Chelsea romp to a 5-0 win at struggling Middlesbrough to remain at the top of the English Premiership after eight games, on a day where all of the 'big four' claimed a maximum three points.
Chelsea romped to a 5-0 win at Middlesbrough, Manchester United thumped West Bromwich Albion 4-0 and Liverpool and Arsenal produced stirring fightbacks to claim home wins over Wigan Athletic and Everton on Saturday.
The results mean the Premier League now looks more familiar with the 'Big Four' filling the top four slots.
Chelsea's lunchtime demolition job gave the leaders 20 points from eight games but Liverpool joined them on the same total after scoring twice in the last 10 minutes against 10-man Wigan to snatch a 3-2 victory.
Arsenal moved up to third on 16 points after netting three second-half goals to record a 3-1 victory against Everton.
United are up to fourth on 14, along with Aston Villa, held goalless at home by Portsmouth, and Hull City, who host West Ham United on Sunday.
Chelsea travelled to Middlesbrough shorn of several injured regulars but went ahead through Salomon Kalou after 14 minutes.
They then cut loose with four goals in 16 minutes early in the second half, starting with another stunning 30-metre shot by Brazilian long-range specialist Juliano Belletti.
A second for Kalou and goals by Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda secured their best away league win for five years.
"From the first moment our football, our movement and passing... that was the best we've played for a long time," Lampard told Sky Sports.
Egyptian striker Amr Zaki scored twice, including a superb scissors kick, as Wigan outplayed Liverpool to lead 2-1 at halftime after Dirk Kuyt had replied for the hosts.
However, Antonio Valencia was sent off 15 minutes from time and Liverpool cashed in with Albert Riera's equaliser and Kuyt's miss-hit winner with five minutes left.
Arsenal, who lost to Hull and drew with Sunderland in their last two games, fell behind to an early Leon Osman goal.
But the second-half introduction of England winger Theo Walcott changed the game and goals for Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie and Walcott turned things round.
Manchester United also found it hard going in the first half but eventually overwhelmed Albion, who barely mustered a shot.
In-form England striker Wayne Rooney drove powerfully into the box to open the scoring in the 56th minute, then set up Cristiano Ronaldo for the second.
Dimitar Berbatov then scored his first league goal for the club before Nani finished things off.
"The players now have got the legs -- they kept a fantastic tempo and rhythm. It was probably the best 90 minutes of the season," United manager Alex Ferguson told Setanta Sports.
Ferguson had special praise for Rooney, who was criticised by some sections of the media for his flat performances earlier this season but who has roared back with eight goals in six games for club and country.
"He's 23. You expect players to improve just as we said about Ronaldo when he was younger," added Ferguson.
"Wayne tends to go in spurts which is probably a sign of his immaturity. When he gets older his goalscoring will spread out better. We hope this part of his game when he's on fire will continue for a long time."
Date created : 2008-10-18