Benitez prepares for Chelsea baptism of fire
© AFP

Rafael Benitez will began his reign as Chelsea interim manager on Sunday, when champions Manchester City, fresh from a draw with Real Madrid that scuppered their hopes of reaching the UEFA Champions League last 16 for the second season in a row, arrive in west London with a four-point lead over the hosts.

Former Liverpool coach Benitez, 52, is only under contract until the end of the current season after replacing Roberto Di Matteo, sacked on Wednesday after European champions Chelsea lost 3-0 at Juventus in the Champions League.

Manchester United can overtake cross-town rivals City, if only for a day, at the summit when they face a bottom of the table QPR still looking for a first league win this season under Old Trafford old boy Mark Hughes on Saturday.

The match will be United's first since Friday's scheduled unveiling of a statue of manager Sir Alex Ferguson who, in contrast to the managerial maelstrom elsewhere, has presided over the club for 26 years.

"He's a great example for all managers and it's great to work with him," said Nemanja Vidic, the United captain, of his 71-year-old Scottish boss.

"You learn something new from him every day. I have learnt a lot from him, not just as a footballer but in life (in general)."

WBA seek to maintain surprise momentum
West Bromwich Albion, the surprise package among the top four, will look to continue their impressive start under former Chelsea assistant manager Steve Clarke when they travel to Sunderland.

Arsenal and Everton will try to press their top four claims against Aston Villa and Norwich respectively with Gunners manager Arsene Wenger buoyed by the fact the top teams all seem to be dropping points.

"With what is going on in the league, it looks like the team that can show consistency has a chance and if we are able to show consistency now we have a chance to come back to the top teams," said Wenger.

Sunday sees Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers taking his team to former club Swansea, with both sides in mid-table.

Meanwhile strugglers Southampton will look to build on last week's win over QPR at home to Newcastle as London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham meet at White Hart Lane. 

English Premier League fixtures
Saturday
Aston Villa v Arsenal
Everton v Norwich
Manchester United v QPR
Stoke v Fulham
Sunderland v West Brom
Wigan v Reading

Sunday
Swansea v Liverpool
Southampton v Newcastle
Chelsea v Manchester City
Tottenham v West Ham