A goal from substitute Javier Hernandez ensured that Manchester United won by the odd goal in five to claim maximum points from their trip to Chelsea yesterday.
The Mexican goal-poacher, looking suspiciously offside, tucked in the winner in the 75th minute to kill off a vibrant Chelsea side who had battled back from 2-0 down before having Branislav Ivanovic and Fernando Torres sent off by referee Mark Clattenburg in the final half an hour.
Torres's dismissal, for diving, led to a furious touchline row between Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo and his United counterpart Alex Ferguson who later said the Spaniard had deserved to go despite replays suggesting he was fouled.
Clattenburg was later the subject of a complaint by Chelsea over inappropriate language towards two players.
The hosts found themselves 2-0 down inside the opening 12 minutes as a David Luiz own-goal and a strike from Robin van Persie put the Red Devils in a commanding position.
Just before the break though Juan Mata was able to pull one back with a curling free-kick, while with 53 minutes gone Ramires headed home the equaliser after getting on the end of a decent free-kick.
However, the tide turned back in favour of the visitors on 63 minutes when Branislav Ivanovic saw red after bringing down Ashley Young from behind after the England international had broken the off-side trap.
Controversy soon marred the match though as Torres went down under a rather nasty challenge from Johnny Evans, but the referee saw it differently and showed the Spain international a second yellow card and subsequent sending off for diving.
With the home crowd howling its disapproval and tempers fraying on the touchline, Hernandez - on as a substitute for Tom Cleverley - tapped in Rafael's fierce cross while standing almost on the goal-line.
United's first win at Chelsea for 10 years lifted them back above neighbours Manchester City into second place on goal difference with 21 points, one point behind Chelsea who had ample reason to feel hard done by.
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Everton 2-2 Liverpool
Earlier the Merseyside derby also proved a typically feisty affair as Everton recovered from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Liverpool at Goodison Park.
Luis Suarez scored twice in the first 20 minutes at Goodison Park, with the first strike diverted into the goal by Everton defender Leighton Baines.
But Leon Osman began Everton's comeback in the 22nd minute and Steven Naismith equalized in the 35th.
Suarez was denied a winner in stoppage time when his goal was ruled out by the referee's assistant for offside or a foul in the penalty area.
The point was enough to keep Everton in fifth position, six points ahead of Liverpool.
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