United’s misery was tempered slightly after both Chelsea and Manchester City dropped points, but it means that Arsenal could stretch their lead to seven points if they win at home to Everton on Sunday.
Chelsea slipped to third place after on-loan Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi scored a stunning last-minute winner to give Stoke City a 3-2 victory at the Britannia Stadium.
Jose Mourinho’s side were on course for a point after Andre Schurrle claimed a brace either side of goals from Peter Crouch and Stephen Ireland, only for Assaidi to cut in from the left and dispatch a glorious decisive strike at the death.
City fell one place to fourth, five points behind Arsenal, after drawing 1-1 at Southampton.
Sergio Aguero gave City a 10th-minute lead by dispatching a low cross from Aleksandar Kolarov, but Dani Osvaldo produced a stylish equaliser shortly before the interval, slipping past Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta before curling home.
Liverpool capitalised on Chelsea and City’s slip-ups to steal into second place — above Chelsea on goal difference — by winning 4-1 at home to West Ham United in a game that featured three own goals.
A Guy Demel own goal put the hosts in front in the 42nd minute and they stretched their lead early in the second half through Mamadou Sakho, before Liverpool centre-back Martin Skrtel put through his own goal.