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Monday 11 February 2013

Matchweek 26 review: Ferguson lauds 'Giggs legacy' as United race clear

Reports from the weekend's Barclays Premier League matches

  • Ryan Giggs opens the scoring for Manchester United against Everton

  • Christian Benteke's penalty sent Aston Villa towards victory over West Ham

  • Steven Davis pounces to score Southampton's second goal against Manchester City

  • Gareth McAuley heads West Brom into the lead against Liverpool

  • Chelsea's Ramires slots in the opening goal against Wigan at Stamford Bridge

  • Arsenal's Santi Cazorla scores the only goal against Sunderland

  • Angel Rangel doubled Swansea City's lead against QPR

  • Stoke's Robert Huth scores the opening goal against Reading

  • Fulham's Emmanuel Frimpong tackles Norwich's Wes Hoolahan during the 0-0 draw

  • Gareth Bale's free-kick opens the scoring against Newcastle

Sir Alex Ferguson hailed the ongoing influence of Ryan Giggs, whose goal helped Manchester United beat Everton 2-0 at Old Trafford to extend their Barclays Premier League lead over Manchester City.

"[Giggs’s] legacy lives on. He is a fantastic human being. He's up and down that pitch all day and has shown fantastic energy for the game, it is wonderful to see"
Sir Alex Ferguson

Giggs put the 19-times champion ahead in the 13th minute with a well-placed shot from inside the area to become the only player to score in all 21 seasons of the Barclays Premier League, while Robin van Persie broke clear on the stroke of half-time to round Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard and score his 19th goal in the English top-flight to secure victory.

"[Giggs’s] legacy lives on," said Ferguson. "He is a fantastic human being. He's up and down that pitch all day and has shown fantastic energy for the game, it is wonderful to see."

United's lead over City was extended to 12 points after Roberto Mancini’s side were beaten 3-1 at Southampton on Saturday evening.

The Saints, who raced into a two-goal lead with goals inside the first 22 minutes from Jason Puncheon and Steven Davis, sealed their first victory under manager Mauricio Pochettino after Gareth Barry’s 48th-minute own goal restored the hosts' two-goal cushion, which had been halved by Edin Dzeko’s strike late on in the first half.

In the other Sunday match, Aston Villa claimed a vital 2-1 home victory over West Ham United to move out of the bottom three, Christian Benteke and Charles N'Zogbia the scorers. An own goal from Ashley Westwood meant a nervous finish but Villa hung on.

In Monday evening's match, West Bromwich Albion leapfrogged Liverpool moving into eighth place with a 2-0 victory at Anfield. Gareth McAuley and Romelu Lukaku struck in the final ten minutes against the run of play and after Steven Gerrard had seen his penalty saved.

In Saturday's matches, Chelsea regained third place in the Barclays Premier League with a 4-1 victory over Wigan Athletic. Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 win over Newcastle United earlier in the day had taken them above their West London rivals, but Rafael Benitez’s side returned to third thanks to goals from Ramires, Eden Hazard, Frank Lampard and Marko Marin. Shaun Maloney had briefly given Wigan hope when he made it 2-1.

Two goals from Michu meant Swansea City handed bottom-side Queens Park Rangers their first Barclays Premier League defeat this year with a 4-1 win. The Spaniard opened the scoring after eight minutes as he followed up after QPR’s goalkeeper Julio Cesar had parried Nathan Dyer’s shot. Swansea’s second was similar, this time Angel Rangel reacting quickest after Julio Cesar had saved his initial shot. Bobby Zamora, a half-time substitute for QPR, scored within three minutes of coming on, but Pablo Hernandez restored the two-goal lead on 50 minutes and Michu got a second.

Ten-man Arsenal held on to beat Sunderland 1-0 at the Stadium of Light. The away side dominated the first half but only had Santi Cazorla’s strike to show for it. Sunderland’s hopes were raised when Carl Jenkinson was sent off for a second yellow card with 22 minutes remaining but could not get past Wojciech Szczesny in the Arsenal goal who made crucial saves.

Stoke City returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Reading, who were unable to repeat the late heroics of recent matches. After a goalless first half, Robert Huth scored the first for Stoke from a corner and Cameron Jerome doubled the lead before Adrian Mariappa gave Reading hope.

At Carrow Road Fulham and Norwich City played a goalless draw.

Earlier in the day, Spurs beat Newcastle thanks to a Gareth Bale double. His free-kick put Spurs ahead after five minutes, but Newcastle hit back through Yoan Gouffran. Bale struck the winner after a brilliant interception and run and missed two great chances to get a hat-trick.

With our Matchday Live service you have minute-by-minute updates, photostreams and match statistics from each match. Afterwards read our match reports including manager reactions. Just click on the links below.

Saturday 9 February

FT Tottenham Hotspur 2-1  Newcastle United  |  #TOTNEW  |  Matchday Live >>

FT Chelsea 4-1 Wigan Athletic  |  #CHEWIG  |  Matchday Live >>

FT Norwich City 0-0 Fulham  |  #NORFUL |  Matchday Live >>

FT Stoke City 2-1 Reading  |  #STKRDG  |  Matchday Live >>

FT Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal  |  #SUNARS  |  Matchday Live >>

FT Swansea City 4-1 Queens Park Rangers  |  #SWAQPR |  Matchday Live >>

FT  Southampton 3-1 Manchester City  |  #SOUMCI  |  Matchday Live >>

Sunday 10 February

FT Aston Villa 2-1 West Ham United  |  #AVLWHU  |  Matchday Live >>

FT Manchester United 2-0 Everton  |  #MUNEVE |  Matchday Live >>

Monday 11 February

FT Liverpool 2-0 West Bromwich Albion  |  #LIVWBA  |  Matchday Live  preview >>

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