Berbatov notched his third hat-trick of this 2010-2011 Premier League season
By Chris Whyatt
Rampant Manchester United crushed Birmingham as Dimitar Berbatov hit a hat-trick with Ryan Giggs masterful.
Berbatov nodded in on the line after 95 seconds before firing home easily after Roger Johnson had given the ball away.
With Giggs lifting the unbeaten league leaders to heights they have rarely hit this season, the veteran finished off a brilliant move just before the break.
Hungry Berbatov then converted a Giggs cross for his third before Nani slotted a fifth with Birmingham on their knees.
Leaders United now sit two points clear of second-placed Arsenal with a game in hand, and their unbeaten league record was never in danger as the lowly visitors looked like a team without the fight - or nous - required to claim a first win against the Red Devils since 1978.
Birmingham did have a Carling Cup semi-final against West ham on Wednesday to think of, yet United were utterly ruthless while Berbatov is now the Premier League's top scorer after recording his third hat-trick of the season.
Giggs keen to prolong Man Utd career
The Blues dropped their top scorer, Craig Gardner, to give 19-year-old Jordan Mutch a debut at Old Trafford.
But it was 37-year-old Giggs who looked like a care-free teenager as he glided across the pitch he knows so well to breathtaking effect.
The Welshman's first impact helped put the hosts in control within 95 seconds.
His whipped right-wing corner was nodded on off the back of John O'Shea's head for unmarked Berbatov to nod in from no more than six inches.
With the ball quite clearly going in some might say it was selfish, but manager Sir Alex Ferguson - and Berbatov's team-mates - are likely to be happy watching the languid Bulgarian hungrily stealing goals while wearing a broad smile.
With United's movement flummoxing the visitors, Berbatov saw his low shot saved well by Ben Foster on his first return to Old Trafford.
Centre-back Chris Smalling - in as a replacement for the injured Rio Ferdinand - then just failed to head in a cross from Giggs which was cleverly clipped to the back post using his weaker right foot.
Nani then sliced a shot into crowd as he sought to find the top corner with Birmingham failing to put in the biting challenges which so often characterise high-paced Premier League football.
When they did compete, former Barcelona man Alexander Hleb trod crudely on Michael Carrick's ankle, a challenge which causing the midfielder to be replaced by Darron Gibson.
After an excellent David Bentley cross fizzed across United's penalty area without being capitalised on, Nani then sold a David Murphy - and most of the crowd - an outrageous dummy before hitting an equally outrageous cross-shot that went out for a throw-in.
But Johnson's misplaced pass on the half-hour saw Anderson pounce to pass instantly forward to Wayne Rooney.
He fed Berbatov with ease and, cutting in from the left unchallenged, he smacked a low shot through Birmingham's hapless back-line past Foster.
Exhibiting his active imagination, the former Tottenham star then went so close to curling a teasing toe-poker with the outside of his boot into the tiny gap available in the corner of Birmingham's net.
Gibson soon lashed a left-foot shot at Foster after a thrilling passage of play.
Uplifted Giggs drove a fine low shot towards the bottom corner but a slight - but significant - deflection carried the ball just wide for a corner after Birmingham's appeals for a penalty were dismissed when Keith Fahey's cross hit John O'Shea on the arm.
The onslaught peaked in spectacular style just before the break as Old Trafford was treated to a rare sight - Berbatov winning the ball back with a committed sliding tackle.
Rooney picked it up to execute a superb back-heeled one-two with the Bulgarian.
The England striker then looked up to curl a perfect low cross into the box for onrushing Giggs to side-foot stylishly high into the net with his trusted left foot.
Out-and-out striker Cameron Jerome replaced Hleb for the second period as Birmingham sought to play more on the front foot.
But it was to little effect as unmarked Rooney inexplicably managed to skim a header wide from two yards when Nani had crossed after once again twisting Murphy inside out.
Bentley did bundle past Anderson to fire a shot just wide yet, despite their endeavour, Birmingham looked too dispirited.
United's fourth goal came in the 53rd minute when Rooney deliciously brought the ball down from sky to remind everyone of his natural ability before passing to Giggs easily on his inside.
The poised Welshman waited before crossing low for Berbatov to lunge ahead of Murphy to steer a smart finish into the roof of the net for his 18th goal of season in all competitions.
Loss sets Blues back a mile - McLeish
With the game won, Michael Owen then replaced Giggs before Fahey managed to miss a chance from Bentley's cross following a rare mistake from Nemanja Vidic.
The Birmingham midfielder was just two yards out but he could not swivel his body back to connect with the ball in time.
