A fantastic first-half strike from Darren Fletcher was added to by Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia in the second period as Sir Alex Ferguson's side capitalised on the Gunners' defeat earlier in the day at Sunderland to move within five points of leaders Chelsea.
Everton were lined up to defend against the champions, with former United striker Louis Saha seeing almost nothing of the ball as the hosts dictated play throughout the first period. Despite dominating possession however, United struggled to test Tim Howard until Fletcher popped up in the 35th minute to smash home a wonderful opener.
Patrice Evra's deep cross from the left was headed back by Valencia to Fletcher on the edge of the box, who did superbly to get over the bouncing ball to lash a volley from 19-yards into Howard's top corner.
David Moyes threw on Yakubu at the break in the hope of troubling the injury-hit United defence, and the Toffees did manage to find the net but Marouane Fellaini's strike was correctly ruled out after the Belgian had strayed offside.
Yakubu's first real impact came on the hour when his pass put Tim Cahill in behind Evra, but the French full-back was rescued by Edwin van der Sar, who sprang off his line to smother the danger.
Yakubu's shot on the turn that drifted narrowly wide was a sign of the Toffees' increasing confidence, but their progress was halted abruptly when Carrick grabbed United's second on 67 minutes.
Wayne Rooney's wayward shot was collected at the corner flag by Ryan Giggs, who delivered a sublime pass into Carrick's path for the midfielder to stroke home from the edge of the box.
Two quickly became three when Valencia - with the aid of a deflection - added to United's tally with 14 minutes remaining.
The winger was played into space on the right-side of the box by substitute Paul Scholes, before the Ecuadorian's drive took a nick off Leighton Baines on the way into the net.
The win takes United three points clear of Arsenal while Everton drop to 13th in the table.
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