The match hinged on a contentious decision by referee Jon Moss to show Kagisho Dikgacoi the red card after the visiting midfielder was deemed to have clipped Ashley Young from behind in the death throes of the first half.
Rooney - wearing a protruding protective headband after missing England's matches with Moldova and Ukraine last week due to a large gash on his head - added the second on 81 minutes when he floated a free-kick over the Palace wall and into the corner of the net with Speroni toiling to get down.
Palace did little in the way of attacking, but Dwight Gayle was left to rue what might have been as he lifted the ball over David De Gea and wide of goal moments before Van Persie's opening goal. The win should enhance United's mood before they visit city foes Manchester City next Sunday in the first derby of the new campaign.
PRE-MATCH: ROONEY STARTS, FELLAINI ON BENCH - Rooney was available for first team duty after the striker suffered a gash to the head whilst training with England. United were without Rafael and Phil Jones, who have hamstring and ankle problems respectively. However, Moyes did have Marouane Fellaini available following his £27.5million arrival from Everton. He started on the bench for this one.
44' - GOAL! Van Persie placed the ball to Julian Speroni's right. The Palace goalkeeper dived left. United lead 1-0. Two minutes of time added to the half.
61' - FELLAINI DEBUT: On comes Fellaini and off goes Anderson. The United fans enjoying that moment.
67' - FELLAINI SHOT: Fellaini goes for goal with the volley from distance, but a decent diving stop from Speroni prevents that ball from sneaking in the corner.
81' - GOAL! Rooney sees the free-kick slide over the wall and into the corner of the net. United lead 2-0. Rooney's first goal of the season. David Moyes looking happy with his afternoon.
TALKING POINT: How are United looking ahead of the derby? They struggled for long periods of the first half until Dikgacoi was sent off. United were always in control, but it's difficult to compare overcoming a 10-man Crystal Palace side to visiting Manchester City in the league next weekend. At least Rooney is back, and back in decent form.
Robin van Persie took & scored his first Premier League penalty at Old Trafford for United – all his previous four Premier League penalties for the club had come away from home. His only previous Premier League penalty at Old Trafford was saved – in Arsenal’s 8-2 Premier League defeat at Man Utd, Aug 28th 2011.
Robin van Persie has now scored against all the current Premier League sides he has featured against – he is yet to play against Cardiff in the competition.
Kagisho Dikgacoi has been sent off for the 2nd time in his Premier League career (2 red cards in 17 PL apps) – he was also sent off on his Premier League debut, for Fulham in their 2-2 draw at West Ham, October 4th 2009.
Crystal Palace are currently on a streak of 15 Premier League away matches without a win.
Wayne Rooney ended a run of eight Premier League matches without a goal – his previous Premier League goal also came in a home match against a promoted side, the 1-0 Premier League home win v Reading, March 16th 2013.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Michael Carrick (Manchester United): Not selected for England duty last week, but strolled through the afternoon. A real class act at the heart of the home midfield.
Manchester United: De Gea 6; Fabio 6, Ferdinand 6, Vidic 7, Evra 7; Valencia 6, Carrick 8, Anderson 6, Young 6; Rooney 7, Van Persie 7. Subs: Chicharito 6, Fellaini 7, Januzaj 7
Crystal Palace: Speroni 6, Mariappa 6, Campana 6, Digkacoi 5, Puncheon 6, Jedinak 7, Gayle 5, Gabbidon 6, Moxey 6, Delaney 6, Chamakh 5. Subs: Kebe 5, Jerome 6, Guediora 6
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
#MUFC 2-0 #CPFC: Palace’s hopes take a dive, along with Ashley Young, as United sweat their way to victory with headband-adorned Rooney.