Manchester United immediately put some pressure on the Swansea goal as they looked to get the party started. Javier Hernandez went close in the opening minutes after Robin van Persie found him down the left channel, and he struck the underside of the bar from a tight angle. United put together one other decent move through Phil Jones, Robin Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa, but could not find a way past Ashley Williams in the Swansea defence.
As the game developed into a rather dull one, the atmosphere wasn't dampened on the occasion, and as the first half began to draw to a close, United got the goal they were looking for. Hernandez was well-placed to take advantage of a mistake from Williams, who diverted a free-kick into the Mexican's path for him to execute a low finish to put the hosts in the lead. United continued to look for goals, and Robin van Persie let fly with a fierce effort from outside the area shortly afterwards, but Gerhard Tremmel managed to keep it out at his near post.
Yet after the second half began, Michu threatened to spoil the party atmosphere. Nathan Dyer pursued a loose ball which he cut into the area for the onrushing Spaniard to fire into the roof of the net. It almost got better for the Swans later when Michu turned provider to play in Wayne Routledge, but the winger saw his shot fly wide.
Swansea continued to have the upper hand, and Pablo Hernandez was denied shortly afterwards by a great save from David de Gea, before the visitors demanded a penalty for a perceived hand-ball by Phil Jones from a Chico shot, although replays showed that it only struck him in the chest.
The retiring Paul Scholes then left the Old Trafford pitch for the final time to rapturous applause, along with Danny Welbeck, and the substitute Anderson almost made an instant impact, getting on the end of a half-cleared cross outside the Swansea area to send in a left-footed half-volley which was just wide of the post.
Yet with time running out, it was fitting and predictable that United scored a late winner. The goalscorer, however, was a lot less obvious. A United corner somehow evaded everyone in the box and found Rio Ferdinand, who had not scored for 5 years, at the back post, who had enough time to crash in an effort into the back of the net and give Ferguson a decent send-off.