LONDON (AP) — Arsenal’s title push was slowed by a 2-2 tie at Southampton, Liverpool routed Everton and American goalkeeper Tim Howard 4-0 in the Merseyside derby and Robin van Persie scored in his return from an injury layoff for Manchester United in a 2-0 victory over last-place Cardiff in the Premier League on Tuesday night.
After falling behind on Jose Fonte’s 21st-minute goal, Arsenal went ahead on goals by Olivier Giroud in the 48th and Santi Cazorla four minutes later.
Adam Lallana retied the score two minutes after that, and the Gunners played a man short after Mathieu Flamini was ejected in the 80th for a two-footed tackle on Morgan Schneiderlin.
Arsenal (16-3-4) has a two-point lead over second-place Manchester City (16-4-2), which plays Wednesday at fifth-place Tottenham (13-5-4). Third-place Chelsea (15-3-4), one point behind City, hosts West Ham.
Liverpool (14-5-4) opened a three-point lead over Tottenham for the last Champions League berth by beating Everton as Daniel Sturridge scored twice between goals by Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez.
In his first match since injuring a thigh on Dec. 10, Van Persie scored six minutes in for seventh-place United (12-7-4), which also got a 59th-minute goal from Ashley Young. Wayne Rooney, out since New Year’s Day with a groin injury, entered in the 62nd minute and Juan Mata made his debut for the Red Devils following his weekend transfer from Chelsea.
Jonjo Shelvey and Chico Flores scored as Swansea beat Fulham 2-0 for its first win in nine league games, and Jason Puncheon eased Crystal Palace’s relegation fears by scoring in a 1-0 victory over Hull. Norwich was held to a 0-0 tie by Newcastle.
MADRID (AP) — Jese Rodriguez scored in the seventh minute, and Real Madrid won 1-0 at home over Espanyol to reach the Copa del Rey semifinals on 2-0 aggregate.
Real plays defending champion Atletico Madrid or Athletic Bilbao in the semifinals. Atletico leads 1-0 heading into Wednesday’s second leg at Bilbao.
Barcelona hosts Levante with a 4-1 lead Wednesday, and Real Sociedad takes a 3-1 lead to Racing Santander on Thursday.