Two Wayne Rooney goals were enough to see off 10-man West Brom and send Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to the top of the Premier League.
The fans at Old Trafford were delirious at the final whistle when the news filtered through that Manchester City had been beaten 1-0 at Swansea City.
It was slow start at the Red Devils’ ground but United’s greater quality showed through in the end with Rooney scoring in the first half and converted a penalty in the second.
Despite this, it was Roy Hodgson’s side who were closest first and Keith Andrews should have scored when sliding in to meet Liam Ridgewell’s in the fifth minute.
After Danny Welbeck had set us Ashley Young to test Ben Foster, David de Gea made an impressive save to turn a deflected Andrews shot round the post after a quarter of an hour.
It was a decent start to the game for the midlands side but United finally came to life in the 26th minute and Welbeck could have done better when he met an Ashley young cross.
The pressure was beginning to show and in the 33rd minute Rooney might have got the opener when stretching to volley Young’s wipped cross to the back post, but he could only manage to cushion it back into Foster’s arms.
He did not make the same mistake again when in the 36th minute he showed a poacher’s instincts to deflect Javier Hernandez’s cross-come-shot over the helpless Foster.
The second half was much of the same but West Brom had a penalty shout turned down ten minutes after the restart when Patrice Evra didn’t get his toe to the ball with his challenge.
Peter Odemwingie might have put the referee off with his histrionics over what was a mistimed tackle.
It didn’t affect United though and Hernandez almost doubled the lead a minute later but his shot from the edge of the area crashed against the post.
West Brom were struggling and it only got worse as Jonas Olsson was shown his second yellow for a trip on Hernandez – it gave the Baggiesz a mountain to climb and it wasn’t long before United’s dominance earned them their deserved winner.
With little a little less than 20 minutes to go Andrews was exposed when standing in at full-back and dragged back Young. Rooney made no mistake from the spot to score his ninth goal in six games.
The jubilation around Old Trafford increased when the news that Swansea had taken the lead against City filtered through.
It was the perfect end to a dominant day for Ferguson’s side and they are now looking ominously good for the run-in.
Ferguson has said he would be happy to be just two points behind City going into the derby at the end of next month, but he may be doing a lot better now as his team nestled back into the familiar spot at the top of the table
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