United's Wembley weekend got off to the perfect start when, elsewhere in London, title rivals Chelsea were trounced 4-2 on their home turf.
With the Reds involved in Sunday's Carling Cup final, Carlo Ancelotti's side had a chance to go four points clear in the Barclays Premier League. But despite opening the scoring against Manchester City, Chelsea suffered their first home league defeat of the season and finished with nine men following red cards for Juliano Belletti and Michael Ballack.
With City defending doggedly, it took Chelsea until the 42nd minute to draw first blood through Frank Lampard. However, the lead lasted only until first-half injury time when former United striker Carlos Tevez grabbed an equaliser.