London - Manchester United moved top of the Premier League as an incredible five goals from Dimitar Berbatov helped Sir Alex Ferguson's side humiliate Blackburn Rovers 7-1 on Saturday.
Wayne Rooney made his first Old Trafford start since he almost left Manchester United last month, but it was Berbatov who stole the show on a memorable afternoon for the Bulgarian striker.
He became just the fourth player since the inception of the Premier League to score five goals in one game following in the footsteps of Andy Cole, Alan Shearer and Jermain Defoe as United played beautifully from start to finish.
In a sign of what was to come, Blackburn goalkeeper Paul Robinson failed to clear properly, as did Michel Salgado when he attempted a rescue act and their ineptitude allowed Nani to get the ball to Rooney who played in Berbatov and he swept past Robinson after 72 seconds.
It was his first goal since netting a hat-trick against Liverpool on September 19 and set United up to totally dominate the encounter.
Nani had a fine start to the game as he ran repeatedly at the Rovers' defence and Chris Samba almost turned the ball past his own goalkeeper after 15 minutes.
Blackburn were missing the influential Morten Gamst Pedersen who pulled his hamstring against Aston Villa last weekend and without him Blackburn just could not get on the ball.
United's midfield totally dominated proceedings and it was with little surprise when Park Ji-Sung superbly doubled United's lead midway through the first half.
The South Korean brilliantly carved Blackburn open with an intelligent run to the edge of Blackburn's box and after clever interplay with Rooney he slotted past Robinson to double the advantage.
Just four minutes later, and still before the half-hour mark, Berbatov secured his second goal when Pascal Chimbonda totally misjudged a back-pass and allowed him to calmly beat Robinson to underline that this match was already effectively over.
United felt they were denied a penalty as the half-time whistle approached as Salgado tackled both the ball and Berbatov in the box but United's pleas fell on deaf ears.
That was soon forgotten after the interval though when United scored twice within three minutes of the second half commencing and both goals were of the highest quality.
Firstly Berbatov started a passing move in his own half which eventually saw him receive the ball back from Nani close to the penalty spot and he thrashed past Robinson before Nani did exactly the same just 90 seconds later.
United were not finished there either as Berbatov then got lucky when a Park shot was blocked in the six-yard box which allowed him to poke home his fourth and United's sixth.
Despite having their ludicrously comfortable lead, United refused to rest on their laurels and continued attacking the now hapless and helpless visitors at will.
Blackburn had nothing left to give as United queued up to score and it was Berbatov who again managed to do so, slotting in from a tight angle after Ryan Nelsen had blocked his original effort.
Blackburn did manage to salvage some pride as Samba headed home a Josh Morris cross to beat Edwin van der Sar with seven minutes remaining but by then Rovers' humiliation was well and truly complete.