Sir Alex Ferguson believes the entire Barclays Premier League season is building up to a dramatic Manchester derby day crescendo.
United, who face Tottenham on Sunday, are two points adrift of a City side who entertain Bolton 24 hours earlier. Yet after that, it is the Red Devils who appear to have the easier run, leaving the battle tantalisingly poised.
More and more it seems that crunch confrontation between the reds and the blues at the Etihad Stadium on Monday, April 30 will decide everything. Even Ferguson does not disagree, saying: "It does look that way."
He added: "It is going to be a massive game because you can't see City dropping a lot of points and you can't see us dropping a lot of points either.
"We are getting into consistent form now so it does point to that game."
So Ferguson is delighted to have a second unsung hero around in Michael Carrick. Much is made of Paul Scholes' refusal to embrace the glamorous lifestyle of so many modern-day professionals. Yet Carrick rarely attracts attention either.
It could be one of the reasons why the 30-year-old has not featured for England since failing to make an appearance at the 2010 World Cup. In fairness, Carrick has not always been that popular among the United faithful.
However, when the Red Devils take on his former club at White Hart Lane on Sunday, he is virtually certain to be in the starting line-up, just like he has for every major match United have played since his £18.6million arrival in 2006, a period in which he has won four Premier League titles and played in three Champions League finals.
"Michael is not a guy that seeks a lot of publicity," said Ferguson. "He is a quiet lad. He goes about his life in a similar way to Paul Scholes. It doesn't mean to say he is not recognised by us.
"You get players like that. Denis Irwin was much the same. He was not the type to trumpet his achievements. It is quite refreshing in the modern game that we have players who can rely on their ability not only by promoting or projecting themselves."