Hazard. There is a bit of youth throughout their team now, there is a sprinkling of youth coming through and a good blend of experience and young players. So there is no way you can possibly dismiss Chelsea."

One club looking to wedge its way into the title conversation is West Bromwich. The Baggies have won three straight Premier League contests to rise to fourth place with 23 points, and they will be tested on Saturday when they head to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland.

Also on Saturday, Arsenal looks to build upon its North London derby victory when it heads to Villa Park to face Aston Villa, Everton hopes to bounce back from a disappointing loss last time out when it welcomes Norwich to Goodison Park, Fulham aims to snap a four-game winless run in Premier League play when it goes to the Britannia to take on Stoke City, and Reading attempts to go unbeaten in five straight league games when travels to the DW Stadium to face Wigan.

Prior to Sunday's clash between City and Chelsea, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will head back to the Liberty Stadium as the Reds look to make it eight straight league games without a loss when they face Swansea City.

Newcastle will try to avoid a third straight league defeat when it takes on Southampton at St. Mary's on Sunday, and West Ham will attempt to hand London rivals Tottenham a fourth straight defeat when the two sides meet at White Hart Lane.