Manchester United closed in on their 20th title when they won 2-0 at struggling Stoke City on Sunday and need only seven points from their remaining six matches to reclaim the Premier League crown.
Michael Carrick put United ahead with a scrappy goal after four minutes and Robin van Persie ended his 10-match scoring drought with a 66th minute penalty to seal the points from a game United dominated from start to finish.
They now have 80 points from 32 games, 15 clear of current champions Manchester City, who have 65 with seven matches to play.
At the other end, Sunderland boosted their survival chances with a convincing 3-0 win at arch-rivals Newcastle United, their biggest win in a Tyne-Wear derby at St James' Park since 1966 and their first there since 2000.
That win, thanks to goals from Stephane Sessegnon, Adam Johnson and David Vaughan, together with Stoke's defeat, lifted Sunderland into 15th place with 34 points.
Stoke, who have now taken just one point from a possible 21, slipped back to 16th with 34 points, level with Aston Villa and just three clear of FA Cup finalists Wigan Athletic.
Queens Park Rangers and Reading, who both have 24 points, occupy the bottom two places in the table.
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