Wayne Rooney's solitary goal turned the spotlight on Manchester United's Barclays Premier League title rivals after they beat Fulham 1-0 in a match which was interrupted by floodlight failure at Craven Cottage.
Rooney's 10th goal in as many games 11 minutes from time sent United 10 points clear of Manchester City, who entertain Liverpool on Sunday, and a massive 16 ahead of third-placed Chelsea.
And it all came after a whirlwind opening was halted by a break in play just before half-time when the stadium was plunged into darkness.
Robin van Persie's corner created the first chance of a bright opening, bouncing off Brede Hangeland and towards his own goal, forcing Mark Schwarzer into the first of a series of excellent saves.
Patrice Evra reacted quickest but could only scoop the ball against the bar before Sascha Riether cleared Rooney's shot off the line.
At the other end John Arne Riise tested De Gea with a dipping effort the under-fire Spain youngster tipped over before the Spaniard got nowhere near a Bryan Ruiz shot that thudded against a post.
Then a brilliant move involving Nani and Tom Cleverley created another opportunity for Rooney, which he stroked against a post.
For a while it appeared Fulham might claim a major scalp. Rafael cleared off the line from Ruiz after Jonny Evans had been forced to head away from underneath his own bar.
Rooney had other ideas, though, and when Fulham failed to get a touch to De Gea's long kick downfield, the England man picked his spot and, in front of England manager Roy Hodgson, calmly found the bottom corner.
Van Persie might have added a second only to volley over from close range, although the striker was required at the other end to clear Philippe Senderos' injury-time header off the line.