Erratic-but-gifted Portuguese winger Nani then screwed a simple shot awry before setting free Berbatov, who dragged a good chance to add his fourth well wide.
Nani's 76th-minute goal summed up Birmingham's state of mind as he skipped across the screen of their heavy-footed defence to slam a powerful goal past Foster from 15 yards into the corner of the net.
90:00+2:11 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
90:00+0:49 The referee blows for offside against Matt Derbyshire. Edwin Van der Sar takes the free kick.
86:00 Cameron Jerome takes a shot. Save made by Edwin Van der Sar.
85:20 Centre by Michael Owen, save by Ben Foster.
Correction - 84:14 Effort on goal by Jordon Mutch from outside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the bar.
Correction - 84:14 Substitution Craig Gardner is brought on as a substitute for David Bentley.
84:14 Effort from just outside the area by Matt Derbyshire goes over the target.
84:14 Substitution Craig Gardner on for David Bentley.
82:53 The ball is sent over by Fabio Da Silva, Ben Foster makes a save.
81:30 The ball is delivered by Luis Nani, clearance made by Sebastian Larsson.
80:23 Michael Owen has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the target.
79:42 Corner taken right-footed by Sebastian Larsson from the left by-line, save by Edwin Van der Sar.
78:54 Darron Gibson sends in a cross, Liam Ridgewell makes a clearance.
78:33 Effort on goal by Luis Nani from just inside the area clears the crossbar.
77:00 The ball is crossed by Luis Nani, Close range shot by Wayne Rooney goes over the bar.
75:18 John O'Shea provided the assist for the goal.
75:18 GOAL - Luis Nani:Man Utd 5 - 0 Birmingham Luis Nani finds the net with a goal from just outside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man Utd 5-0 Birmingham.
73:28 Unfair challenge on Liam Ridgewell by Michael Owen results in a free kick. David Bentley restarts play with the free kick.
71:57 Foul by Michael Owen on Liam Ridgewell, free kick awarded. Liam Ridgewell takes the direct free kick.
Correction - 71:17 Luis Nani takes a shot. Ben Foster makes a save.
71:17 Luis Nani takes a shot. Save by Ben Foster.
Correction - 68:27 Effort from deep inside the area by Dimitar Berbatov misses to the left of the target.
68:27 Shot by Dimitar Berbatov from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.
67:08 David Bentley takes a shot. Roger Johnson gets a block in.
66:22 The ball is delivered by Luis Nani.
Correction - 63:55 Luis Nani takes a shot. Ben Foster makes a save.
Correction - 63:55 Substitution (Birmingham) makes a substitution, with Sebastian Larsson coming on for Keith Fahey.
63:55 Luis Nani takes a shot. Save made by Ben Foster.
63:55 Substitution Sebastian Larsson comes on in place of Keith Fahey.
62:51 Jordon Mutch concedes a free kick for a foul on Darron Gibson. Oliveira Anderson restarts play with the free kick.
62:23 Luis Nani crosses the ball, save by Ben Foster.
60:55 Luis Nani produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the goal.
60:36 David Murphy produces a cross, Chris Smalling manages to make a clearance.
59:48 Keith Fahey fouled by Darron Gibson, the ref awards a free kick. David Murphy takes the free kick.
58:05 Close range effort by Keith Fahey misses to the left of the goal.
56:34 Roger Johnson challenges Wayne Rooney unfairly and gives away a free kick. Luis Nani has an effort direct from the free kick.
54:51 Substitution Ryan Giggs goes off and Michael Owen comes on.
53:40 Luis Nani takes a shot from just outside the penalty area which clears the crossbar.
52:08 Assist on the goal came from Ryan Giggs.
52:08 GOAL - Dimitar Berbatov:Man Utd 4 - 0 Birmingham Dimitar Berbatov gets on the score sheet with a goal from close in to the top left corner of the goal. Man Utd 4-0 Birmingham.
51:22 Shot from just outside the penalty area by David Bentley misses to the left of the target.
49:57 Substitution Alexander Hleb goes off and Cameron Jerome comes on.
49:57 Substitution Patrice Evra goes off and Fabio Da Silva comes on.
49:46 The ball is delivered by David Murphy.
47:22 Close range header by Wayne Rooney goes wide of the left-hand post.
Correction - 45:01 Substitution (Birmingham) makes a substitution, with Cameron Jerome coming on for Alexander Hleb.
Correction - 45:01 Substitution Patrice Evra leaves the field to be replaced by Fabio Da Silva.
45:01 The second half has started.
