Guzan's involvement was comparatively muted, facing only sporadic attempts from the hosts. Rooney twice came close in a matter of seconds before making way for substitute Danny Welbeck, while Kagawa undid a beautiful feint by blasting high into the Stretford End after fine wingplay from Valencia.
There would be no fourth goal, leaving United's number 20 as the man in the spotlight. Van Persie's goals have made the difference to last season's dramatic dethronement, but praise must also be reserved for those who stood shell-shocked at the Stadium of Light last May.
We were told that the landscape of English football had changed for good. Yet, here we are, a year on, and once again Sir Alex and his indefatigable players are atop the pinnacle of the Premier League, surveying all below them as worthy champions.