A Yaya Toure brace put Manchester City on the verge of their first league title in 44 years, with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle on Sunday.
City were on top throughout but had to fend off multiple dangerous Newcastle counter-attacks, with Joe Hart denying Hatem Ben Arfa in the first half.
David Silva and Gareth Barry had already gone close before the away side finally found the breakthrough when Toure brilliantly curled a shot past Tim Krul after 70 minutes.
The Ivorian midfielder then converted from close range as City took advantage of Newcastle's push for an equaliser, with the win seeing Roberto Mancini's men climb three points clear of Manchester United with the latter to play later on Sunday.
Having established an effective defensive shield in the opening 10 minutes, City slowly began to grow into the game in an attacking sense. The fluid movement of their front four resulted in Samir Nasri threading a pass through to Silva, whose left-footed shot across goal was palmed away by Krul.
Silva turned creator to lay on a pass for Sergio Aguero, who forced another save out of Krul but it was not until close to the half hour mark that Newcastle had their first sight of goal.
Gael Clichy was dispossessed by Ben Arfa, who raced past Joleon Lescott before picking out Demba Ba, but the Senegalese striker shot just over the crossbar from 25 yards.
Ben Arfa then forced an excellent save from Hart on the volley after Ba's blocked effort had ricocheted into his path.
The two chances undoubtedly lifted the home supporters and Newcastle began to show more energy and movement as an attacking force.
City, though, remained threatening and only determined blocks from Fabricio Coloccini and Davide Santon - the latter on the goal line - prevented Barry from opening the scoring with two shots after a Silva cut-back pass.
The second half started much like the first, with Cisse and Ba frustratingly isolated and losing their battle against Lescott and Vincent Kompany. City were beginning to show signs of anxiety themselves, though, as despite their control over the flow of play an opening goal continued to elude them.
Toure pushed up into a more attacking role after Nigel de Jong replaced Nasri just after the hour mark, but it was the Dutch substitute's misplaced touch that handed Newcastle the first chance of the second half.
Gutierrez escaped down the left and, with the help of Ba, worked the ball across the edge of the penalty area to Ben Arfa, who turned Clichy but thumped his shot over the bar from a tight angle.
That is not to say, however, that Mancini's tactical change did not work. With 20 minutes to play and Edin Dzeko thrown into the fray in search of a goal, Toure worked a neat one-two with Aguero before curling a perfectly placed shot into the bottom corner of Krul's goal from 20 yards.
The goal forced Newcastle to open the game up in search of an equaliser and City came close to putting the game to bed less than five minutes after Toure's opener. Dzeko had already blasted wide before Silva picked out Aguero with an exquisitely chipped through ball only for the Argentine to shoot wide with only Krul to beat.
Micah Richards, added to the defence from the bench, had to make a brilliant block to deny substitute Shola Ameobi before City raced up the field where Toure sealed the points and virtually won the Premier League title.
Earlier in the day, Sir Bobby Robson was immortalised by Newcastle, with a statue honouring the former Magpies manager outside the ground.
Sir Bobby's widow Lady Elsie Robson was joined by former players and staff, and she thanked the club for their 'wonderful tribute to her husband.'
The former England manager, who led the Magpies into the Champions League during his five year reign at St James' Park, died in 2009 after a prolonged battle with cancer.