Top Four Standings Played Points
1. Manchester United 30 77
2. Manchester City 30 62
3. Tottenham Hotspur 31 57
4. Chelsea 30 55
Last season's top four finish:
1. Manchester City 89 points
2. Manchester United 89
3. Arsenal 70
4. Tottenham Hotspur 69
Remaining key fixtures
Manchester United play Manchester City at Old Trafford on Monday (April 8) and an eighth successive league win would put United 18 points clear of their closest rivals with seven matches to play.
City look likely to finish second, but the race for third and fourth places will continue probably until the final match with Tottenham having to play both City and Chelsea.
Arsenal, in fifth place just two points behind fourth, must play United and sixth-placed Everton.
Manchester United look set for their fifth title in seven seasons with a team that may not be the best they have ever had, but certainly one that must be respected for consistently grinding out victories.
When United beat Sunderland 1-0 last Saturday they became the first team since league football began in 1888 to have won 25 of their opening 30 matches -- and have not lost in the league since Norwich City beat them 1-0 at Carrow Road in November.
There have been two key elements this season compared to last, when United led City by eight points with six matches to play before faltering in the last few games to hand City the title on goal difference.
Robin van Persie's acquistion from Arsenal had a huge impact until his goals dried up a few weeks ago. Wayne Rooney, despite not being at his best, has still scored 16 goals in all competitions so far.
The other key aspect of their play has been in defence. Saturday's win over Sunderland was the sixth successive game in which young Spanish goalkeeper David De Gea has kept a clean sheet and his growing confidence has been hugely influential.
His improvement was recognised by Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque too, who recalled him to the senior squad for the recent World Cup qualifiers against Finland and France and his first appearance in the senior squad can not be too far away.
Nemanja Vidic's return after injury to the centre of defence alongside the rejuvenated Rio Ferdinand has also given the side some real steel at the back and despite not always playing scintillating soccer, what they have produced has been far too good for their opponents to handle.
City started well, were unbeaten in their opening 15 matches and briefly topped the table in mid-November, but a series of mistakes by England goalkeeper Joe Hart cost them points.
Losing skipper Vincent Kompany to injury for two months did not help and uncharacteristic poor displays resulting in defeats to Sunderland, Southampton and Everton affected their confidence.
Despite those setbacks City are just one match away from a second FA Cup final appearance in three seasons with a semi-final against Chelsea coming up on April 14, and as they showed in their 4-0 demolition of Newcastle last week, are not a busted flush just yet.