Both sides featured a host of debutants, with David Moyes and Owen Coyle taking to the dugout for the first time as Red Devils and Latics managers while Wilfried Zaha, James McClean, Grant Holt, Stephen Crainey, Leon Barnett and James Perch all took to the pitch in new colours.
United settled extremely early, fizzing the ball around with ease and stirring up a lot of tension and nerves in their Championship opponents.
A goal came as early as the sixth minute, as Robin van Persie rose unchallenged to head home and lift the pressure off Moyes.
Ryan Giggs' superb use of space allowed United to stream forward and RvP's ball out wide to Patrice Evra was returned in the form of an inch-perfect cross. Van Persie, fully 16 yards out, powered a header into the far corner past a helpless Scott Carson.
The strike set the tone, and the Red Devils dominated the opening 25 minutes with ease.
Zaha got several early touches and showed immense promise, while Danny Welbeck dropped in and out of his left-sided role at will to contribute to the buildup play.
Coyle's side were all at sea, but United were unable to add to their tally, which allowed their Lancashire counterparts back into the game.
The final 15 minutes of the first half saw some superb aerial tussles between Grant Holt and Nemanja Vidic. McClean should have produced an easy tap-in for Holt just before halftime, instead slamming it well wide from the acutest of angles.
The second half started in a pedestrian manner, with the opening 15 minutes dragging by.
The crowd began urging United on, willing them to put their foot back on the gas, and Van Persie duly delivered once again.
Neat buildup play outside the Wigan box saw the ball moved from left to right in seconds and the Dutchman latched on to it on the right-hand side, cut in and fired a deflected effort past Carson.
Two goals to the good and United were cruising. What followed was a flurry of substitutions from game sides to ruin any flow the match was about to develop.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between from the 60th minute on, with Evra's late weaving run and Tom Cleverley's scuffed effort on goal as the highlights.
Moyes has a trophy under his belt and boasts a 100 percent win rate in competitive games. After a torrid preseason campaign, this victory was direly needed.
Key Player Grades
Robin van Persie: B+
Despite going missing for long periods in a very preseason-esque run out by United, Van Persie takes our top honours thanks to a two-goal performance.
His header to open proceedings was stunning, and while his second was a little lucky, he did fantastically to engineer half a yard of space to shoot.
Nemanja Vidic: B
For stretches, the United defence were spectators, but Vidic was watertight on defence when called upon.
He got the better of man-mountain Holt on a number of occasions while keeping his tentative goalkeeper, David de Gea, safe from a bombardment of crosses into the box.
James McClean: B-
It took him a while to get settled, but Wigan new boy McClean put in an excellent showing on the left wing.
He's the perfect complement to target man Holt and a clear change in style is in the offing. With a bit of added composure, he can be a creative force in the Championship this season.
Complete Player Grades
|Manchester United Player Grades|
|David de Gea||C+|
|Robin van Persie||B+|
|Chris Smalling (on 16')||C+|
|Antonio Valencia (on 61')||C|
|Anderson (on 67')||C|
|Shinji Kagawa (on 83')||N/A|
|Adnan Januzaj (on 84')||N/A|
|Wigan Athletic Player Grades|
|Marc Antoine Fortune (on 60')||C|
|Callum McManaman (on 60')||C|
|Chris McCann (60')||C|
|Jordi Gomez (on 83')||C-|
|Roger Espinoza (on 84')||C+|
|Nouha Dicko (on 86')||N/A|