Manchester United moved within touching distance at the top of the Barclays Premier League table after a 5-0 hammering of Wigan at Old Trafford.
With local-rivals and league leaders Manchester City only managing a draw at West Brom, the victory moves Sir Alex Ferguson's side level on points with the 'noisy neighbours' - only goal difference keeps Roberto Mancini's men on top.
Park Ji-Sung gave the hosts an early lead after eight minutes, and when Latics striker Conor Sammon saw red for catching Michael Carrick in the face, the writing was on the wall for Roberto Martinez's visitors.
Dimitar Berbatov scored the first of his hat-trick before the interval, beating Ali Al-Habsi to the ball and guiding the ball home on 41 minutes.
The Bulgarian grabbed his second and the team's third in fine style 13 minutes after the break, finishing emphatically after a brilliant turn and shot inside the box.
There was more to come for the Red Devils, and it was winger Antonio Valencia who got the next on 75 minutes, smashing home from distance after Carrick's simple pass.
Antonio Alcaraz's foul three minutes later gave Berbatov the chance to take home the matchball, despite the defender insisting the foul had taken place on Park outside the box.
It made little difference, as Berbatov finished cooly from 12 yards to ensure a 5-0 win for the champions.
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