Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Premier League leaders Leicester City to win this season's title with three games to spare and touted West Ham United to finish fourth ahead of his old club.
Ferguson won 13 Premier League titles during his 27-year reign at the Old Trafford helm and, when appearing at a Cheltenham Festival preview, was asked if he believed the Foxes could seal the crown, per the Sunday Times (h/t Goal's Chris Davie): “Of course they can. I believe they will win it with three games to spare.”
Leicester have suffered just three defeats in the league this season and head into the final nine games of their campaign hoping the five points distancing them from second-placed Tottenham Hotspur will be enough to triumph.
Ferguson joined a long line of names backing Leicester for the top prize, but it was more of a shock to hear the Manchester United figurehead suggest his own team might miss out on a top-four finish. Jonathan Northcroft of the Sunday Times wrote: "Ferguson, now a Manchester United director, also expects West Ham to finish in the top four, with his own club—and Manchester City—missing out."
The Red Devils are currently in sixth, two points below the Hammers and four points off fourth-placed Manchester City, a deficit he doesn't feel manager Louis van Gaal's side is capable of overturning.
Ferguson has never been known to pull punches when it comes to airing his views, but some United supporters may see these comments as a lack of faith in the club's current management and squad.
That being said, it's difficult to criticise the Premier League icon for speaking candidly on the matter, particularly when United have lost their last two on the trot, while West Ham have looked great under first-season boss Slaven Bilic.
Ferguson's show of faith in Leicester's cause is a major compliment coming from one of English football's most decorated figures. Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol added further spice to the topic after lining up Leicester and Manchester United's schedules:
Kaveh Solhekol @SkyKaveh
Alex Ferguson asked if Leicester can win title: "Of course.They'll win it with 3 games to spare". Their 3rd last game? Man United away #lcfc2016-3-13 09:17:34
The Scot's prediction means he's of the impression Claudio Ranieri's Foxes will glean sufficient points from upcoming fixtures against Newcastle United, Crystal Palace, Southampton, Sunderland, West Ham and Swansea City to clinch the crown.
Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker also highlighted the fact Leicester's fellow title contenders persist in dropping points following Manchester City's 0-0 stalemate at Norwich City on Saturday:
Gary Lineker @GaryLineker
How wonderfully considerate of Leicester's title challengers to continue to drop points.2016-3-12 14:37:23
Ferguson provided further admiration for what Leicester are doing after revealing his belief that midfield star N'Golo Kante has been his Player of the Year.
Those at the King Power Stadium and Upton Park will hope Ferguson's prediction comes to fruition, while for once, the Theatre of Dreams is looking to prove one of its most exalted icons wrong.