DEFENDING CHAMPIONS Manchester United romped to the top of English Premier League football after a 4-1 win over Middlesbrough while Chelsea thrashed third-placed Manchester City 6-0.
United have 26 points from 11 games, with Arsenal a point behind having played two games less. Despite their fiasco, City remain in third in 22 points, one ahead of Chelsea with both having played 11 games.
It was a feast for United fans as for the first time in 100 years the club scored four or more goals for four straight games.
Goals from Nani and Wayne Rooney and a Carlos Tevez double helped the title holders regain leadership from Arsenal.
Manchester United were ahead after just three minutes when Nani skipped past a couple of challenges before unleashing a fearsome shot from 25 yards past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer.
Jeremie Alliadiere equalised on six minutes for Middlesbrough but a defensive mistake saw Stuart Downing robbed by Nani, letting in Rooney to put the hosts ahead before half time at Old Trafford.
On 55 minutes Tevez slotted in after a sublime Rooney back-heel and the Argentine added a fourth that looped into the net after a heavy deflection five minutes from time.
"When you've got players like (Cristiano) Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez you are going to get goals," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea demonstrated a more attacking style favoured by new manager Avram Grant, leaving Sven-Goran Erisson's side stunned.
"The players want to be better and have shown full commitment to positive football and winning - there are no big secrets behind this," said Grant, who had steered the London outfit through seven games with the last five victories after taking over from Jose Mourinho in September.
"In the last month we have improved in every match. We will enjoy this but we are in the middle of the process and want to continue it. The fans know now we are trying to play positive football."
Frank Lampard was in an inspired form as his pass allowed Michael Essien to score after 16 minutes, opening the gate of flood for Chelsea. The England midfielder also helped Didier Drogba to complete a double across the break.
More loose defending from City contributed to second-half goals from Joe Cole, Salomon Kalou and Shevchenko.
"We forgot how to defend," said former England coach Eriksson. "If you give a team like Chelsea space and time that will happen. It has been a good story so far this season but I'm sorry for the fans who travelled here."
In other games played on Saturday, Birmingham City twice came from behind to overcome Wigan Athletic 3-2 while Reading beat Newcastle United 2-1 at home. Fulham escaped from the Stadium of Light with a 1-1 draw against 10-man Sunderland and West Ham United were held goalless at Portsmouth.