Last Updated: 14/09/13 2:43pm
It's all over and Manchester United have laboured to a 2-0 victory over 10-man Crystal Palace - but it was far from convincing. The champions struggled to exert their authority in the first half and only made the breakthrough just before the break when Dikgacoi was sent off for a foul on Young inside the box which led to van Persie's penalty. A Rooney free kick sealed the points but United fans will be concerned how their team failed to score from open play in what was expected to be an easy fixture.
The ball gets trapped under Rooney's feet on the edge of the box and Palace promptly clear their lines.
Rooney sets up Hernandez on the right side of the box but the Mexican's effort is tame and Speroni saves with ease.
It's probably fair to say Januzaj has staked his claim for a starting spot in future games with this little cameo performance.
The travelling Palace fans won't be discouraged at all by their side's plucky display today. Having come so agonisingly close to reaching half-time at 0-0, their heads could have dropped in the second period with 10 men but they've held together well to keep the scoreline respectable.
Januzaj slips a lovely pass down the left for Rooney, who darts into the area before lifting an attempted chip well wide of the far post.
In trying to prevent that shot, Mariappa is down injured and leaves the field for a short moment to receive treatment.
Soon after the restart, United get down the left wing and win another free kick which could cause problems for Palace.
GOAL ROONEY - The England striker curls the ball brilliantly over the wall and into the bottom corner of the net to seal all three points for United.
Van Persie is replaced by Javier Hernandez and you can probably see why with a Champions League clash on the horizon. Even so, he won't be too impressed to have just a penalty goal to show against the 10-man Palace.
Valencia tries to use his pace to beat Moxey on the right but the Palace defender does well to slide in with a tackle which concedes a corner.
Januzaj shows good vision to pick out Valencia on the right wing but the resulting low corss is cleared.
Palace continue to defend in large numbers as United struggle to carve out a golden opportunity to double their lead.
The introductions of Januzaj and Fellaini has given United an extra edge but why has it needed these substitutions to spark them into life?
United take a short corner to an unmarked van Persie on the right edge of the box and the Dutchman is unfortune to see his effort fly narrowly over the bar.
Fellaini comes close to marking his debut with a goal but after teeing himself up for a volley on the edge of the box, he sees Speroni make a save down to his left.
Januzaj nearly creats a goal with his first contribution to the game as his dangerous cross from the left is spilled by Speroni before the Palace defence clear.
Van Persie's cross from the left side of the box is deflected behind by Gabbidon so United have another corner in which they'll look to grab this elusive second goal.
The flurry of substitutions has broken the flow of this contest - if there was any 'flow' in the first place - and another is coming up shortly.
A high pass towards the right wing from Rooney sails out of play, pretty much summing up United's performance today.
Marouane Fellaini is brought on for his Manchester United debut at the expense of Anderson and the Old Trafford crowd give the former Everton man a standing ovation.
United take a quick through on the left before Evra crosses low for van Persie, who snatches at his shot and fires over the bar.
Palace's damage limitation exercise is going pretty well and as long as it remains 1-0, they may well sneak a chance to grab a point late on.
Crystal Palace make a substitution with Adlene Guedioura coming on to replace Jose Campana, who has struggled to make an impact today.
Young spots the run by Evra down the left side of the box but the Frenchman's low cross is cleared to safety.
Young tries to curl one from distance but the diving Speroni is relieved to see the ball bend wide of the post.
Unless the Red Devils turn it up a few notches, this performance won't silence the critics at all - in fact it might make them even louder.
United's intensity levels are certainly not what they should be and they seem content to go through the motions towards three points.
This is a good spell of possession for the 10 men of Palace but it all ends when Gayle drags a shot from distance well wide of the post.
Palace don't seem to have given up all hope of snatching a point as they launch a couple of long balls forward.
Anderson's defence -litting through ball is latched onto by Young, who blasts his effort from inside the box straight at Speroni. The Palace goalkeeper did make himself big but Young really should have done better with that clear-cut chance.
United should be looking to go in for the kill with a man advantage and they've already shown intent to get forward in the early stages of this second half.
Ten-man Crystal Palace get the match back under way knowing they face a mountain to climb just to keep the score down at Old Trafford.
