- Manchester City beat Manchester United 6-1 in derby clash at Old Trafford
- Victory takes City five points clear of United at the top of English Premier League
- United have Jonny Evans sent off early in second half for foul on Mario Balotelli
- Nine-man Chelsea miss chance to go second in table
Manchester City stunned city rivals Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford Sunday with Mario Balotelli scoring the opening two goals in the rout.
It was the heaviest home defeat for reigning champions United in the English Premier League and left them five points adrift of City at the top of the table.
Balotelli fired City ahead after 22 minutes and was then involved in the game's pivotal moment two minutes into the second half.
The 21-year-old Italian's strength took him clear of United defender Jonny Evans, who could only pull him back as he closed on goal.
Referee Mark Clattenburg was left with no option than to show Evans the red card and the floodgates opened.
Balotelli, forced to move out of his Manchester home on Saturday after a late night prank with fireworks went wrong, was on hand to slot home after brilliant work by David Silva and James Milner.
When Sergio Aguero added the third on the hour mark, the game was up for Alex Ferguson's home team, but they did pull back a goal after a sublime strike by Darren Fletcher.
But that was the signal for City to really rub in their dominance as substitute Edin Dzeko grabbed a fourth in the 90th minute.
With United in total disarray, Silva tapped in from close range and Dzeko added his second and the sixth in injury time.
City manager Roberto Mancini hailed the result as proof of the strength of their title challenge.
"I'm satisfied because we beat United away and I don't think there are a lot of teams that could win here," he told Sky Sports.
"I think this game is important because we beat them at Old Trafford but not for the 6-1."
By contrast, Ferguson was annoyed with his players for conceding late goals when down to 10 men and with the game gone.
"It was our worst ever day," he conceded "It's the worst result in my history, ever. Even as a player I don't think I ever lost 6-1. I can't believe the scoreline. The first goal was a blow for sure but it was retrievable at 1-0.
"The sending off was a killer for us. We kept attacking when we went 4-1 down and we should have just said, 'We've had our day'."
Chelsea later fluffed the chance to move above United into second place when they were beaten 1-0 by west London rivals Queens Park Rangers.
Chelsea were reduced to nine-men after first half red cards for Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba.
Heidar Helguson had put QPR ahead from the spot after being fouled by David Luiz before referee Chris Foy sent off Boswinga for pulling back Shaun Wright-Phillips and Drogba for a studs-up challenge.
Chelsea had their chances to level with Nicolas Anelka wasting the best, but QPR held on to gain three valuable points.
Earlier Sunday, Arsenal captain Robin van Persie came off the substitute's bench to help his side to a 3-1 home win over Stoke City.
Peter Crouch had leveled for Stoke following Gervinho's opener, but Dutch ace van Persie continued his fine scoring run with a double to lift Arsenal up to seventh.
Arsenal's north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur also took closer order in the battle for Champions League spots with a 2-1 win at struggling Blackburn.
Two goals by Rafael van der Vaart secured the Spurs victory, their fifth of the season, while at Craven Cottage, Everton scored twice in injury time to clinch a 3-1 victory over Fulham.