They may have been beaten by Arsenal on Sunday but, barring a minor miracle at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, Manchester United will underline their status as the stubbornly dominant force in English football when they reach a third Champions League final in four seasons.
After one of United's most convincing European away performances in Gelsenkirchen, last week, the formality of the second leg will surely be completed even if key players are rested.
Once a Wembley date with Barcelona is confirmed, Sir Alex Ferguson can then turn his attention to what appears to be a season-defining showdown against Chelsea on Sunday. Despite their opponent's recent revival, it is United who remain favourites, and a 19th league title, their fourth in five years, should be secured.
It is when put into this context that the true extent of Ferguson's achievements become clear but does it also demand a reappraisal of the club's owners too? The hundreds of millions of pounds of debt the Glazers saddled United with were, according to many, sure to bring decline by restricting the club's ability to compete in the transfer market. Yet United continue to accumulate silverware.