Charlie Adam scores brace as Stoke City sink United 2-1 on a windy evening at Britannia Stadium
Stoke-On-Trent (United Kingdom): Charlie Adam scored twice to secure a 2-1 win for Stoke City and further hinder Manchester United's hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League on Saturday.
Stoke City's Charlie Adam celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Manchester United on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images
Despite United manager David Moyes starting with Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and record signing Juan Mata together for the first time, the champions suffered their eighth Premier League defeat of the season at a windswept Britannia Stadium.
Moyes could curse his luck after injuries to Jonny Evans and Phil Jones and a fortunate opener for Stoke, but another below-par display saw his side lose further ground on their top-four rivals.
Van Persie led the line with Rooney behind him, flanked either side by Mata and Ashley Young, but they saw little of the ball in the opening exchanges. Stoke started promisingly, but Peter Crouch's attempted bicycle kick failed to come off after a good cross from Jonathan Walters.
Moyes opted for Chris Smalling at right-back instead of Brazilian Rafael da Silva in a move designed to help United's defence deal with Stoke's aerial threat, but that plan was scuppered 11 minutes into the game.
Evans picked up an injury and Smalling was forced into the centre, with Rafael called on from the bench. United finally settled as Mata got his first touches and Rooney had the first real chance for the visitors when he lashed a half-volley into the ground and just wide of the post from Young's cross.
Newcastle lose 3-0
Adam Johnson continued his rich run of form as Sunderland claimed a second successive 3-0 away win over Tyne-Wear derby foes Newcastle United. Gus Poyet's side won for the sixth time in their last eight games to climb further clear of danger as they made it three consecutive league victories in this fixture for the first time since 1923.
Everton get back on track
Everton responded to their Merseyside derby drubbing at Liverpool's hands by coming from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 in the Premier League on Saturday. Everton were thrashed 4-0 by Liverpool on Tuesday, but a 74th-minute goal from substitute Steven Naismith and a fine Kevin Mirallas free-kick five minutes from time got them back to winning ways.
Other EPL results
West Ham Utd 2-0 Swansea City
Cardiff City 2-1 Norwich City
Fulham 0-3 Southampton
Hull City 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur