Manchester - Manchester United's stuttering English Premiership title defence has suffered a
massive blow after a shock 1-0 defeat at home to Everton on Wednesday
left them 12 points behind leaders Arsenal.
their four-point lead by beating Hull City and United's cause was not
helped by further victories for title rivals Chelsea, Manchester City,
Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, for whom Luis Suarez scored four goals
in a 5-1 thrashing of Norwich City.
Costa Rican left-back Bryan
Oviedo scored the only goal of the game at a shellshocked Old Trafford
in the 86th minute, to deal United manager David Moyes a bitter defeat
in his first encounter with his former club.
disappointment was compounded by the knowledge that they had spurned
several chances to take the lead, with Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck
hitting the woodwork and Ryan Giggs glancing a header narrowly wide.
would not settle for a point, however, and after Kevin Mirallas had
struck the post, Oviedo slammed home a low cross from Romelu Lukaku to
condemn United to their fourth defeat of the campaign.
Arsenal remain the front-runners after a straightforward 2-0 win over Hull at the Emirates Stadium.
striker Nicklas Bendtner was handed his first Arsenal start since March
2011 and he made an immediate impact by opening the scoring in the
second minute with a header from a Carl Jenkinson cross.
Ozil claimed the second goal early in the second half, ghosting onto
Aaron Ramsey's neat pass and beating goalkeeper Allan McGregor at his
Chelsea remain Arsenal's nearest challengers, but they
had to come from behind to beat bottom club Sunderland 4-3 in a
thrilling encounter at the Stadium of Light.
Jozy Altidore gave
the home side a 14th-minute lead, only for goals from Frank Lampard and
Eden Hazard to put Chelsea in front at half-time.
profited from some slack defending to draw Sunderland level early in the
second period, but Hazard quickly restored the visitors' lead after a
slick one-two with Lampard.
The game's final stages belonged to
Sunderland full-back Phil Bardsley, who scored an own goal in the 84th
minute before quickly atoning by scoring at the other end two minutes
City are two points behind Chelsea after winning 3-2 at
West Bromwich Albion in a game delayed by 15 minutes due to traffic
Manuel Pellegrini's side -- for whom captain Vincent
Kompany made his first start since October 5 -- went 3-0 up through
Sergio Aguero and a Yaya Toure brace.
An own goal from City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon and a late Victor Anichebe effort gave West Brom hope, but City held on.
stand-out performance of the evening came at Anfield, where Suarez
claimed his third hat-trick against Norwich in a magnificent individual
He lobbed John Ruddy from 35 yards in the 15th
minute, tapped home his second from a corner and then completed his
hat-trick 10 minutes before half-time with a crisp 18-yard half-volley.
fourth goal, an inch-perfect 25-yard free-kick, took his tally of
league goals to 13, and he even had time to set up a late goal for
Raheem Sterling after Bradley Johnson had replied for Norwich.
The result left Liverpool in fourth place, a point shy of City and above Everton on goal difference.
are three points back in sixth place, having spoilt Rene Meulensteen's
first game as Fulham manager by coming from behind to win 2-1 at Craven
Ashkan Dejagah put the hosts head in the 57th minute, but
Vlad Chiriches and Lewis Holtby scored in the last 17 minutes to ease
the pressure on Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas.
United's four-game winning run came to an abrupt halt in a 3-0 defeat at
Swansea City, while Aston Villa overcame stubborn resistance to win 3-2
at Southampton. The game between Stoke City and Cardiff City finished