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Academy reject Pilkington punishes Manchester United

November 17, 2012 -- Updated 2042 GMT (0442 HKT)
 Norwich midfielder Anthony Pilkington heads the winning goal past Manchester United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.
Norwich midfielder Anthony Pilkington heads the winning goal past Manchester United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester City move to top of English Premier League with 5-0 win over Aston Villa
  • Rivals Manchester United drop to second after losing 1-0 to Norwich City
  • Third-placed Chelsea suffer 2-1 defeat away to surprise team West Brom
  • Arsenal win 5-2 in London derby with Tottenham, who have a player sent off

(CNN) -- Anthony Pilkington was rejected by Manchester United as a youth player, and Alex Ferguson claims he doesn't even remember the player's time at Old Trafford.

But the 24-year-old made a point to the veteran manager on Saturday, scoring the only goal as his Norwich team knocked United off the top of the English Premier League.

Norwich's 1-0 home win left United a point behind rivals Manchester City, who earlier thrashed Aston Villa 5-0.

"We've been a bit more ruthless and we're putting our chances away; maybe we could have had another one at the end to make it a bit more comfortable," said Pilkington, whose 60th-minute header inflicted United's third league defeat in 12 matches and lifted Norwich up to 13th.

"It's a great day for Norwich and it's a massive win for us. We've been performing well over the last couple of weeks and we showed today that we could beat the team that is probably the best in the league."

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United went into the match without England striker Wayne Rooney, who was ill, and could not continue a remarkable run of come-from-behind victories.

"They deserved the win just because they worked so hard for it," Ferguson said.

"The players are used to making comebacks and we're always a threat in the last minutes of matches. We had a lot of half-chances but it just wasn't our night."

Manchester City face an early European exit if Wednesday's home clash with Real Madrid ends in anything but victory, but the EPL champions picked up a morale-boosting win as Argentine forwards Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez scored twice each against a Villa side who dropped into the relegation zone.

David Silva opened the scoring before halftime, while Tevez and Aguero both netted from the penalty spot once as City remained the only unbeaten team in the division.

"For us it is very important we start to play well and in the last two games we have scored six goals with our strikers," said manager Roberto Mancini. "I think we have been missing their goals."

Third-placed Chelsea's title hopes continued to fade with a 2-1 defeat at this season's surprise team, West Bromwich Albion.

Roberto di Matteo's side have now failed to win in four league games, and this setback came in the Italian's first return to the club that sacked him in 2009.

Chelsea's defeat at the same ground in March ended the reign of manager Andre Villas-Boas, and his assistant Di Matteo stepped up to take charge and preside over a historic first Champions League title.

The London club's chances of progressing to the last 16 of this season's European competition could hinge on getting a result from Tuesday's trip to Juventus in the penultimate match of the group stage.

West Brom moved up to fourth to continue the fine start made by new manager Steve Clarke, who spent four years at Chelsea as assistant manager to first Jose Mourinho and then Avram Grant.

Chelsea, missing injured captain John Terry, went behind to Shane Long's 10th-minute header but midfielder Eden Hazard leveled six minutes before halftime.

However, Nigeria forward Peter Odemwingie nodded the home team ahead just five minutes after the break from a cross by Ireland striker Long as West Brom held on for a sixth win from seven at the Hawthorns.

Everton dropped to fifth after a 2-1 defeat at Reading that lifted the promoted team out of the bottom three on goal difference.

Striker Adam Le Fondre scored both goals in Reading's first top-flight win since May 2008, after Everton led through Scotland forward Steven Naismith.

Everton went into the match without influential veteran Phil Neville, who has been ruled out for up to two months following knee surgery.

Arsenal closed on the top four with a dramatic 5-2 north London derby win against Tottenham, who had Emmanuel Adebayor sent off after giving the visitors the lead against his former club.

The Togo striker netted his first goal for Spurs this season from close range but then saw red after a two-footed lunge on Santi Cazorla.

Arsenal took full advantage as defender Per Mertesacker headed in, fellow German Lukas Podolski scrambled a second and France forward Olivier Giroud also scored before halftime.

Spain midfielder Cazorla made it 4-1 before Gareth Bale reduced the deficit but England international Theo Walcott boosted his hopes of a new contract as he ensured a repeat of last season's scoreline.

Spurs dropped to eighth, two points behind their rivals and one behind seventh-placed West Ham -- who host Stoke on Monday.

Swansea claimed 10th place with a 2-1 win over Newcastle, who went into the match threatening legal action against Senegal's national federation after Papiss Cisse was refused permission to play.

The striker did not travel to Niger for a midweek friendly due to a back injury, so Senegal invoked FIFA's five-day rule that stops players from missing internationals and returning immediately to play for their clubs.

"I love playing for my country and would only withdraw from a squad -- for either a friendly or competitive game -- for a genuine reason," Cisse said.

"I am fully supportive of the position my club has adopted in this matter and am sorry that the Federation seem to doubt my honesty and integrity. I will now consider if I wish to continue to captain my country."

Spanish striker Michu and Canadian Jonathan de Guzman put Swansea ahead before a late consolation from Cisse's compatriot Demba Ba -- the forward's eighth league goal this season.

Liverpool moved up to 11th with a 3-0 win over Wigan as Luis Suarez continued his goalscoring run -- and again ran into controversy.

The Uruguay striker netted a double to move to the top of the EPL charts with 10, but was accused by Wigan manager Roberto Martinez of stamping on David Jones.

"The first finish is probably the real clinical one and a sign of a top player," Martinez said.

"He was very fortunate because it was a stamp which the referee didn't see, and that wasn't the sign of a top player."

Queens Park Rangers lost 3-1 at home to second-bottom Southampton, leaving Mark Hughes' team four points adrift at the foot of the table as the Welshman battles to save his job.

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