Manchester United responded to Manchester City's 6-1 demolition of Norwich City yesterday with a comfortable 4-0 victory over Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
Two goals from Wayne Rooney, a close-range Danny Welbeck conversion, and a late strike from Nani sealed the points for the leaders, who restored their five-point advantage at the top of the Premier League table.
The hosts took an early lead when Ashley Young was tripped by Villa defender Ciaran Clark in the box with less than ten minutes on the clock.
Rooney converted the penalty and Welbeck doubled United's lead to give them a 2-0 advantage at the interval.
Despite improving after the break, Alex McLeish's injury-ravaged side failed to improve a wretched record against the Red Devils, which now extends to one win in 31 attempts.
Rooney added his second in the 73rd minute shortly before being substituted by Sir Alex Ferguson, following veteran midfielder Paul Scholes off the pitch after another majestic display in the middle of the park.
Nani completed the rout in the final minute to reduce City's superior goal difference to just four, with four fixtures remaining.
Villa meanwhile, sit six points above the drop-zone, with a crucial run of fixtures to come where they will be looking for an upturn in form in order to avoid the threat of relegation.