Classy Chelsea win 7-2
Leaders Chelsea stormed to a 7-2 victory in the Premier League over Sunderland yesterday while second-place Manchester United laboured past Burnley and Manchester City lost for the first time under Roberto Mancini.
Frank Lampard and Nicolas Anelka both scored twice as Chelsea dismantled an injury-hit Sunderland side to remain a point ahead of United with a game in hand.
"We have just given maybe our best performance of the season," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said. "This is how we should continue to play from now until the end of the campaign."
Defending champions United took until the second half to get going against Burnley, with Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney and Mame Biram Diouf eventually clinching a 3-0 win.
Man City had won their last four league matches - three since Mancini took charge - before losing 2-0 at Everton and handing fourth place to Tottenham, who drew 0-0 with Hull.
It was also a frustrating day for Liverpool, who conceded a 90th-minute equaliser to draw 1-1 at Stoke to remain seventh.
Chelsea, though, delivered a masterclass in attacking football at Stamford Bridge to show they can prosper without African Cup of Nations quartet Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel and Salomon Kalou.
Anelka took just eight minutes to start the rout after rounding goalkeeper Marton Fulop. Florent Malouda shrugged off two challenges and struck into the bottom corner in the 17th.