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United maintain lead with Liverpool win

Sunday 13 January 2013 20.16 CET
Robin van Persie receives the adulation of the crowd

Manchester United FC maintained their seven point lead at the top of the Premier League by overcoming Liverpool FC 2-1 at Old Trafford, before Manchester City FC claimed a 2-0 win at Arsenal FC. 

Having failed to score in just one of his last eight Premier League outings, it came as no surprise when Robin van Persie turned in Patrice Evra's pinpoint cross after 19 minutes. The visitors rarely threatened and almost fell further behind when Van Persie's nonchalant flick was cleared by Martin Škrtel.

The Slovakia defender could do nothing to prevent United doubling their lead ten minutes after the break, however, as Evra's header deflected in off Nemanja Vidić. Liverpool's response was swift with half-time substitute Daniel Sturridge making no mistake from close range after Steven Gerrard's venomous shot proved too hot to handle.

The onus was then on City, whose task at Arsenal became easier when Laurent Koscielny was sent off for hauling down Edin Džeko in the penalty area after nine minutes. The industrious forward struck a post from the spot, but James Milner soon made amends, latching on to Carlos Tévez's probing pass and powering in. Džeko's atonement was complete when he followed up Tévez's parried shot. 

The visitors used their numerical advantage intelligently after the break, while their resolve came under strain 15 minutes from time when captain Vincent Kompany became the second player to be shown a red card. With that, Arsenal rallied and came closest to scoring when Theo Walcott's firm finish was cleared off the line by substitute Joleon Lescott.

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