Soccer-United go top, Chelsea hit City for six

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London, Oct 28: Manchester United stormed to the top of the Premier League today with a 4-1 thumping of Middlesbrough while Chelsea stole the limelight with a 6-0 hammering of third-placed Manchester City.

Carlos Tevez scored twice as United notched an eighth successive league victory and hit four goals in a match for the fourth time in a row for the first time since 1907.

The champions could lose first place on Sunday when Arsenal, on a high after a 7-0 romp over Slavia Prague on Tuesday, travel to Liverpool looking for a 13th consecutive victory in all competitions.

Didier Drogba bagged two goals against hapless City as Chelsea more than doubled their home goals tally this season in 90 scintillating minutes at Stamford Bridge. Andriy Shevchenko also got in on the act after coming on as a substitute.

After a poor start to the season and the traumatic parting of the ways with former coach Jose Mourinho, Chelsea are now back in the top four with Frank Lampard pulling the strings.

''He is very important to us,'' manager Avram Grant told Sky Sports after the midfielder's dominant performance. ''There are not many like him.'' Fulham were denied a first away victory of the season when Kenwyne Jones scored late for Sunderland in a 1-1 draw.

Improving Reading beat Newcastle United 2-1 while Birmingham City twice came from behind to defeat Wigan Athletic 3-2 at home.

Portsmouth's Benjani Mwaruwari had a stoppage-time penalty saved in a 0-0 home draw with West Ham United.

TWO-GOAL TEVEZ United included midfielder Owen Hargreaves in their starting line-up for only the fourth time since he joined from Bayern Munich and were in front after three minutes.

Nani took possession in the Boro half, moved forward and ripped a 30-metre shot past Mark Schwarzer.

Old Trafford was still buzzing when Jeremie Aliadiere headed Boro level minutes later but a mistake from England midfielder Stewart Downing gifted Wayne Rooney a goal to put United back in front before halftime.

A superb move between Rooney and Tevez resulted in the Argentine putting United 3-1 up after 55 minutes before Tevez struck again with a deflected shot.

''When you've got players like (Cristiano) Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez you are going to get goals,'' said United manager Alex Ferguson. ''The third goal epitomised the imagination they have...it was a wonderful goal.'' United play Arsenal next week.

Manchester City fans have been pinching themselves after their best start in the top flight for more than 30 years but Sven Goran Eriksson's side were given a hiding by Chelsea.

Lampard looked back to his best after toe and thigh injuries this season, laying on first-half goals for Michael Essien and Drogba.

Chelsea never won by a six-goal margin under Mourinho in the league but they went on the rampage after the break with Drogba, Joe Cole, Salomon Kalou and Shevchenko demolishing City's defence.

''We totally forgot how to defend today,'' said former England coach Eriksson. ''I'm sorry for the fans.'' United have 26 points from 11 games, with Arsenal on 25 from nine. City remain third on 22 with Chelsea on 21.

Sunday's other match is Tottenham Hotspur's first since the sacking of coach Martin Jol when they host high-flying Blackburn Rovers.

UNI

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