On an afternoon raining landmark numbers for Sir Alex Ferguson and three of his stalwarts, a weaker Manchester United XI had little trouble with Wigan Athletic's 3-5-2.
Ferguson was taking charge of a 500th home league encounter, Paul Scholes notching his 700th United appearance, Ryan Giggs the 600th in the Premier League and Rio Ferdinand's count was up to 400 in the colours of the 19-times champions.
The desired result for them came courtesy of strikes from Scholes, Javier Hernández, Alexander Büttner's buccaneering third and a 25-yarder from his fellow debutant, Nick Powell.
At half-time it had been 0-0 and a content Ferguson said: "They're quite an aggressive team to play against, they gave a lot of fouls away, but once we got the speed of our game right it made a difference to us. We became far more aggressive in terms of getting the ball back, a lot of good tackles in midfield and scoring the first goal is always important in these type of matches."
Roberto Martínez, as is the way with the losing manager, was less happy. His ire was directed at Michael Oliver, the referee, who awarded Danny Welbeck an extremely dubious sixth-minute penalty for a theatrical tumble, which was missed by Hernández.
Martinez said: "Today I knew, when you come to these places, you need to have a strong referee. The decision for the penalty was shocking. I am not bothered about the scoreline. I will take responsibility for that. But it is difficult to come to Old Trafford and have a referee who gets affected by the occasion.
"We have better standards than how we played today. First half we were brave but giving the goal away, all of a sudden they relax a little bit more. We are nowhere near the level of last season, we have a strong squad and want to keep working. I was pleased with many aspects of our performance but have to congratulate Manchester United."
Scholes showed he still possesses his nose for a goal when sniffing in the area on 51 minutes. Michael Carrick's awareness had him pivoting and finding Nani, who was lurking to the right. The Portuguese winger struck a cross-shot at Ali al-Habsi which the goalkeeper parried and Scholes smashed home for a 107th league strike to make it 34 Premier League clubs the midfielder has now registered against.
Ferguson said: "We always remember Scholes as someone who arrives late in the box. But his role has changed over the years, playing a holding role. That's him scored in every one of his 100th, 200th, 300th, 400th, 500th not 600th but 700th. It's fantastic."
Hernández's strike came after smart work from Giggs and Büttner. Iván Ramis became the latest added to the Welshman's file of patsies when a hip-swivel left him floundering. Giggs lost, retook possession, then flipped the ball to the left-back, in for Patrice Evra who was dropped from the match-day 18 due to injury, Ferguson said. Büttner's cross was finished by the Mexican, with the best yet to come from the Dutchman.
From wide left his journey at Habsi began with Arouna Koné being beaten before Emmerson Boyce, James McCarthy and Ramis were also left trailing, Büttner completing the show by forcing the ball past the keeper. That would have been United's fourth had Hernández not missed the penalty won by Welbeck's earlier theatrics. Habsi saved low to his left as karma righted Oliver's wrong decision. The forward's failure followed Van Persie's "Panenka" miss from the spot at Southampton last time out. Ferguson said of Welbeck's effort: "It wasn't a great penalty was it? That can affect you a little bit that in the sense that you think you're going to get a good start and you don't get a good start so you have to start again."
Of Büttner the manager added: "He was rash at times but he has great engine and great enthusiasm for the game. Powell also received praise. "He's going to be a really good player – [he has a] terrific temperament, two feet, [is] quick, a great striker of the ball for an 18-year-old boy. He's not 19 till next March. It's been a great day for him."