Bolton's brave performance at Old Trafford ultimately proved fruitless as Manchester United took all the points in a 3-0 win.
The Whites had managed to hold out until the 44th minute, with Adam Bogdan producing a superb save to deny Wayne Rooney from the penalty spot midway through the first half.
But Paul Scholes' close-range goal just before the interval helped send United on their way and break Bolton's resistance.
Danny Welbeck and Michael Carrick made the game safe for the hosts with two goals in the space of seven second-half minutes in the closing stages.
Owen Coyle made five changes to his side that lined-up against Macclesfield as the Bolton boss more or less reverted back to the team that triumphed at Everton. Gary Cahill, however, did not feature, meaning that Nigel Reo-Coker was handed the captain's armband for the first time in his Wanderers career.
As anticipated, play was bossed by Manchester United in the first half but Wanderers hung in there and defended resolutely - that was until the very last minute of the opening period when the hosts opened the scoring through Paul Scholes.
The star of the show up to that point had undoubtedly been Adam Bogdan who had performed heroics with a series of brilliant saves, the best of which was a full-stretched dive to prevent Wayne Rooney opening the scoring from the penalty spot on 21 minutes.
When Danny Welbeck got goal-side of Zat Knight, the big defender gave the winger a slight push in the back, but one which was enough to send the striker crashing to the turf. After referee Peter Walton pointed to the spot, Rooney stepped up but, for a second week in succession, his effort was blocked.
With the penalty save sending Bogdan's confidence level surging, the Hungarian continued to impress. For the second time in the game, the 22-year-old did excellently to push a Danny Welbeck effort around the post before later denying Rooney again when the England striker tried to bend an effort into the bottom corner of the goal from the edge of the area.
As the first half continued to pass by, Rooney dragged a 30-yarder wide while Scholes too was off-target with a long-range attempt.
It was looking like it was going to be half the job done from a Wanderers perspective, but just as the fourth official raised his board to display one minute of stoppage time, Scholes netted his first goal since coming out of retirement with a far post tap-in after Rooney had played the ball across Bolton's six yard box.
Bolton's pursuits in the final third during the first period had been rather limited. Mark Davies flashed an effort into the Stretford End from 18 yards out, while Eagles too sliced wide when in a promising position on the edge of the United area.
There was certainly a shift in Bolton's game-plan after half-time as the Whites pressed forward and became more of an attacking threat.
Wanderers could have found themselves back on level terms within five minutes of the restart when David Ngog was picked out by Davies six yards out. The centre midfielder had galloped down the right and unselfishly cut the ball back, but the French striker scuffed his finish over the bar.
It became end-to-end stuff as Owen Coyle's men, led excellently in midfield by Davies and Reo-Coker, had a real good go at the Champions.
Petrov had a volley blocked after Steinsson had stood a cross up to the far post, while the Icelandic full-back saw a looping header cleared off the line by his counterpart Rafael,
United, in typical fashion, were always in contention to extend the lead given their attacking prowess.
Somehow Rooney put the ball into the side-netting when it seemed easier to score following Valencia's fizzing cross through Bolton's six-yard box.
However, the Reds did double their advantage on 74 minutes when Rooney slid the ball in for his strikepartner Welbeck, who managed to guide his finish into the bottom corner despite pressure from Ricketts.
Two became three eight minutes later when Manchester United ensured the points would be theirs with a well-taken goal from Michael Carrick. The former Spurs man tucked the ball past Bogdan with a precise left-footed effort from just outside the box.
Given Wanderers' spirited performance, the scoreline slightly flattered Manchester United. The Whites could have grabbed a consolation late on when substitutes Darren Pratley and Tuncay fired wide, but it wasn't to be for Bolton in front of a sell-out 75,444 crowd at Old Trafford.
Manchester United: Lindegaard, Evra, Evans, Ferdinand, Rafael, Valencia, Scholes (Giggs67), Carrick, Nani (Park 67), Welbeck (Hernandez 78), Rooney (Suns not used: De Gea, Berbatov, Fabio, Pogba)
Bolton: Bogdan, Steinsson, Knight, Wheater, Ricketts, Eagles (Riley 67), Mark Davies, Muamba (Pratley 80), Reo-Coker, Petrov (Tuncay 84), Ngog (Subs not used: Lynch, Boyata, Kevin Davies, Klasnic)