Four second-half goals helped a fluent United see off West Bromwich Albion’s gallant challenge at Old Trafford.
The Reds had been frustrated by the visitors – in particular keeper Scott Carson – for nearly an hour but finally made the breakthrough when Wayne Rooney finished neatly for his fourth goal in as many games.
Cristiano Ronaldo made the game safe with a left-footed shot before Dimitar Berbatov prodded home and substitute Nani added gloss to the scoreline in injury-time.
Rooney was again irrepressible and the only downside to the win was an injury to Patrice Evra, who was forced off in the first half after taking a knock to his leg.
Despite the impending Champions League visit of Celtic, Sir Alex Ferguson opted to field a strong side. It was perhaps a sign of respect for the Baggies, who arrived on the back of three straight league wins.
Right-back Rafael was handed a first Premier League start, with Ryan Giggs playing in the centre of midfield, Ji-sung Park on the left and Ronaldo on the right. Carlos Tevez and Anderson were omitted from the squad after their international exertions in midweek.
West Brom began with a confidence that belied their underdog status, Chris Brunt firing straight at Edwin van der Sar when well placed on the edge of the box.
But United – in particular the first three goalscorers – looked in the mood as well