Champions Manchester United proved too good for West Ham United, scoring three second-half goals to run out 4-0 winners at the Boleyn Ground.
Paul Scholes had given the visitors the lead with seconds remaining of an opening period in which neither side had really been on top. After the break, however, Sir Alex Ferguson's side took control and added further goals through Darron Gibson, Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney.
The match began in an intriguing, if not action-packed, manner, broken only by a chance for the hosts after Giggs had given the ball away carelessly to Zavon Hines on the edge of the area. The England Under-21 international, recalled for the injured Carlton Cole, rolled a teasing ball across the goal which Ryan Giggs just managed to divert away from the onrushing Jack Collison.
The visitors suffered a blow when captain Gary Neville was forced off with a groin injury, allowing Academy graduate Michael Carrick to return to the Boleyn Ground pitch in the unfamiliar position of centre-back.
The Red Devils were struggling to assert themselves but had Robert Green not been so quick off his line to beat Rooney to a through ball they might have taken the lead even earlier.
They were to go ahead just before the half was out, however. Danny Gabbidon headed away Ryan Giggs' cross as far as Scholes, whose touch took him away from Kovac and into the space to beat Green with a powerful left-footed drive.
Hines had been struggling with a knock towards the end of the half and the break allowed Gianfranco Zola to introduce Alessandro Diamanti, back from a hip injury, to the action. The Italian was warmly welcomed by the claret and blue contingent among the 34,980 inside the Boleyn Ground.
In the driving rain in east London, the Italian was straight into the action and his superb 45-yard free-kick was headed straight at Tomasz Kuszczak by James Tomkins, who was preferred to Manuel Da Costa at centre back.
The champions doubled their advantage when Giggs and Rooney exchanged passes on the left. The Welsh winger then fed Gibson, who beat Green with a fine drive from the edge of the area.
Despite the two-goal deficit, the Hammers did not give up and Diamanti forced Kuszczak to tip over his free-kick from 25 yards a minute later. Further attacking impetus was attempted with the introduction of Kieron Dyer for Radoslav Kovac.
If the Red Devils' second goal was all about the sublime finish, the third was about the delivery, as Anderson's teasing cross was swept home by Valencia.
The Ecuadorian then turned provider a minute later as his ball across the six-yard box was tapped home by Rooney. It was to be the England striker's last contribution as he was taken off for Michael Owen. Peter Kurucz was handed his West Ham United debut with 17 minutes to go as Green was taken off feeling unwell.
West Ham continued to press for a consolation and good work from Guille Franco gave Junior Stanislas a good opening but he dragged his shot wide of the far post.
After two consecutive home games, the Hammers hit the road with a trip to Birmingham City next weekend.