Manchester United have taken a massive step in regaining the Premier League crown after beating Everton comfortably 2-0 at Old Trafford. Goals from Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie secured a 12 point lead in the title race with 12 games left to play.
United entered their game with Everton knowing that Manchester City slipped up yet again to Southampton, losing 3-1 on Saturday, and also knowing that a win would move them into a seemingly unreachable position in the table. Any nerves that United may have been feeling were dashed early when the Red Devils began the game by attacking from the start. It may have put Everton on the back foot early and Everton could never truly find their way into the game.
Van Persie had an early chance when the Dutch striker calmly took the ball around a defender and then around goalkeeper Tim Howard only to smash the post with his shot which went out for a goal kick. The move however, signaled the intentions that United were going to settle for nothing less than a comprehensive win over the team that probably ended their title run last season at Old Trafford. United had to wait only 13 minutes to finally break the deadlock and van Persie's terrific movement in the box paid off when he laid the ball off to Giggs who slotted the ball passed Howard. The ball hit the post but, fortunately for United, then trickled over the line and into the side netting. The goal marked Giggs' first goal of the Premier League season and he remains the only player to have scored in every Premier League season. 1-0 up and United began to take their foot slightly off of the pedal and Everton began to enjoy more possession. United's defense held strong and denied Everton at every turn. Just before halftime, United added their second after van Persie collected a perfect through ball by Rafael and went around Howard. The Dutchman then shot at a difficult angle and sent the ball as well as John Heitinga into the back of the net. It was the perfect time to add a second goal just before halftime and the Red Devils took a well deserved lead into the break with them.
United continued their effective play both going forward and at the back. Nemanja Vidic put in another commanding performance controlling the defense and not letting Everton even have a sniff at goal. Indeed, David de Gea barley had a save to make all game due to the reliable display of his defense. After the first initial 10 minutes or so of the second half, United began to enter cruise control and it was clear that Everton would have no chance to emulate their dramatic overturning of a two goal deficit the season before when they grabbed a 4-4 draw. Everton danger man Marouane Fellaini never was able to find his feet in the game as Phil Jones and then later Michael Carrick nullified his threat very effectively.
United ended the match as comfortable 2-0 winners and, in front of Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, extended their lead at the top of the table to 12 points. United will now face Mourinho's Real team and the Portuguese manager will have had to be convinced that his side will face no easy task when trying to knock United out of the competition on Wednesday.
Man of the Match: Nemanja Vidic. The Serbian defender put in another fantastic display at the back reclaiming his fear-inspiring reputation for attackers throughout Europe. Vidic stopped all of Everton's attacks never allowing them to even get close to de Gea's goal. Expect Vidic to play a vital role in the matches against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Manchester United: David de Gea; Rafael, Patrice Evra, Jonny Evans (Chris Smalling),Nemanja Vidic; Tom Cleverley, Phil Jones (Michael Carrick), Antonio Valencia, Ryan Giggs; Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie
Everton: Tim Howard; Leighton Baines, John Heitinga, Phil Jagielka, Phil Neville; Darron Gibson, Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar, Kevin Mirallas (Steven Naismith); Victor Anichebe (Nikica Jelavic), Marouane Fellaini
Manchester United Next Match: Real Madrid (Champions League) Wednesday February 13
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