Manchester United have been price boosted to 6/1 to beat Crystal Palace 4-0 with Sky Bet while a 1-1 draw can be backed at 50/1. Wayne Rooney is 11/2 to score the next goal while another Sky Bet boost is 20/1 about van Persie scoring next and United win 3-0.
The whiistle sounds and despite labouring for virtually the entire half, Manchester United head into the break with a 1-0 lead thanks to van Persie's penalty. Palace, now down to 10 men, so nearly held firm until the interval but now you'd think they face a tough task to stop the floodgates from opening.
GOAL VAN PERSIE - On the stroke of half-time, van Persie casually steps up and sends Speroni the wrong way to give Manchester United a 1-0 lead.
RED CARD and PENALTY - All of a sudden Palace's afternoon goes from very good to very bad as Dikgacoi, who was deemed to be the last man, is sent off for bringing down Young inside the box.
United keep the pressure up despite that moment of worry as they try to find a goal before the break.
Gayle brings down a long ball brilliantly on the left side of the box but his attempted chip over De Gea bounces agonisingly wide of the far post.
An in-swinging cross from Young on the left is just a tad too high for an unmarked Rooney so Palace survive once again in the space of a minute.
A searching pass from Rooney on the right picks out the forward run of van Persie inside the box and the Dutchman is unlucky to see his ferocious shot rattle the bar. Easily the best moment of what has been a stale first half.
Without wanting to sound to patronising, it will be quite an achievement for Palace to get to half-time on level terms although there's still enough time for that to change.
That last effort just underlines that no matter how poorly United are playing, they do have the quality to create something out of nothing so Palace just can't afford to switch off for just a moment.
Evra's cross from the left finds van Persie at the near post but the Dutchman's clever back heel just goes wide. Had it been on target, Speroni was a beaten man.
Palace are clearly growing in confidence as they enjoy more time on the ball themselves rather than just defending all the time.
Credit must go to this plucky Crystal Palace outfit, who have shown great levels of concentration not to give United a sniff of a proper effort on goal.
You'd have thought United would have broken the deadlock by now but at the moment, they don't look like doing so at all.
Rooney charges forward before passing to van Persie on the left side of the box. The Dutchman cuts inside and with no room to shoot, he lays it off to Anderson on the edge of the box but the Brazilian loses possession. Very poor.
Crystal Palace embark on a rare attack of their own but Jason Puncheon's pass rolls harmlessly through to David De Gea, who was probably getting a little bored.
Rooney must have read my last update as he goes for goal from around 30 yards but it's straight at Speroni, who makes a comfortable catch.
The Manchester United fans are as quiet as mice at the moment and the team really needs to inspire them into life otherwise this could well end up being a frustrating afternoon.
Play comes to a brief halt as Evra nurses what looks to be a minor injury following a tackle from Dikgacoi.
That said, United's pressure has certainly lacked a cutting edge and killer instinct so unless that changes, maybe the Eagles can cling on for an unlikely goalless draw.
A high looping cross from Young on the left is well claimed by a confident Speroni. You wonder just how long the Eagles will manage to frustrate United for at this rate.
The visitors get a moment to breath again when Young is caught offside. But it won't be long before they allow the hosts to come back at them.
Palace continue to defend stoutly from corners today which is a good job considering how many United have won.
Although the resulting corner is well dealt with, the Eagles promptly have to defend another when Dean Moxey heads behind.
Jedinak is once again at the heart of the defensive action as his well-timed tackle inside the box concedes just a corner.
Young is shown the yellow card for a dive inside the box after trying to win a penalty when taking the ball past Kagisho Dikgacoi.
Van Persie hoists a high ball into the box and although Jedinak does well to head it behind for a corner, he needn't have bothered because the offside flag is raised.
Rooney, sporting a black headband today, is fouled by Delaney and wins a free kick around 30 yards from goal.
Another tame corner fails to create a defence chance and Crystal Palace have a goal kick to ease the building pressure.
Back come United - this time down the left wing - but a cross from Ashley Young is deflected behind. The winger had half-heartedly appeared for handball against Danny Gabbidon but nothing was given.
Palace string a few crisp passes together in midfield before Jedinak carelessly gives the ball away.
Crystal Palace are being forced back even deeper now but good work from Damien Delaney dispossesses van Persie inside the box.
