MANCHESTER United moved to within a point of a record 19th league title as first-half goals from Javier Hernandez and Nemanja Vidic proved enough to defeat nearest challengers Chelsea at Old Trafford.
Hernandez gave the Red Devils a flying start, putting them ahead with his 20th goal of the season after just 36 seconds.
Vidic powered home a second from Ryan Giggs' cross and although Frank Lampard pulled one back, a single draw from games against Blackburn next Saturday and Blackpool on the final day of the season at Old Trafford will secure a 12th Premier League crown for Sir Alex Ferguson and allow United to overtake Liverpool in overall successes.
Arsenal's slim hopes of remaining in the title race were ended in familiar circumstances as they lost 3-1 at Stoke.
Kenwyne Jones and Jermaine Pennant put the Potters ahead in the first half and although Robin van Persie pulled one back late on, Jon Walters produced an immediate response to ensure a comfortable finish for the hosts.
The defeat left the Gunners too far behind with two matches to go to be able to reach the top of the table and once again exposed weaknesses in Arsene Wenger's side which have been prevalent all too often this season.
Two-goal Steven Fletcher helped lift Wolves out of the Barclays Premier League bottom three with victory over local rivals West Brom at Molineux.
The Scotland international took his tally to four goals in four games to end a five- match run without a win for Mick McCarthy's side.
Adlene Guedioura was also on target for the home side while Albion's only reply came from a Peter Odemwingie penalty.