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Premier League: Man U beats Everton

 
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MANCHESTER, England (AP)

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Manchester United opened a season-high, 12-point lead in the English Premier League, defeating Everton 2-0 Sunday on goals by Ryan Giggs and Robin van Persie.

The 40-year-old Giggs beat American goalkeeper Tim Howard in the 13th minute at Old Trafford to become the only person to score in every season of the Premier League, which began in 1992-93. Van Persie scored in first-half stoppage time, his league-high 19th goal this season.

Seeking to extend its record for league titles to 20, Manchester United (21-3-2) has 65 points, while defending champion Manchester City (15-3-8) has 53 following Saturday's 3-1 loss at Southampton.

''We've got to win our games regardless of what happens with City and if we concentrate on our own games, we'll be OK,'' United manager Alex Ferguson said.

United plays at Real Madrid on Wednesday in the first leg of the second round of the Champions League.

''I was going to make about seven changes to the game but when I saw yesterday's result, I changed that because we knew if we got a result it would put us in a fantastic position,'' Ferguson said.

Everton (10-4-12) is sixth with 42 points, six behind fourth-place Tottenham for the final Champions League berth.

Also Sunday, Aston Villa climbed out of the relegation zone by beating West Ham 2-1 and Christian Benteke's penalty kick in the 74th minute and Charles N'Zogbia's goal on a free kick in the 78th. Ashley Westwood had an own goal past American goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 87th for Aston Villa (5-12-9), which ended an eight-match winless streak and climbed out of the relegation zone.

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