It is by no means a done deal but it will take something of catastrophic proportions to deny Manchester United a 20th league title.
Last year, United achieved Sir Alex Ferguson’s ambition of knocking Liverpool off their “f***ing perch,” surpassing the Scousers’ tally of 18 titles.
Notching up 20 would merely underline the stature of the red side of Manchester for being in a league of their own. Ordinarily, the Red Devils bagging another crown (it will be the 13th under Fergie’s tenure) would not be a cause for widespread celebration.
In England, success always breeds contempt and United have had a lot of success since generations of under-achievement were reversed by their firebrand manager in 1993.
The runners-up that year were Aston Villa, showing that just as some things remain the same, others change radically.
While United have posted an unprecedented record of consistency, the glamour boys of Birmingham have gone into a tailspin. What would Villa give today for a top five finish, let alone the runners up slot?
So if, as expected, this season’s stand-in club captain Patrice Evra lifts the Premiership trophy, there will be a general shrugging of shoulders and mealy mouthed statements of condescension from the BBC Match of the Day’s old boys’ network of commentators.
(Hasn’t anyone else had enough of Messrs Hansen, Lawrenson and Shearer? All three of them, either through self-love or an unquestioning adoration of Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, have a warped view of the nation’s best football team. This can’t be healthy.)
There is though a good reason why the general “Oh, look, United have won again” apathy should be put to one side, if only for another 12 months.
Because United’s victory will be a victory for that rare thing in modern-day sport – it will be a victory for the team.
Striker Wayne Rooney’s performances have been central to the success of United but ego has been sacrificed to the greater good. It is always said that “the best team wins” but often the best team is dominated by a best player, a talisman.
That hasn’t really been the case for the Old Trafford outfit this season. Critics will argue that is because there has been a paucity of world-class talent in United’s First XI.
More seasoned observers will point to the club’s remarkable points tally as evidence of success being allied to an unyielding team ethos.
Certainly United’s “all for one and one for all” attitude has been in stark contrast to some of the most disgraceful displays of arrogance and self-delusion witnessed since the birth of the Premier League.
The implosion of Manchester City has been led by a 21-year-old playboy who gives every impression of having been weaned too early.
Mario Balotelli is a baby trapped in the body of a grown man. He suffers because no one loves him, or rather no one loves him as much as he loves himself. And he finds this very difficult to understand.
It was entirely fitting that the Italian should get another red card, for general petulance, as his team apparently threw away the title by losing at Arsenal at the weekend, just hours after United continued their winning ways.
Balotelli’s motivation is at odds with the collective spirit that pervades the team across the city. So why does his manager, Roberto Mancini, play him? Because of moments of spontaneous brilliance? Mancini must be a fool.