Manchester United look good to win League as City slip
Giggs and Van Persie give United victory over Everton, extending unbeaten record to 14 games
Manchester United 2 Everton 0. Barring a mishap of major proportions, Manchester United will be crowned Premier League champions in May. The victory over Everton on Sunday took Alex Ferguson’s side 12 points clear of second-placed Manchester City, with Chelsea a further four points behind in third.
The only way City – who crashed to a 3-1 defeat to Southampton on Saturday - can hang on to their title is if United suffer a spring slump and City suddenly find - in their words of their manager - some "balls".
That’s about as likely as Robin van Persie missing a sitter, as City boss Robert Mancini admitted after watching his side’s sorry display against the Saints. "Maybe 12 points is too much at this moment," he said.
Mancini then made it clear whom he blamed for City’s spineless defeat to Southampton, saying: "The players should take responsibility - if they have big balls. If not, they can’t play in a top team."
United last lost a league game to Norwich on 17 November, and while they suffered a stutter in form towards the end of last season, this time around they have Van Persie on whom to rely. The Dutch striker scored his 23rd of the season on the stroke of half-time to give his side a 2-0 lead, an advantage that Everton never looked like overhauling in a disappointing second-half.
Earlier Ryan Giggs had opened United’s account when he latched on to Van Persie's pass to score with a shot that went in off the post. It was the Welshman’s first league goal of the season and means he has now scored in all 21 seasons of the Premier League.
Asked about the chances of United going on to win their 20th league title, Giggs said: "We just have to continue our good form. If we get the results, we'll be okay… we've got enough experience in there but you never take anything for granted."
United are now unbeaten in their last 14 games and Ferguson believes it’s their form they must worry about and not their rivals over the next couple of months. "We've got to win our games regardless of what happens with City and if we concentrate on our own games we'll be okay," explained the United manager. Nonetheless he admitted it had been a "good weekend for us [and] the result from Southampton gave us a bit of a lift."
The result was a blow to Everton in their bid to finish fourth and qualify for next season’s Champions League. With Chelsea’s victory over Wigan and wins too for Arsenal (1-0 at Sunderland) and Spurs (2-1 against Newcastle), the failure of the Toffees to take a result from Old Trafford leaves them in sixth spot, two points behind Arsenal (fifth) and six behind Tottenham (fourth).
"We gave Manchester United an early start but I thought they were great," conceded Everton manager Moyes. "We didn't come out of the blocks as fast as we would have liked to have done."