Blackburn Rovers put in a much improved display on their travels but were left pointless at Old Trafford as second half goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney saw the home side claim all three points.
In the games played earlier on Saturday in the Barclay's Premier league there had been no less than eight red cards issued, but there was little to raise the pulses in a first half short of drama.
The home side had the better of the few opportunities available in the opening 45, a header and a fiercly struck shot from Dimitar Berbatov were both well saved by Paul Robinson.
At the other end, Chris Samba's inviting header across the box deserved a Rovers player on the end of it, whilst John O'Shea blocked well to deny El-Hadji Diouf.
But aside from that there was little in the way of goalmouth action.
That changed ten minutes into the second half with a piece of good fortune and some skill of the highest order as United took the lead.
The Rovers defence backed off to allow Patrice Evra the opportunity to shoot, but as the Frenchman's effort curved away from goal it fell to the feet of Berbatov who turned brilliantly to lash home.
Rovers huffed and puffed but offered little up front and three minutes from time Wayne Rooney grabbed United's second, flicking home Anderson's centre.
There was still time for late drama when Nikola Kalinić had a perfectly good goal chalked off for offside after van der Sar had saved Benni McCarthy's shot.
Had that been allowed to stand it could have set up a nervy last four minutes for the Champions, but alas it wasn't the case.
Sam Allardyce was able to call upon Pascal Chimbonda,Chris Samba,David Dunn and Franco Di Santo for the trip to Old Trafford.
All four had been absent from the defeat at Stamford Bridge seven days earlier.
The home side were without defensive stalwarts Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, and the evergreen Ryan Giggs.
With heavy defeats to Arsenal and Chelsea still fresh in the memory, a more defensive-minded Rovers took on Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
And for the majority of the first half, the closing down and more rigid approach did its job.
When the United attackers did break free of their shackles, the back four of Chimbonda, Samba, Nelsen and Givet were on hand to block any danger.
Rovers' best chances in the first half came within four minutes of each other. On 18, a Paul Robinson free-kick into the United area was headed across the six yard box by Chris Samba, but there wasn't a Rovers player there to take advantage.
Moments later and clever play by Dunn saw the ball moved to El-Hadji Diouf who looked to take the ball past O'Shea but the Republic of Ireland defender recovered to block the shot.
That prompted United into action and on the half hour Paul Robinson made his first save of the game. A cross from the right by Valencia picked out Dimitar Berbatov six yard but the Bulgarian's downward header bounced up and was tipped over the bar by the Rovers goalkeeper.
Four minutes later and United's forward duo combined, Wayne Rooney threading the ball through to Berbatov but Robinson saved well diving to his left.
Sam Allardyce will have been satisfied with his side's first half display, but less so with the defending that lead to the home side taking the lead ten minutes after the restart.
Against Chelsea last time out in the league Rovers were guilty of sitting back and inviting the opposition onto them and that occured once again as Patrice Evra was allowed the space to shoot, but although his effort was wayward it was soon forgotten as Berbatov controlled the ball brilliantly to turn and lash the ball past a helpless Paul Robinson.
But it took another half hour before either goal was threatened. Substitute Gabriel Obertan missing a sitter after being set up by fellow substitute MIchael Owen when he hit the post when it seemed easier to score.
Wayne Rooney had no such worries on 87 however when from Anderson's cross from the left the England striker swept the ball home in style.
The goal seemed over for Rovers, but there was still time for another talking point involving the officials as Sam Allardyce's side were robbed of a perfectly good goal as the game entered stoppage time.
A ball into the box from El-Hadji Diouf was cleared only as far as Benni McCarthy, but whilst the South African's effort was well saved by Van der Sar, Nikola Kalinić was first to the rebound to put the ball in the net.
The linesman on the near side raised his flag, missing the fact that Evra was on the floor ahead of the Croatian.
That could have set up an exciting last four minutes, but when you are down on your luck the decisions don't go your way and United saw out the remaining moments without any further scares.
So thats the month of October out of the way, all are hoping for improved results in November.
MAN UTD: Van der Sar (c), Evra, Brown, Anderson, Berbatov (sub Owen 79 mins), Rooney, Carrick, Nani (sub Obertan 64 mins), O'Shea, Evans, Valencia.
Subs not used: Kuszczak, Scholes, Fabio, Fletcher, De Laet
ROVERS: Robinson, Chimbonda, Samba, Nelsen (c), Givet, Emerton, Andrews (sub Pedersen 58 mins), Nzonzi, Diouf, Dunn (sub McCarthy 84 mins), Di Santo (sub Kalinić 76 mins).
Subs not used: Brown (GK), Grella, Hoilett, Salgado
Booked: Emerton, Chimbonda (Rovers)