The two Manchester clubs slumped to shock defeats, while Arsenal moved two points clear with a win at Swansea on Saturday, extending the unpredictable start to the English Premier League.
Five months after capturing a 20th English title, Manchester United are languishing in 12th place in the 20-team standings after losing 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion in the latest setback to hit David Moyes’ troubled first season in charge.
Amid their worst six-game start to a league season since 1989, United slipped eight points behind Arsenal after the London club beat Swansea 2-1 for an eighth straight away victory in the league.
The only solace for United on an action-packed day was neighbor Manchester City enduring similar misery by sinking 3-2 at Aston Villa.
With the Manchester giants showing fluctuating form, their rivals from London are taking full advantage. Tottenham are two points behind in second after drawing 1-1 at home to third-place Chelsea in an entertaining match that saw Fernando Torres sent off for the visitors.
“I’m concerned after today’s result, but only because we didn’t play well,” said Moyes, whose team took another blow six days after losing 4-1 to City in the derby. “But there are a lot of games to go and I’ll try to put it right.”
Even promoted teams Cardiff and Hull are above United after six games. Cardiff won their first away match of the season, 2-1 at Fulham, while Hull edged West Ham 1-0.
However, another newcomer, Crystal Palace, lost 2-0 at Southampton, who are adding to the surprise factor this season by sitting in fourth place.
Sunderland is lodged to the bottom on one point ahead of yesterday’s game against Liverpool. Unbeaten Everton host Newcastle today. Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey maintained his stunning start to the season by setting up Serge Gnabry’s opener in the 58th, then scoring himself four minutes later at Liberty Stadium. Ben Davies cut the deficit in the 81st, but Arsenal held on and is confounding expectations.
West Brom fully deserved their first win at United in 35 years, with Saido Berahino clinching victory with a 67th-minute strike from the edge of the box that finished off a flowing team move.
Wayne Rooney’s free-kick score canceled out Morgan Amalfitano’s stylish solo goal, but a United side missing several regular first-team stars with a Champions League match at Shakhtar Donetsk in mind struggled throughout. Moyes’ team have not scored from open play since the first day of the season.
City were toasting derby glory last weekend, but were brought to earth by the loss at Villa to drop to fifth.
City twice threw away the lead given by Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko before Andreas Weimann struck Villa’s winner to leave the visitors without an away win this season.
Cardiff inflicted more misery on Fulham manager Martin Jol after substitute Jordon Mutch curled home the winner in the second minute of injury time. Steven Caulker’s opener for Cardiff in the 12th had been canceled out in the 45th by substitute Bryan Ruiz.
Robbie Brady won and converted a 12th-minute penalty for Hull, while Pablo Osvaldo and Rickie Lambert — with his 200th league goal — were the scorers for Southampton.