With United owners the Glazer family making a rare appearance at Old Trafford, Danny Welbeck and Nani were also on the mark as Sir Alex Ferguson’s team closed in on a 20th English league title.
The result means that should United and second-placed City achieve the same results in their next fixtures on Sunday, Ferguson’ side could make mathematically certain of that title with victory in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on April 30.
Earlier, Carlos Tevez hit a hat-trick to move Manchester City within two points of United with a 6-1 drubbing of Norwich.
The striker set City on their way with a swerving shot which bamboozled John Ruddy before combining superbly with Sergio Aguero for his compatriot to lash home an unstoppable effort from outside the box.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, Wolves claimed only their second point in nine matches under interim manager Terry Connor but their drab draw with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light means they remain eight points from safety with just four games remaining.
West Brom midfielder Graham Dorrans added to QPR’s growing relegation fears with a superb winner to earn his side a hard-fought 1-0 win at the Hawthorns.
The Scotland international settled the contest midway through the first half with a 30-yard strike. QPR should have picked up at least a point with Bobby Zamora causing plenty of problems but spurning several opportunities.
Blackburn were also plunged further into relegation trouble as they were soundly beaten 3-0 by Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.
And Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet denied relegation-haunted Wolves an invaluable victory with a fine late save which saw the match end 0-0.
The Belgium international, who had earlier seen Sylvan Ebanks-Blake fire wastefully wide from close range, clawed away Steven Fletcher’s 81st-minute header to ensure the game ended in stalemate.
In The Phuket News tipping competition, gafferworld’s lead continues to diminish at the top of the overall leaderboard, with MRB now just 16 points behind. The winner will receive a return flight to the UK, courtesy of Albatross Lufthansa City Center.
For the April competition there is another B3,000 voucher to be spent at the Peppers Bar & Restaurant, Phuket’s premier sports bar. At the moment Farang2005 and scottkip are equal at the top, though several others are within striking distance.