Patrice Evra takes a tumble inside the box following a collision with Mile Jedinak but referee Jon Moss waves the penalty appeal away.
A well-organised Palace side have done well to prevent an early onslaught on their goal and the crowd have subsequently fallen pretty quiet.
Ian Holloway is watching the game from the stands having been punished for his outburst on the opening day of the season.
Two years ago Dwight Gale was playing for Bishop Stortford and now here he is today playing at Old Trafford against the champions. But will he mark this incredible rise to the top with a dream goal today?
This is a bright start from David Moyes' side as they look to make an early breakthrough at Old Trafford.
Michael Carrick blasts a fierce effort on goal from long range and Julian Speroni does well to parry the ball away from danger.
Robin van Persie is the man to take it but his delivery into the box is headed clear by Marouane Chamakh.
The hosts are on the front foot already as Antonio Valencia wins a corner on the right when his cross is deflected behind.
Manchester United get the action under way against Crystal Palace in today's first Premier League clash at Old Trafford.
The players are walking out onto the Old Trafford pitch so time for just one more email before kick-off from Olayiwola Yusuf. He says: "I believe our boys will silent our critics today and will keep it going. Going for United 4 Palace 0. Rooney and RVP will be on score sheets today."
Graham Osbourne isn't happy. He says: "Why isn't Welbeck playing? Is he injured? This is going to ruin my fantasy league as he's my captain for this game."
Nigel Healy says: "I reckon United will win this by 6 goals to nil. Hat-trick for RVP, 2 for Rooney and Valencia to score 1."
Isaac Nuwagaba from Uganda says: "I think Kagawa should have been given a starting place for him to be prepared for Champions League clash. Moyes should get a reliable side to start with and in my view Kagawa should be included."
Frank Noone from Roscommon says: "I thought United would win easy but with Fellaini only on the bench and no place for Wellbeck even among the subs, it'll be a tighter affair than i thought. I see Palace defending deep but will get tired so Man Utd 2-0 for me. Moyes has to start Fellaini and Wellbeck for me."
Finlay Jack writes: "Should be an easy win for United today, don't quite understand why moyes went for Anderson over Fellani. I think Dwight Gayle and Jason Puncheon will have a wee bit to offer but not enough to trouble the united back line. 4-0 united for me."
Gabriel Sutton emails in to say: "I'm going to go for a narrow win for United, I don't think it'll be as big a scoreline as most people think. Red Devils have more players just coming back from internationals, and Moyes will have two really big games in the next week on his mind. Palace have had a changeover of their squad recently but they'll put in a committed performance, playing with no burden of expectation, very much the opposite for David Moyes. 1-0."
Let's now take a look at the pre-match odds with our friends at Sky Bet. In light of the news about Wayne Rooney starting, punters should be keen to snap up the Price Boosted odds of the England striker to score first at 5/1 while Robin van Persie has also been pushed out to 100/30. Manchester United to win 3-1 is boosted to 12/1 while a 5-0 win is 25/1. Palace are 16/1 to produce a major upset while the draw is also regarded as an unlikely outcome at 6/1. It's 3/1 for the champions to net inside the first 10 minutes and Marouane Fellaini (5/2) to mark his debut with a goal in 90 minutes. Unfortunately for any Palace fans reading, my prediction is a 4-0 victory for the hosts, which you can back at 9/1. Head now to www.skybet.com to place your pre-match and in-running bets.
David Moyes hasn't exactly enjoyed the flying start to his reign as Manchester United manager that he would have hoped for while his recruitment policy - or lack of it - during the summer transfer window has already prompted critics to question his suitability for such a huge job. However, while an anticipated routine win today won't obviously silence them for good, it will at least get the Red Devils' season kick-started.
As you can see from the team sheets below, Wayne Rooney is included in Manchester United's starting line-up to face the Eagles this lunchtime but new signing Marouane Fellaini has to make do with a place on the bench.
Manchester United team: De Gea, Fabio Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Carrick, Anderson, Valencia, Rooney, Young, van Persie. Subs: Evans, Hernandez, Cleverley, Zaha, Fellaini, Amos, Januzaj.
Crystal Palace team: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Campana, Puncheon, Chamakh, Gayle. Subs: Phillips, O'Keefe, Kebe, Alexander, Jerome, Bannan, Guedioura.