Sir Alex Ferguson might now think his side are engaged in a two-horse race for the title with Liverpool
, but a five-point lead that was secured with yet another five-star performance would suggest otherwise.
The champions of England, Europe and the world are looking unstoppable, and not just because they have extended their record to 14 consecutive clean sheets in the League.
The pathfinder: Paul Scholes drills home the first United goal, as Rio Ferdinand looks on, and paves the way for another powerful statement of title intent
It is not even the manner in which Paul Scholes scores from corners with 25-yard volleys or the sight of Wayne Rooney scoring with his first touch on his return from injury.
It is not even the addition of Dimitar Berbatov to an attack that conquered the planet in 2008.
It is the fact that Ferguson can make seven changes to his side and still make mincemeat of the opposition.
Last night the transition was as seamless as the football was fluent. Wonderful stuff.
This was embarrassing for a Fulham
side that must have listened a little too intently to manager Roy Hodgson's gushing appraisal of United on the eve of this match.
The visitors collapsed the moment Scholes struck, deflated seemingly as much by the very obvious flaws of the goalkeeper as the sheer brilliance of his executioner.
Scholes celebrates his goal at Old Trafford
One can only imagine what Ferguson now has in mind for Scholes. Another call for a knighthood? Or perhaps an extension to his contract?
If he considers Ryan Giggs worthy of such an honour, he is unlikely to begrudge Scholes such recognition when he too has been so outstanding and loyal a servant, as well as a scorer of spectacular goals.
This was another demonstration of his remarkable repertoire. A player who cannot only dictate the tempo and direction of a game but can also meet a corner with a strike so sweet it even had his manager drooling.
'He practises that routine every day,' said Ferguson. 'He even tries to hit me sometimes.'
Edwin van der Sar: Another clean sheet
Devoted followers of Scholes will remember how he did something similar at Bradford and at Aston Villa
, proving beyond doubt that luck does not even begin to come into it.
All those years on the training pitch clearly count, but nothing like as much as the genius the little ginger midfielder was born with.
Here, again, was a reason why he was once the most revered English midfielder in the Premier League.
Even if keeper Mark Schwarzer winces when he watches a repeat of the ball striking his body before spinning across the line, the ferocious fashion in which Scholes converted Michael Carrick's perfectly- weighted delivery will impress him. It was an absolute screamer.
Beforehand, Ferguson gave Fulham half a chance.
'When you look at it, the outcome is a no-brainer,' Ferguson said in the same programme notes that included a dismissal of Chelsea
as a title threat.
'Except that football doesn't work that way.' Only it does when it comes to this Manchester United
The goal from Scholes would have been enough, so masterful have United become in winning matches 1-0. But it came after 12 minutes and there was clearly an appetite for more.
While Bobby Zamora threatened briefly with a header that bounced wide of Edwin van der Sar's right-hand post, United could have scored on three or four occasions before Berbatov increased their advantage in the 30th minute.
Dimitar Berbatov scores United's second goal as the champions moved five points clear at the top
Breaking through the Fulham defence was proving ludicrously easy, not least because of the crisis of confidence that Schwarzer appeared to be enduring.
Had it not been for a goal-line clearance from Aaron Hughes, Berbatov would have struck after the goalkeeper knocked a cross from Cristiano Ronaldo against John Pantsil.
MATCH FACTS MANCHESTER UNITED (4-4-2): Van der Sar 6; O'Shea 7 (Evans 62min, 6), Ferdinand 7, Vidic 7, Evra 7; Ronaldo 7, Carrick 7 (Gibson 69, 6), Scholes 8, Park 6; Berbatov 7 (Rooney 61, 7), Tevez 7. Booked: Park.
FULHAM (4-1-4-1): Schwarzer 4; Pantsil 5 (Dacourt 67, 5), Hangeland 5, Hughes 5, Kallio 5; Baird 6; Gera 5 (Brown 86), Murphy 6 (Milsom 80), Davies 6; Dempsey 5; Zamora 5. Booked: Pantsil.
Man of the match: Paul Scholes. Referee: Andre Marriner.
Schwarzer then went some way to redeeming himself when he denied Ronaldo with a fine save, and was spared by the assistant referee when Carlos Tevez was penalised for being offside prior to burying his shot in the back of the net.
In then failing to pounce on a ball from John O'Shea in the mistaken belief that Hughes was going to clear, however, Schwarzer again suffered something of a nightmare.
Berbatov celebrates as United go 2-0 up
If the initial chip from Scholes was excellent, the pass from O'Shea really should have been dealt with.
But the breakdown in communication suddenly presented Berbatov with an expected opportunity and the striker was only too glad to punish them for their incompetence.
Berbatov then had a goal disallowed, but it mattered not. The second half became an exercise in conserving energy and an opportunity for Rooney to test that troublesome hamstring.
Three and easy: Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring United's third goal with his first touch
That he scored with his first touch in the 63rd minute, meeting a viciously-struck ball from Ji-sung Park with a close-range finish at the far post, merely underlined United's incredible strength.
'Hopefully with the squad we've got we can cope with any injuries,' said Ferguson.
It would seem so.
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Sir Alex Ferguson watched Manchester United move five points clear of their great rivals Liverpool