Unless there is a collapse to rival the one that gifted Manchester City the title last season, surely nothing is going to stop Manchester United now.
This routine victory against an abject Queens Park Rangers, who possessed neither the quality nor the desire to make life remotely complicated for United, moved Sir Alex Ferguson's side 15 points clear of City, who simply must beat Chelsea tomorrow if they are to retain any hope of clinging on to their title.
The only worry for United, with the second leg of their Champions League tie against Real Madrid to come next week, was the sight of Robin van Persie clutching his hip as he limped off in the first half after an accidental collision with an unwitting cameraman in the buildup to their first goal. His substitution looked precautionary though, and that Van Persie played on for another 18 minutes before being replaced by Danny Welbeck suggests it was not a serious injury.
"Robin has collided with the cameraman in the dugout and has hurt his hip," said Ferguson, who expects the striker to be available against Real. "He seems to have hit the base of it and has a very bruised hip. He will be assessed tomorrow."
Against a more accomplished side, Van Persie's departure might have been the turning point. Yet QPR, bottom of the table and seven points behind Wigan Athletic in 17th place, were as clueless as ever and, although Harry Redknapp tried to search for the positives afterwards, time is running out for them. Redknapp is pinning QPR's hopes of survival on Bobby Zamora and Loïc Rémy forming a deadly partnership up front, but the former's body has taken such a battering in the last few months that he was barely able to break into a light jog here.
When Rémy was introduced after 61 minutes, it was for Zamora, who limped off with an ankle injury. QPR are clutching at straws.
Their desperate plight was summed up the presence of José Bosingwa in the lineup for the first time since 8 December. Redknapp had aimed fierce criticism at the Portuguese right-back after his refusal to sit on the bench against Fulham in December and fined him £130,000 – two week's wages – and yet here he was, back in the side, a forgiven man.
Bosingwa, to be fair, did not do a lot wrong; instead it was United's right-back who stole the show in the first half. After a fairly even start, United were firmly in control by the time they took the lead on 23 minutes with a stunning goal by Rafael da Silva. The danger looked to be over when Júlio César had beaten out a drive from Van Persie, who fell into a cameraman behind the goal as he shot, but the ball dropped to Da Silva 25 yards from goal and, with barely a moment's hesitation, the Brazilian unleashed a vicious, swerving volley into the top-right corner with his right foot. Redknapp sighed that Da Silva had "hit one out of the clouds" and Ferguson's verdict was equally glowing. "I said to him he must have closed his eyes," United's manager said.
United should have been out of sight by half-time. Shortly after his goal, Da Silva, having an eventful afternoon, charged up the right flank and sent over a delicious crossfield pass that dropped on to Van Persie's left boot, only for Júlio César to tip his cushioned finish wide. The Brazilian goalkeeper had earlier pushed over a looping header from Javier Hernández, Nemanja Vidic had headed inches wide, but all QPR had to offer was a Christopher Samba header that Da Silva cleared off the line.
It was too easy for United and the danger for them was their own complacency. They were given a warning when David de Gea had to make his one save, beating out a fierce drive from Rémy after his introduction as a substitute, and, sensing that his side had slightly lost their way, Ferguson brought on Wayne Rooney to restore focus.
With 10 minutes left, Ryan Giggs, making his 999th senior appearance, wrapped up the points, running on to Nani's fine pass and sweeping a shot past the helpless Júlio César. Giggs likes Loftus Road; one of the most memorable goals of the 39-year-old's career came at the end of a winding, breathtaking run 19 years ago.
There was still time for a curious chip from Giggs to hit the bar, but two goals were more than enough to beat QPR, who have not scored at home in the league since Boxing Day.
"We won't be bottom at the end of the season," said a defiant Redknapp, whose assertion that United will be top at the end of the season seemed rather less fanciful. This is United's title to lose and they are in no mood to throw it away.