Once again, a comeback was required as Wayne Rooney's early own-goal put the Potters ahead, only for the scoreline to be flipped by the interval as Rooney nodded the Reds level and Robin van Persie steered home a clinical finish.
Danny Welbeck's diving header put United in a position of comfort and, although Michael Kightly's solo effort hauled Stoke back into contention, Rooney quickly struck again to ensure the victory for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
The United manager could reflect on another pulsating home game in which his side showed occasional frailties - particularly in the first period - but also demonstrated the mouth-watering potential afforded by their 4-2-3-1 formation.
Sir Alex had the rare luxury of picking from almost a full squad, despite losing a host of his players to international duty in the preceding fortnight. That allowed the manager to select his team based largely on freshness, with Shinji Kagawa and Tom Cleverley missing from the squad entirely after their exertions with Japan and England respectively.
Paul Scholes returned in central midfield alongside Michael Carrick, while Antonio Valencia started on the right flank in the only changes from the side which started the Reds’ previous Premier League outing; an eye-catching victory at Newcastle.