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Norwich humble Man United

London, Nov 18, 2012,Reuters 22:16 IST

Pilkington strike pegs back former champions; City blank Aston Villa

on the ball Manchester United's Rafael Da Silva (left) and Norwich City's Anthony 	Pilkington vie for possession during their match at Carrow Road on Saturday. AP
Manchester United were humbled 1-0 by Norwich City on Saturday as champions Manchester City took advantage of their rivals' mistakes to go top of the Premier League standings.

United, who suffered their third Premier League defeat of the season in the late kickoff at Carrow Road, succumbed to a 60th-minute header from their former youth team player Anthony Pilkington.

Chelsea lost 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion, sending the home side into fourth place and ruining the return of former Baggies manager Roberto Di Matteo.

City's 5-0 demolition of Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium took them top of the league for the first time this season. Roberto Mancini's side have 28 points from 12 matches, with United second on 27 points. Chelsea have 24 points from 12 games with Albion a point further back.

United missed Wayne Rooney, who was sidelined with tonsillitis, though Alex Ferguson was still able to pair Robin van Persie with Javier Hernandez, who had claimed a hat-trick seven days ago as United came back from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2.

Ferguson's men were suddenly facing another deficit when Pilkington got in front of defender Chris Smalling to glance a deft header from Javier Garrido's cross past keeper Anders Lindegaard.

Ferguson had said this week he could not remember Pilkington from his time at Old Trafford, though the midfielder joked after the game: "I was only about five, so that's probably why."

United were so poor they only put John Ruddy under serious pressure in the dying moments, the Norwich goalkeeper doing well to turn away a misplaced header from defender Sebastien Bassong and then saving bravely at the feet of Paul Scholes after he had blocked Anderson's 20-metre drive.

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