LONDON (REUTERS) - Manchester City dropped England goalkeeper Joe Hart although his replacement Costel Pantilimon hardly had a shot to save as Manuel Pellegrini's men crushed woeful Norwich City 7-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.
Hart, who has made a number of errors in recent weeks, watched from the substitutes' bench as six different scorers and an own goal gave City their biggest win in the top flight since 1968 and took them into the top four.
Champions Manchester United also picked up three points with a 3-1 win at Fulham with all of their goals coming in the first 22 minutes but third-placed Chelsea, who like City and United also have title aspirations, lost 2-0 at Newcastle United.
Arsenal, who lead the standings, were meeting Liverpool in a top-of-the-table clash at the Emirates at 1730 GMT (1.30am Singapore time).
Arsenal have 22 points, Liverpool and Chelsea 20, with Manchester City, Southampton - who drew 1-1 at Stoke City - and Tottenham Hotspur, who visit Everton on Sunday, all on 19.
Manchester City's win was the outstanding performance of the day and if Norwich's John Ruddy, Hart's England deputy, was hoping to capitalise on his rivals' situation, City had other ideas leaving him to pick the ball out of the net seven times.
Pellegrini told the BBC: "We were very unhappy when we lost against Chelsea (last week), but we didn't deserve to lose that match, we dominated possession, so we continued playing the same way, we won against Newcastle in the (League) Cup in midweek and I thought today we had a really good match.
"Norwich did not have a chance to score, we scored seven and could have scored more." It was Norwich's second heavy defeat in Manchester in five days after losing 4-0 to United in the League Cup fourth round on Tuesday and coach Chris Hughton looked stunned afterwards.
"Its very difficult, I've never suffered a scoreline like that as a manager," he said. "Man City were outstanding today but if you gift them the types of goals we did, then it becomes difficult to win any football match. We were nowhere near it today."
The rout started when Bradley Johnson put through his own net after 16 minutes and the goals then flowed from David Silva (20th), Matija Nastasic (25th), Alvaro Negredo (36th), Yaya Toure (60th), with a superb free-kick, Sergio Aguero (71st) and a smart finish from Edin Dzeko (86th).
The result left Hughton under increased pressure with his team remaining in the bottom three.
Manchester United, putting their shaky start to the season under new manager David Moyes behind them, were convincing 3-1 winners at Fulham with Antonio Valencia, Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney wrapping up the points in the first 22 minutes.
Fulham replied with a second half consolation but United eased to their third victory in their last four league matches.
Moyes told the BBC: "It has always been my team since I've taken over from Sir Alex Ferguson. It can take time to settle in, and it has for us, but Manchester United usually make slow starts and get better as the season goes on.
"The players have great habits from the previous manager and they have a winning mentality which I see every day." Jose Mourinho's Chelsea surprisingly lost at Newcastle in the early kickoff with United's Frenchmen Yoan Gouffran and Loic Remy scoring in the second half.
Gouffran headed in a magnificent free-kick taken by Yohan Cabaye after 68 minutes while Remy stabbed Newcastle's second in off a post after 89 minutes to end Chelsea's run of six successive wins in all competitions.
Sunderland finished with nine men at Hull City after Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena were sent off in first-half stoppage time during their 1-0 defeat.
Hull manager Steve Bruce, the former Sunderland boss, enjoyed the win over his former club after Carlos Cuellar put through his own goal.
"The second one (Dossena's) is a horror challenge," said Bruce. "I know Lee Cattermole and I know what he is like as a competitor but in today's game you cannot make that challenge anymore. In my opinion the referee got them both right." Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said: "I'm convinced he (Cattermole) didn't deserve the red card.
"I think sometimes people see Lee Cattermole make a challenge and it is not allowed because people put things in the minds of other people. We need to be fair to him." Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic scored one of the quickest goals in English league history, hoofing a huge clearance into Southampton's net with the goal timed at 14 seconds.
Southampton scored a more orthodox equaliser through a Jay Rodriguez header to rescue a point.
West Bromwich Albion beat managerless bottom club Crystal Palace 2-0 while West Ham United and Aston Villa drew 0-0 at Upton Park, Villa's fourth match without a goal.