By Lee Savery
Manchester United went 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League thanks to first half goals from Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie.
The Welsh wizard found the net on 13 minutes after van Persie showed great strength to shrug off Johnny Heitinga before squaring it to Giggs whose right-footed effort went in off the post. This goal continued his tradition of being the only player to have scored in every Premier League season, so far.
The second came right on half time. Rafael’s adventurous run from right-back got him into position to play a through ball to van Persie who rounded, former United keeper, Tim Howard and found the net despite Heitinga’s best efforts. This was the Dutchman’s 19th league goal of the season and his 23rd in all competitions.
The game was a stark contrast from last season’s meeting with United superb defensively, marshalling the likes of Marouane Fellaini out of the game. Phil Jones was given that job, for the majority of the game, and did it very well.
Aside from the two first half goals, both teams created a number of chances. Van Persie had rounded Howard early on in the first half but on this occasion, he hit the post. Everton’s best chance of the entire match fell to Leon Osman whose long range effort was palmed away by David de Gea.
The second half was a quiet affair. Jonny Evans was denied, from a corner, as his header was saved by Howard. Evans then nudged the ball back toward Howard who saved again before Nikica Jelavic denied Evans on the line. From the resulting corner, Tom Cleverley’s effort from just outside the box was tipped over superbly by Howard.
Everton struggled to break down a sturdy United defence, led by a towering Nemanja Vidic performance. They mustered one effort at goal from Jelavic. This was saved by de Gea.
No repeat of another Everton comeback came and a second clean sheet in succession was secure as well as the important 12 point lead, the biggest lead United have had since May 2001. A routine win for the Red Devils and a big lead with 12 games remaining.
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