Manchester United went a point clear at the top of the Premier League after comfortably disposing of West Brom at Old Trafford, courtesy of two Wayne Rooney strikes.

At the same time as United's dominating performance, Manchester City went down 1-0 at Swansea, meaning United leapfrog their rivals in the battle for the Premier League crown.

Any fears that United would feel a hangover from their disappointing defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League on Thursday were quickly dispelled as the home side quickly took control of the game, despite a couple of early attacks from the visitors.

But, while there were plenty of nice touches, the final ball was lacking for much of the first half. Time and time again Ashley Young and Danny Welbeck, selected either side of Rooney and Hernandez in an attack-minded formation, beat their man yet were just unable to lay the ball on a plate for their teammates.

The breakthrough did finally arrive in the 35th minute and there was no surprise that it was Rooney--with seven goals in his last five United appearances coming into the game--who was the man to score.

Hernandez jinked inside from the right and hit a left-footed strike across goal that Rooney anticipated brilliantly to divert the ball over West Brom keeper Ben Foster, who was poised to make the save.

Though United continue to control proceedings, West Brom had an excellent shout for a penalty turned down shortly after the break. Peter Odemwingie tripped over Patrice Evra's outstretched leg just inside the area, but the referee was unmoved. It would have been soft, but by the letter of the law West Brom should have been putting the ball on the spot.

Referee Lee Probert was again at the center of proceedings when he sent off West Brom defender Jonas Olsson for his second bookable offense in the 66th minute. This time the Baggies could have little complaint.

None the less, West Brom manager Roy Hodgson's frustration would have been compounded just five minutes later when Young was dragged down in the area by defender Liam Ridgewell to give United a penalty of their own.

Rooney stepped up and, with perfect deception, slotted the ball to Foster's left, with the goalkeeping diving toward the opposite corner.

United had seen their opportunity to finish the game with their numerical advantage and taken it decisively.

This has to go down as the perfect afternoon for Manchester United. They played superbly at Old Trafford, led by the tempo-setting passing of Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick in the center of midfield.

There was also a cameo appearance by young midfielder Paul Pogba, which would have been a welcome sight to all connected to United. The French 18-year-old had reportedly already agreed to join Juventus, but this appearance means that he could well have had a change of heart and be ready to commit his future to United.

And, of course, the coup de grâce was the final score from Swansea, which raised cheers around Old Trafford and puts United in the driving seat for yet another Premier League title.

M-W footyroom.com by footyroom