After losing back-to-back Premier League games, Manchester United put Bolton Wanderers to the sword with a very one-sided 3-0 win at Old Trafford.
Paul Scholes scored his first Premier League goal since August 2010, and second half goals from Danny Welbeck and Michael Carrick iced the convincing victory over the Trotters.
With all three points, United storm to pull level with Manchester City, who will play Wigan Athletic on Monday evening, but still trail them on goal differential.
For the first time in quite some time, Sir Alex Ferguson named a traditional 4-4-2 starting XI, with the only surprise coming with Paul Scholes handed his first start since May. Besides the Ginger Prince's inclusion, the only other changes came from the 3-2 win over the Blues, were Rafael and Jonny Evans replacing the injured Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, due to injuries.
Like they have done in the last couple of matches at home, United created at least four good chance chances within the first seven minutes. In the opening minute, Nani flew down the left flank, but his shot went well wide of Adam Bogdan's left post, and three minutes later Michael Carrick bent a cross around the Bolton defenders, but Welbeck's shot was palmed away by the Trotters' goalkeeper. Then with an attack down the right, Rooney played in Antonio Valencia, but his cross cleared out of harm's way by David Wheater.
United kept up the pressure and there was some tantalizing, mouthwatering play, but some great brave goalkeeping by Bogdan denied a teasing cross from Nani and a very good block to deny Rooney by Samuel Ricketts denied them.
In the 21st minute, a delightful ball from Valencia sprung Welbeck behind the Bolton defense and he was brought down from behind by Zat Knight for a penalty, but Peter Walton didn't give him a deserved red card. Rooney stepped up to take the penalty, and Bogdan guessed correctly and made a flying save to his right and the danger was eventually cleared.
Bolton could breathe a sigh of relief, which was only short-lived as they were again put under pressure by the Reds, but Rooney ballooned a great chance over the bar from seven yards out.
The non-sending off certainly helped Bolton cope with the pressure the Reds were throwing at them, as they were able to keep numbers in the right places on the pitch, especially with a big presence as Zat Knight is on crosses into their box.
In first half stoppage time, the Reds got that elusive goal. Again, some very good passing down the right between Nani, Valencia and Rooney, saw the latter whip a pass to an unmarked Scholes at the back stick, and he tucked it away with ease and conviction.
The Reds started the second half, in the same fashion as the entire first 45 minutes went, but Bolton had the first golden chance. Evans played a lame duck pass that was intercepted and the speedy Mark Davies tore past Ferdinand, but his cut-back pass was lifted over Anders Lindegaard's net by David Ngog.
After moaning about not getting a free-kick, Rooney and Welbeck combined very well inside the Bolton area, but the former still had his mind on the previous play and pulled his shot well wide of Bogdan's goal.
In the 62nd minute, United had a great chance to get that all-important second goal, but Rooney, at full stretch, could only manage to get a slight touch on Valencia's precise cross into the side netting.
After that near miss, Bolton started to get some of the ball and were asking questions of their own. In the 68th minute, they were within inches of scoring, but Rafael held his position and cleared Gretar Steinsson's header off the line.
In the 74th minute, United got the second to put a little daylight between them and the visitors. A neat pass to Rooney, followed by a fortunate pass by him, saw Welbeck expertly slot the ball into the far corner of the net.
Cheers were met by hearts dropping to their stomachs, as Welbeck looked to pick up a knock and forced off the field.
Nine minutes later, the game was finally put out of reach as the Reds scored their third. With space in front of him, Michael Carrick eyes lit up as big as a Christmas, as he passed the ball around a defender and into the far corner of the net.
In the first of the three minutes of stoppage time added on by the referee, Bolton nearly grabbed a consolation goal, but Darren Pratley blasted his shot wide of Lindegaard's post - and the Reds held on for the three points and the shutout.
Lindegaard; Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Scholes (Giggs 69'), Carrick, Nani (Park 69'); Rooney, Welbeck (Hernandez 78')
Scholes 45'; Welebck 74'; Carrick 83'
Shots (On Target): 22 (8)
Fouls Conceded (Suffered): 7 (7)