It's Feb. 10, and after a 2-0 victory over Everton, Manchester United are now 12 points clear of second-place Manchester City with 12 matches yet to play.
Barring a meltdown of epic proportions, United are going to win the Premier League title this year with very little drama. Talk about an anticlimactic finish to this season.
Everton have given United trouble in recent memory, but the Red Devils weren't to be denied and certainly weren't going to let the Toffees work any late magic.
United would come close to striking early. In the 10th minute, Robin van Persie would miss an attempt at an empty net after deking keeper Tim Howard, but hit the right bar with his shot. It was a pretty shocking miss for the Premier League's most dangerous goalscorer.
But United would find the net soon after.
After a van Persie free kick was cleared, United would quickly move up the pitch again and van Persie would find himself on the ball in the box. This time, he would find Ryan Giggs wide open, and the wily old veteran would score the first goal of the match.
The van Persie show would continue. Just before halftime, Rafael would find a streaking van Persie down the middle of the field on a counterattack, and again the Dutch striker would deke Tim Howard to the right.
This time, however, van Persie's shot would find the back of the net, despite an Everton defender's best efforts to keep it out.
Everton would create several chances in the second half, but the United defense would not crack. The race for the Premier League title might not be over, but it's safe to say the Red Devils have lapped the competition at this point.
Robin van Persie, Manchester United: A
For my money, van Persie was the man of the match. He scored a goal, should have had a second and set up the Giggs' score. His movement was fantastic throughout, and were it not for a couple of close offsides calls, he may have added to his tally.
Manchester United are such a different team with him on the pitch this season. He just brings a threat that, coupled with the other talent on the roster, is too much for opponents to deal with.
Rafael, Manchester United: A
You could make the argument that Rafael deserves credit as man of the match as well. He shut down Everton's left side in this one, brilliantly sprung van Persie on United's second goal and found him with a chip down the right side on the first goal.
He won't get the publicity of van Persie, but Rafael was brilliant in this match.
Marouane Fellaini, Everton: C
He was generally shut down by Phil Jones on Sunday. I repeat—he was generally shut down by Phil Jones. I think we all expect more from him than that, and outside a few chances and nice passes, he wasn't a factor. United made it a point to keep him quiet, but still, not a great performance by Fellaini.
David de Gea and Manchester United Defense: A-
David de Gea made a few nice saves, and every time it seemed Everton was taking a shot, a United player was blocking it before it reached goal. Everton didn't play their best game but were able to mount pressure in bursts, and United never cracked.
A positive effort for a unit that has been shaky this season. They'll need to replicate that performance with a date against Real Madrid this week.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are hoping the race for the last three Champions League is more compelling than the race for the league title.
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