Adnan Januzaj had the ball in the net fairly early on after some excellent interplay with Van Persie, but after firing home from the edge of the area the youngster was judged to have controlled the ball with his arm and Palace escaped.
Rooney was the next to have a decent opportunity to find a breakthrough after his own corner came back to him, and he advanced towards the area before chipping a fine ball to the back post, which Nemanja Vidic ended up heading just over from close range.
Marouane Fellaini had looked sharp on his reintroduction to the team following his injury, and went on to have a fine game, but was guilty of a bad miss towards the end of the half. Juan Mata picked the big Belgian out with a nice touch but his attempted curler into the top corner was high and wide.
United started more sluggishly in the second half, but ended up finding their breakthrough when Marouane Chamakh clumsily felled Patrice Evra just as he entered the area. Robin van Persie stepped up to take the penalty, and made no mistake, battering it into the right corner to give United the lead.
The goal seemed to deflate the hosts, and not long afterwards United delivered the killer second through Wayne Rooney. Patrice Evra was once again the creator, his cross from the left deflected to sit up nicely for Rooney, who met it with a wonderful, crisp volley which left Julian Speroni with little chance.
That was the last real action of the game - a fairly routine, 2-0 win over a poor side. Something full, routine for top clubs, and something we've had far too little of this season. The positive were many, however - the clean sheet, the return and decent performance of Fellaini, Rooney and Van Persie getting among the goals, and yet another display of dangerous, exciting football from Adnan Januzaj. Even if only very briefly, things are looking up.