Brilliant City hit United for six
Controversial striker Mario Balotelli provided the spark as Manchester City stormed Old Trafford to humiliate rivals Manchester United 6-1.
Hours after more headlines about his off-field antics following a fire at his home, Balotelli struck twice to set up a convincing win for the Barclays Premier League leaders over 10-man United.
Balotelli also won the free-kick which led to a straight red card for United defender Jonny Evans before Edin Dzeko struck twice and Sergio Aguero and David Silva added to the tally.
United claimed a consolation with a fine goal from Darren Fletcher 10 minutes from time but they were ran ragged in the dying moments as City struck three times after the 88th minute.
City's stunning victory not only lifted them five points clear of United and underlined their title credentials but shattered a host of statistics. In recording only their second win at Old Trafford since 1974, City inflicted United's first home defeat since April 2010 and ended their run of 19 consecutive home league wins.
It left the watching Glazers, United's owners, hoping for better luck as they flew to Wembley by private helicopter to watch their other team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in the NFL on Sunday night.
Balotelli got things started before the break, rolling in from the edge of the box and then revealing a t-shirt which read: 'why always me?'
It was him again after the interval, with Evans' last-man foul on him earning the defender a red card, before he touched in a James Milner cross.
Aguero slid home a third following a flowing move, before Fletcher pulled one back.
But City then ran riot. Dzeko bundled in a Joleon Lescott pull-back and Silva scored from close range, before the Spaniard's delicious pass set Dzeko clear for a sixth.