Manchester - Manchester United's dismal season lurched into crisis on Saturday
after a 1-0 loss at home to Newcastle United condemned the champions to
their fifth defeat of the season.
Yohan Cabaye's goal just after
the hour gave Newcastle their first victory at Old Trafford since 1972
and consigned United to back-to-back home defeats in the league for the
first time since May 2002.
Having lost 1-0 to Everton on
Wednesday, United have now lost as many games as they did in the whole
of last season's title-winning campaign and David Moyes's side could
fall 15 points behind leaders Arsenal before the weekend is out.
were without Wayne Rooney through suspension, but they restored Robin
van Persie to their starting XI following a four-game absence with a
groin strain and saw Phil Jones test visiting goalkeeper Tim Krul with
an early shot.
Newcastle's five-man midfield frustrated United
though, and it was the visitors who came closest to breaking the
deadlock before half-time, with David de Gea thwarting Mathieu Debuchy
twice in first-half stoppage time.
United attacked the game with
renewed vigour in the second period, but they saw Krul save from Javier
Hernandez and Adnan Januzaj before a header from Patrice Evra hit the
Newcastle hit the champions with a sucker-punch in the 61st
minute, with Moussa Sissoko galloping down the right flank after winning
a duel with Evra before cutting the ball back for Cabaye to sweep home.
responded by introducing Anderson and Antonio Valencia and handing
Wilfried Zaha a league debut from the bench, but despite sporadic late
pressure, an equaliser would not come.
Van Persie had a
close-range header ruled out for offside and Zaha curled narrowly wide,
leaving Newcastle's jubilant fans to taunt Moyes with crowing chants of
'You're getting sacked in the morning!'
The dominant team of the
Premier League era, United remain in ninth place in the table, 12 points
below Arsenal, while Newcastle climb to sixth.
With Arsenal not
in action until Sunday, when they host Everton, second-place Chelsea can
close to within a point of top spot if they win at Stoke City later on
Third-place Manchester City and Liverpool, who begin the
weekend in fourth position, will also be looking to make up ground on
Arsene Wenger's side. City visit Southampton, while Liverpool are at
home to West Ham United.
Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur will hope to build on their mid-week victory at Fulham when they visit Sunderland in the late game.