Manchester United capitalised on two Chelsea red cards to leave Stamford Bridge with all three points.
An own goal from David Luiz and Robin Van Persie’s sharp finish put the Red Devils two goals ahead, before Juan Mata’s free-kick and a Ramires header levelled the contest.
However, Branislav Ivanovic saw red for a last-man challenge on Ashley Young, before Fernando Torres was controversially sent off for simulation after a Jonny Evans tackle.
Javier Hernandez, introduced from the substitutes bench with the Blues down to nine-men, capitalised from close range to make it 3-2, although the Mexican should have been flagged offside.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were quick out of the blocks, but there was an element of luck to the opener when Van Perise’s shot cannoned back off the post onto Luiz and into the back of the net.
The Dutchman was involved again on 12 minutes, when Antonio Valencia’s low cross was met by the right foot of the ex-Arsenal forward. His crisp shot was too much for Petr Cech.
Chelsea got back in the game on 44 minutes however, when Juan Mata’s sublime free-kick beat an otherwise excellent David de Gea. The Spaniard would have been disappointed, after his compatriot beat him on the near side.
Ramires headed home the equaliser on 53 minutes, and the game was perfectly poised for a dramatic finish.
However, Ivanovic brought down Young as the winger looked to drive into the penalty box, and was rightly sent-off by referee Mark Clattenburg.
Torres then received a second yellow for his ‘dive’, although replays showed their might have been contact.
Either way, it gave Hernandez the chance to score the winner on 75 minutes, and United moved to within a point of the Premier League leaders.