There were few chances in the first half, but United began the second period in style as two Rooney struck twice in three minutes early in the half to put his side in command.
It was not until late in the match that the contest came alive, when Luis Suarez, who was under the spotlight following his first start since serving an eight-game ban for racially abusing United defender Patrice Evra, turned a free-kick in, with 10 minutes remaining. Despite the life line, the visitors could not go on to claim the equaliser, and the closest they came was when \'keeper David De Gea tipped a Glen Johnson effort over the bar in the dying minutes.
United have 58 points from 25 games, one more than City who travel to Aston Villa on Sunday. Third-placed Tottenham Hotspur are on 50 points before hosting Newcastle United later on Saturday.
Evra-Suarez handshake row
Evra was involved in an angry confrontation with Luis Suarez on Saturday during a pre-match handshake in the players\' first meeting since the Liverpool forward was banned for racially abusing the France international.
Suarez refused to shake hands with Evra when the lineups crossed prior to the Premier League match at Old Trafford, infuriating the United captain.
Evra tried to pull back the arm of Suarez as the Uruguay international moved to shake hands with David De Gea, who was next in the United line, but Suarez refused to turn back. Evra threw his left arm up in disgust, while United teammate Rio Ferdinand pointedly refused to shake the hand of Suarez moments later. Evra was then spoken to by referee Phil Dowd.
Suarez recently returned from an eight-match suspension for repeatedly calling Evra ‘Negro’ in the first league match between the fierce northwest rivals this season at Anfield on October 15 last year.
Chelsea slip, Henry strikes
Arsenal made the most of another Chelsea slip-up to climb to fourth after coming from behind to beat Sunderland 2-1 thanks to Thierry Henry’s stoppage-time winner. The London side were trailing to James McClean’s 70th minute strike, but Aaron Ramsey leveled the scores soon after, and Henry, playing his last Premier League game before his loan spell ends, won it at the death for the gunners. Chelsea had earlier slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Everton to pile more pressure on manager Andre Villas-Boas.
At the other end of the table, Blackburn Rovers stayed in the relegation zone on goal difference despite a 3-2 victory at home to Queens Park Rangers that left the London side hovering just above them. In another game between two struggling sides, Wigan Athletic got the better of local rivals Bolton Wanderers with a 2-1 victory at the Reebok stadium. Wigan stay bottom with 19 points but made up some ground on the other relegation battlers with second-from-bottom Bolton on 20 and Blackburn, QPR and Wolverhampton Wanderers on 21.