Park Ji-sung's first-half header in a 1-0 win over Arsenal sent Manchester United two points clear at the Barclays Premier League summit.
The South Korean's effort was enough to secure a deserved victory over Arsenal, who failed to get their reward for handing 20-year-old goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny his league debut.
In fact, Wayne Rooney wasted a golden chance to ease home nerves when he ballooned a penalty over 17 minutes from time.
United appealed for a penalty as Marouane Chamakh rather awkwardly got in the way of Nani's inswinging cross. Referee Howard Webb was unimpressed but TV replays suggested the Frenchman had been exceptionally lucky to get away without conceding a spot-kick.
United's opener came as Nani raced onto Rooney's nod down and shot down the right flank. Gael Clichy made a half-block but was unable to stop the ball bouncing into the box, where Park showed admirable technique to get a firm connection with his header. Szczesny was helpless as the ball looped over his head and into the corner.
Anderson looked favourite to find the net but Szczesny stood firm, before Rooney failed to put the contest out of sight when Clichy slid in on Nani and conceded a penalty for handball, scooping way over the bar.