45:00+2:30 The referee blows for half time.
Correction - 45:00+1:10 Wayne Rooney provided the assist for the goal.
45:00+1:10 The assist for the goal came from Dimitar Berbatov.
45:00+1:10 GOAL - Ryan Giggs:Man Utd 3 - 0 Birmingham Ryan Giggs scores a brilliant goal from inside the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Man Utd 3-0 Birmingham.
45:00+0:29 Ryan Giggs takes the outswinging corner, clearance made by Matt Derbyshire.
45:00+0:13 Unfair challenge on Oliveira Anderson by Jordon Mutch results in a free kick. Oliveira Anderson restarts play with the free
43:52 Corner taken by Luis Nani, Stephen Carr fouled by Nemanja Vidic, the ref awards a free kick. Ben Foster restarts play with
the free kick.
41:47 The ball is sent over by Ryan Giggs, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ben Foster by Chris Smalling. Ben Foster
takes the free kick.
41:25 Corner taken by Ryan Giggs from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Roger Johnson.
41:08 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Luis Nani.
39:53 A cross is delivered by Luis Nani. Ryan Giggs takes a shot. Blocked by Jordon Mutch. Outswinging corner taken left-footed
by Ryan Giggs from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Matt Derbyshire.
38:05 Shot from 20 yards from Darron Gibson. Save by Ben Foster.
34:38 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Bentley by Patrice Evra. The free kick is delivered right-footed by David
Bentley from right by-line, Dimitar Berbatov makes a clearance.
34:11 The referee blows for offside. Ben Foster takes the indirect free kick.
33:36 Unfair challenge on Wayne Rooney by Barry Ferguson results in a free kick. Oliveira Anderson restarts play with the free kick.
32:52 Unfair challenge on Matt Derbyshire by Patrice Evra results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by David Bentley.
31:41 Shot from just outside the penalty box by Dimitar Berbatov misses to the left of the target.
30:31 The assist for the goal came from Wayne Rooney.
30:31 GOAL - Dimitar Berbatov:Man Utd 2 - 0 Birmingham A goal is scored by Dimitar Berbatov from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man Utd 2-0 Birmingham.
29:08 Long range shot from Luis Nani misses to the left of the target.
Correction - 29:06 The ball is swung over by Luis Nani.
29:06 The ball is crossed by Luis Nani.
28:25 The ball is sent over by David Bentley.
28:07 Centre by David Bentley, clearance made by Nemanja Vidic.
25:04 Keith Fahey produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses wide left of the target.
24:42 Corner from left by-line crossed in by David Bentley, save by Edwin Van der Sar.
23:47 Inswinging corner taken by David Bentley from the left by-line played to the near post, Darron Gibson makes a clearance.
23:47 Substitution Darron Gibson on for Michael Carrick.
21:48 The official flags Dimitar Berbatov offside. Ben Foster restarts play with the free kick.
20:05 Foul by Chris Smalling on Matt Derbyshire, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed right-footed by David Bentley from left channel,
Nemanja Vidic makes a clearance.
19:41 Dimitar Berbatov is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Ben Foster.
17:33 Luis Nani produces a cross, Ryan Giggs takes a shot. Liam Ridgewell gets a block in. Luis Nani has an effort at goal from
just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.
16:41 Luis Nani produces a cross, clearance by David Murphy.
14:31 Outswinging corner taken by Ryan Giggs, Chris Smalling challenges Jordon Mutch unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ben Foster
takes the direct free kick.
13:18 A cross is delivered by Wayne Rooney, clearance made by Barry Ferguson.
10:17 Corner taken by Ryan Giggs, clearance made by Roger Johnson.
9:23 Corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs, clearance made by Jordon Mutch.
Correction - 8:24 Unfair challenge on Jordon Mutch by Luis Nani results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Ben Foster.
8:24 Foul by Luis Nani on Jordon Mutch, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Ben Foster.
7:24 Patrice Evra crosses the ball, clearance made by Stephen Carr. Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs from the
left by-line, Liam Ridgewell makes a clearance.
4:49 Michael Carrick has shot on goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
4:25 Dimitar Berbatov takes a shot. Save made by Ben Foster.
3:40 Luis Nani fouled by Liam Ridgewell, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Oliveira Anderson.
1:35 Corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs from the right by-line to the near post, the assist for the goal came from John O'Shea.
1:35 GOAL - Dimitar Berbatov:Man Utd 1 - 0 Birmingham Dimitar Berbatov grabs a headed goal from close range. Man Utd 1-0 Birmingham.
0:00 The referee gets the match started.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.