Such a position seemed unthinkable in October when Sir Alex Ferguson's side were beaten 6-1 at home by their bitter rivals but, as often happens, United have found their rhythm after Christmas and last weekend's win over West Brom allowed them to hit the front.
Wayne Rooney's brace - his 25th and 26th goals of the season - helped them to victory over the Baggies, and the England striker has been set a 40-goal target by his manager as United chase a 20th title.
The player himself, though, insists that team success will always come before personal glory.
"To be honest, I obviously know what my best tally is and how many I have to score to reach it," he told www.manutd.com.
"But I am not focusing on that at the minute. I'm focused on the 10 games left and hopefully getting those points to help us be successful. If it happens, then great, but the most important thing for us is winning trophies."
Wolves head into the clash second from bottom and a point adrift of safety after last weekend's 2-0 home defeat to Blackburn.
On Saturday, Fulham can return to eighth spot with a win over Swansea, having surrendered the position last weekend owing to their injury-time defeat to Aston Villa.
The Cottagers have been no strangers to high-end finishes over recent seasons, and goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer concedes that success is now expected.
"A top-10 finish was our target at the start of the season, and there's no doubt that's where we want to be at the end," the Australian told his club's official website, www.fulhamfc.com.
"We're looking to get 40 points as quickly as possible and after that we can start thinking about possibilities of where we could finish.
"Over the past four years we've had a good record in terms of our finishing position in the league. We want to continue building on the progress we've already made and to be able to finish high again is invaluable really."
Swansea go into the game level on points with the Cottagers - 36 - after their stunning win over title hopefuls Manchester City last weekend.
That success was achieved despite Scott Sinclair missing a first-half penalty but, should City win another penalty in London, the former Chelsea man will be willing to step up again.
"I won't be shirking my responsibility. If we get another penalty I'll be willing to take it," he told www.swanseacity.net.
Bottom side Wigan host West Brom at the DW Stadium, desperate for just a second home win of the season to boost their survival hopes.
Athletic engineered a last-day escape from the drop zone in 2011, but manager Roberto Martinez wants to secure a victory against Roy Hodgson's men in a bid to avoid such dramatics this time around.
"Every game at home is going to be crucial, we must manage our form, we have one win and that is not the return we are looking for," he said.
"Every game we have at home, we need to find a way to be successful. We can control our own destiny."
In the weekend's other game, Newcastle host Norwich on Sunday looking to recover from their last-minute, 2-1 defeat to Arsenal on Monday.
They missed the chance to move to within two points of fifth-placed Chelsea as a result, but goalkeeper Tim Krul knows that such events are part and parcel of the game.
"We are playing in arguably the best and toughest league in the world and things like this happen," he said on www.nufc.co.uk.
"It's important that we now turn our attention to Sunday's game against Norwich.
"They have done fantastically well in their first season back in the top flight and, of course, beat us down at Carrow Road back in December."
Saturday's Premier League Fixtures
Fulham vs Swansea
Wigan vs West Brom
Sunday's Premier League Fixtures
Wolverhampton vs Man Utd
Newcastle vs Norwich