Roberto Mancini's men now are six points ahead of third-placed Chelsea, who drew 0-0 with Fulham, but sit a point in arrears of United who beat West Ham United 1-0 at home thanks to Robin van Persie's first-minute opener.
Surprise packets West Bromwich Albion were brought back down to earth with a thud as they lost 3-1 at Swansea City due to a Wayne Routledge double to fall to fourth whilst Tottenham moved up to fifth thanks to a 2-1 home victory over slow-staring Liverpool.
Sixth and seventh-placed Everton and Arsenal played out a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park as Stoke City came from behind to deny Newcastle United, winning 2-1 via late goals from Jon Walters and Cameron Jerome.
In the remaining matches, Norwich City held Southampton to a 1-1 draw at St Mary's whilst last night, Aston Villa scored a late winner in their 1-0 triumph over Reading as Sunderland and QPR played out a scoreless draw.
2012/12 Premier League scores