LONDON: Ryan Giggs marked his 999th appearance in senior competitive football – 931 for Manchester United, 64 for Wales, four for Great Britain – by scoring the Premier leaders’ second goal in their 2-0 win away to struggling Queens Park Rangers.
United took an ‘interim’ 15-point lead over Manchester City who play Chelsea tomorrow/Sunday.
Brazilian full-back Rafael put United ahead with a powerful drive on 23 minutes after Julio Cesar had saved from Robin Van Persie. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson described the goal as “a certainty for goal of the month.”
United hit one setback when top scorer Van Persie had to go off with a hip injury after stumbling into a dip off the pitch but Giggs made sure of victory 10 minutes from time. He also hit the bar soon after.
Santi Cazorla spared Arsenal further frustration after two defeats in the past week by scoring an 85th-minute winner to secure a 2-1 home victory over struggling Aston Villa and ease some of the pressure on manager Arsene Wenger.
Cazorla’s opening goal in the sixth minute had been cancelled out in the 68th minute as Villa broke from deep and Andreas Weimann fired a shot through Wojciech Szczesny’s grasp from 25 yards.
Wigan moved out of the bottom three and leapfrogged Reading with a 3-0 win over the 10-man Royals in their relegation duel at the Madejski Stadium.
Roberto Martinez’s men were second best early on but came to life in the last minute of the first half as Arouna Kone struck twice. Maynor Figueroa grabbed the third early in the second period before the hosts had Pavel Pogrebnyak sent off for a foul on Figueroa.
Romelu Lukaku struck both goals as West Bromwich beat Sunderland 2-1 at The Hawthorns. Moments after having a goal disallowed, the Belgian struck from the spot in the 35th minute after Craig Gardner was penalised for handling a cross from Liam Ridgewell.
Lukaku’s second came in freak circumstances after he broke into the box and Simon Mignolet’s attempted clearance cannoned off him into the net.
Stephane Sessegnon pulled one back 11 minutes from time and James McClean went close to grabbing a last-gasp equaliser but the Baggies held on.
Norwich staged a late fightback to beat Everton 2-1 with goals from Kai Kamara and Grant Holt in the final six minutes at Carrow Road. Earlier Leon Osman had headed Everton ahead six minutes before half-time from a Leighton Baines cross.
Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov volleyed the only goal as Fulham beat Stoke 1-0 in first-half injury time at Craven Cottage. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer denied Stoke a point when he saved a second-half penalty from Jonathan Walters.
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