It was De Gea who remained the busier of the two goalkeepers in a free-flowing opening to the game, however, and the Spaniard needed to be alert to drop to his right and push Andrews' low, deflected free-kick around the post as the visitors' menace remained.
Roy Hodgson's side, buoyed by successive victories over Wolves, Sunderland and Chelsea, were impressively tenacious; pressing United all over the field, regrouping swiftly in defence and always looking to exploit the Reds' commitment to attack with swift counters of their own.
Welbeck's sharp start to the game made him one of the leading contenders to inspire a breakthrough for United. He powered Young's in-swinging corner over the bar with a back-post header, then released Young with an impudent back-heel. Though the winger reached the ball before the onrushing Foster, Jonas Olsson was on-hand to clear the cross.
Young was again involved in Rooney's first opening of the game. The winger profited on fine industry from Patrice Evra and Javier Hernandez before whipping the ball to the back post, where Rooney failed to gain sufficient purchase on his volley to do any more than tamely direct it to Foster.
There would be no such charity with the striker's next act, 10 minutes before the break. A sustained spell of United pressure culminated in Scholes spreading the ball wide to Chicharito. The Mexican cut inside Ridgwell and arrowed a left-footed shot towards goal, but Rooney intercepted the ball's flight and diverted it beyond the committed Foster.
Old Trafford's atmosphere was sufficiently cranked up by the goal, and maintained by an impressive end to the half from United. Jones headed into the side-netting from another deep Young cross, while Welbeck only narrowly