In a high-scoring and entertaining match that saw many missed chances, Manchester United held off Chelsea, 3-1, at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Red Devils got three first-half goals with Chris Smalling's header in the eight minute, Nani's electric shot from distance in the 37th minute, and Rooney's goal just before halftime after the ball deflected towards him after hitting Chelsea's John Terry.
The Blues showed some life in the second half when Fernando Torres, who has been subjected to criticism for his lack of scoring, found the back of the net off the assist by Nicolas Anelka.
Torres had a pair of opportunities in the 71st minute, when the Spaniard made some clever moves to avoid defenders and then ripped a shot that went directly to goalkeeper David De Gea. Off the rebound, Torres lifted the ball over the crossbar.
Things got extremely embarrassing for Torres later, when he received a fantastic through ball by Ramires, but after avoiding De Gea, Torres missed an empty net goal.
In the 57th minute, Rooney missed a penalty kick in which he slipped and kicked the ball with his right foot that deflected off his left foot. The ball went wide right.
Rooney would miss another golden opportunity in the 77th minute, when Patrice Evra's cross into the box to the United forward, resulted in Rooney's one touch that hit the post. In the final five minutes, Rooney was unable to knock in a header, that simply had no pace or direction. It would have been another hat trick for Rooney, if he converted two of the three easy chances.
In the final minutes of the match, Rooney found substitute Dimitar Berbatov who easily could have scored, but Ashley Cole stepped into the path to deny the goal that the Bulgarian should have slammed home.
Manchester United took 14 shots with six on goal, while Chelsea took 22 shots, and with eight on goal. The Red Devils had possession for 57 percent of the match.
The Red Devils remain in first place with five wins in five matches for a total of 15 points. Chelsea are in third place with 10 points.