LONDON — Defending champion Chelsea and absent manager Jose Mourinho returned to unwanted crisis after the troubled giants lost 1-0 at Stoke in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Chelsea’s third straight league defeat — its seventh in 12 matches — placed the preseason favourite 16th in the standings, just three points above the previously unthinkable relegation zone.
WATCH MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: Bournemouth 1, Newcastle United 0 || Leicester City 2, Watford 1 || Manchester United 2, West Bromwich Albion 0 || Norwich City 1, Swansea City 0 || Sunderland 0, Southampton 1 || West Ham United 1, Everton 1 || Stoke City 1, Chelsea 0
Mourinho missed the away game after receiving a stadium ban for his behaviour toward match officials in a 2-1 defeat at West Ham in October.
Also, Manchester United ended its Premier League scoring drought with a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion, while Leicester striker Jamie Vardy scored for the ninth straight league match in a 2-1 victory against Watford. Newcastle, meanwhile, moved out of the relegation zone following a 1-0 away win against Bournemouth.
After a fiercely fought first half, Mark Hughes’ Stoke broke the deadlock when Marko Arnautovic scored with an acrobatic effort in the 53rd minute.
Chelsea poured forward in search of an equalizer, and Pedro was denied when his left-footed shot cannoned back off the post with goalkeeper Jack Butland beaten.
Ultimately, Chelsea failed to build on renewed optimism following the Champions League 2-1 win against Dynamo Kyiv midweek, despite Mourinho’s name being frequently chanted by loyal Blues fans at Britannia Stadium.
At Old Trafford, Jesse Lingard broke the deadlock with his first goal in United colours, curling an effort beyond West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill within minutes of the restart.
"I give every player a chance – always. When you are in my squad I will give you a chance. He grabbed it with both hands," manager Louis van Gaal said of his scorer.
United doubled its lead in second-half stoppage time from the penalty spot after Anthony Martial was felled by Gareth McAuley. The West Brom defender was shown a straight red card and Juan Mata converted the resulting spot kick.
The win ended a run of goalless draws for United after failing to score against Crystal Palace and city rivals Man City in its last two domestic outings.
Foxes forward Vardy showed his predatory instincts after netting his 12th goal of the campaign from the spot to double his side’s lead, after Ngolo Kante gave Leicester the early advantage. Troy Deeney’s penalty reduced the deficit but the home side held on to move up to third in the table.
Vardy needs to score in one more game to equal Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s 12-year record. The former Manchester United striker set the Premier League record in 2003, with 10 goals in as many games.
Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot proved to be Bournemouth’s nemesis with saves throughout. Forward Ayoze Perez gave Newcastle the lead against the run of play with the half-hour mark fast approaching. He collected Georginio Wiljnaldum’s pass before a strike that bobbled under Adam Federici.
West Ham was punished by a familiar face, as Everton striker Romelu Lukaku scored the leveler for the Toffees to cancel out Manuel Lanzini’s fine opener.
Lukaku’s goal was his seventh in his last seven appearances against the Hammers.
Elsewhere, there were narrow 1-0 victories for Norwich and Southampton.
Midfielder Jonny Howson scored his first goal of the season as the Canaries beat Swansea to end a miserable run at home that had seen it win just once and lose six of its last eight home games.
Meanwhile, Dusan Tadic’s second-half penalty lifted Southampton into seventh while keeping Sunderland in the bottom three.