Paul Robinson had his fingers stung as early as the fourth minute from a Freddie Ljungberg shot before bravely foiling the Hammers' attacking thrust with two superb blocks before a Bobby Zamora effort struck a teammate and flew over the bar.
Three minutes later and it was the visitors in retreat and in arrears. A measured free-kick flighted in by Tom Huddlestone was met with a flick of the head by Berbatov and Robert Green was defeated and picking the ball out of his net on seven minutes.
There was a repeat, only from the other side, ten minutes later. A similarly fizzed in cross from Huddlestone was again met by the head of Berbatov and the advantage was doubled.
Aaron Lennon then started to put his mark on proceedings with a few speedy bursts down the right flank and West Ham were in a fair degree of disarray.
Complete dominance followed with the ball being pinged around with authority, only not providing a further end product. Another Huddlestone set piece was this time aimed at the impressive Jonathan Woodgate, but eventually fell to Berbatov on the volley, with Green equal to his effort on this occasion.
West Ham were dealt a further blow two minutes before half time when persistant offender Luis Boa Morte finally saw red after numerous offences. The only surprise is that he was not subbed as he was so clearly going to be taking the walk at some point.
Four minutes into the second half the excellent Huddlestone fired a volley just over the bar as West Ham were becoming an increasingly agitated side and referee Mr Foy was having to calm a good few frayed tempers.
They rallied for a spell approaching the hour mark, but a lightening quick counter which saw Berbatov combine with Lennon saw a few late, desperate blocks being called for.
Gilberto then replaced Steed Malbranque and there was a further change in the 69th minute when Keane left the pitch to a great ovation to make way for Darren Bent. Woodgate later left the pitch after hobbling back from an attacking sortie - Teemu Tainio came on in midfield, with Didier Zokora dropping back into central defence.
West Ham battled in search of a goal that would have set a few nerves jangling but the head of Michael Dawson was the common factor at the conclusion of most of their attacking intent.
At the other end a seal was put on the victory when Pascal Chimbonda squeezed the ball into the path of Gilberto, who turned inside the area before rolling past Green. Berbatov had a hat-trick chance after a counter dash from Hutton and Lennon, but disturbed the side netting after Green foiled Hutton's shot.
There was further pain for the Hammers in stoppage time when the superb Hutton dispatched a measured cross from the right that was headed downwards by Bent to make it a fully deserved four goal triumph.
The Premier League gap between ourselves and West Ham was narrowed to five points as the East London side were defeated 4-0 at the Lane.Dimitar Berbatov netted twice with his head to take his tally to the season to 19 in all competitions in a game that was, in truth, as one-sided an encounter as you are likely to witness. Substitute Gilberto put a late gloss on the scoreline with his first for the Club on his league debut before fellow sub Darren Bent added a fourth.