Manchester United trashed the fourth position Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge with Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire goals on Monday.
Chelsea appeared very disappointed as they had two goals disallowed by VAR reviews and were furious Maguire was not sent-off early on for an off-the-ball kick out at Michy Batshuayi.
Chelsea coach Frank Lampard was frustrated as the flaws in both boxes which have seen his side win just four of their last 14 matches were exposed against ordinary opposition.
By virtue of beating Chelsea, Manchester United have climbed up to seventh and within two points of Tottenham sits on the fifth position, which could be good enough to qualify for the Champions League next season owing to Manchester City’s appeal against a two-season ban from European tournaments.
Lampard made a bold call before kick-off by again dropping the most expensive goalkeeper in football history, Kepa Arrizabalaga, to the bench in favour of the 38-year-old Willy Caballero.
Batshuayi also started with Tammy Abraham ruled out by injury and Lampard’s anger at missing out on a striker in the January window was borne out by a poor night for the misfiring Belgium forward.
The Blues faced another injury blow earlier on when N’Golo Kante hobbled off and the France World Cup winner is now a doubt to face Bayern Munich in the Champions League next week.
The loss of Kante did not disrupt the home side’s early rhythm as Reece James and Willian fired just wide.
Chelsea then became furious when Maguire somehow escaped being sent-off for kicking Batshuayi badly after the two collided in front of the dugouts.
The former Marseille attacker then squandered the first of a host of chances by firing wide from Mason Mount’s cut-back.
Chelsea became more angry when Willian was harshly booked for diving as he went down under a challenge from Bruno Fernandes looking for a penalty to close-up gap.
Manchester United had not allowed Caballero to make a single save before going in front a minute before the break when Martial planted a brilliant header into the far corner from Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross.
Batshuayi had more time to miss another chance before half-time when he skewed wide from a narrow-angle.
The one-way traffic continued at the start of the second period as Mount hit the post and a brave block from Wan-Bissaka deflected Pedro’s goal-bound effort behind.
But even when Chelsea did get the ball in the net through substitute Kurt Zouma, the goal was ruled out by VAR for a push on Brandon Williams by Cesar Azpilicueta.
Fernandes was unable to make much of an impact from open play in his second United appearance since a £47 million ($62 million) move from Sporting Lisbon.
However, the Portuguese international is a huge threat from set-pieces and nearly caught Caballero out with a free-kick that crashed back off the post.
After some time, Fernandes worked out his first assist for the Manchester United with a corner which Maguire powered home.
Chelsea coach Lampard had seen enough from Batshuayi and handed Olivier Giroud a near finish appearance off the bench for the final quarter.
The French striker thought he had given Chelsea a lifeline with a near-post header but was ruled offside after a VAR review.