A late header from Javier Hernández broke the resistance of Everton and sent Manchester United nine points clear at the top of the Premier League, for a few hours at least.
United were frustrated for long periods by a combination of saves from Tim Howard, and a defence ably marshalled by Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka. However, with six minutes left, Hernández, as he has done on several occasions this season, scored the winner, heading in Antonio Valencia’s deflected cross to the far post.
The result means Sir Alex Ferguson’s team need seven points from their last four games to be assured of a record 19th English top-flight title. With Blackburn and Blackpool still on the United schedule, it means they only need a point from the upcoming games against Arsenal and Chelsea.
Elsewhere, Maxi Rodríguez scored a hat-trick as Liverpool thrashed Birmingham City 5-0 at Anfield. Liverpool’s win, combined with Spurs home draw against West Brom means that Kenny Dalglish’s side is only three points behind Spurs for the a Europa League spot.
Blackpool were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle. The point moved the seasiders out of the bottom three as they leapt over Wigan, who were thrashed 4-2 at Sunderland. The win ends a dreadful run of form that Sunderland had been on, and the three points should ensure they are playing Premier League football. As for Wigan, it looks more and more likely that they will be relegated.
The other games between Aston Villa and Stoke and Wolves v Fulham ended up a 1-1 draws.