Chelsea cemented their position on top of the Premier League as a superb double from Juan Mata clinched a 4-2 win over Andre Villas-Boas's Tottenham on Saturday.
However, Wayne Rooney ensured Manchester United remain hot on the leaders' heels with a 4-2 victory against Stoke in a game where the England star scored at both ends.
Roberto Di Matteo's Chelsea side were in danger of suffering their first league defeat of the season at the hands of former boss Villas-Boas, who was sacked after just nine months in charge last season, as Tottenham took a 2-1 lead in the second half at White Hart Lane.
But Spanish midfielder Mata struck twice in the space of three minutes to secure Chelsea's seventh win from eight league matches. "We lost our control at the start of the second half but for the rest of the match we took the initiative and deserved the win," said Di Matteo. "It was a test of our character to come here and play a team in form in a big derby. There have been a lot of issues around the team recently, but we responded perfectly."
At Old Trafford, Rooney went from zero to hero with a double strike after the United striker initially gave Stoke a shock lead in the 10th minute when he headed into his own net as he tried to clear from Ryan Shawcross.
Rooney was quickly back in United's good books with a headed equaliser - his first club goal of the season - from Robin van Persie's cross in the 27th minute.
Van Persie put United ahead on the stroke of half-time as the former Arsenal forward turned in Antonio Valencia's cross to claim his eighth goal in 10 matches for his new club. Danny Welbeck got United's third with a diving header from Rooney's cross in the 46th minute.
Michael Kightly's solo effort reduced the deficit 12 minutes later, but Rooney sealed the win with his second goal in the 65th minute.