(CNN) -- Manchester United's defense of the English Premier League title was dealt another hammer blow Saturday as David Moyes' slumping side were beaten 1-0 by Newcastle United at Old Trafford.
It was the second home defeat for United in three days and their fifth of a sorry campaign, as many as they suffered all last season in winning their record 20th English championship.
Trailing leaders Arsenal by 12 points before the lunchtime kick off, United remained in ninth place while Newcastle, winning at Old Trafford for the first time in 41 years, moved up to sixth place ahead of the afternoon program.
Yohan Cabaye's goal just after the hour mark sealed three points for the visitors, the highly-rated Frenchman scoring after a cut back from Moussa Sissoko.
Missing the suspended Wayne Rooney, the home side created few opportunities although Patrice Evra hit the post with a header before the Newcastle breakthrough.
Dutch striker Robin van Persie, back after injury, had a late effort ruled out for offside and substitute Wilfried Zaha shot narrowly wide, but Alan Pardew's battlers held out comfortably enough.
Moyes, who took over from Alex Ferguson in the summer, refused to accept that their title challenge was over at this stage of the season, but admitted his team were in a "transitional period."
"I stand firm that we'll be very close to it and I hope we're in and around it when it comes to the end of the season," he told BT Sport.
He also asked for patience from the United fans, so used to continuous success under the legendary Ferguson.
"I think they understand it's the same players which were here last year as well. Obviously the manager's changed, so we'll work, we'll try and improve and try and get better."
United did look to be turning the corner with a 12-match unbeaten run ahead of Wednesday's 1-0 defeat to Moyes' former club Everton.
Rooney, so missed Saturday, starred in a 5-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen which took them into the last 16 of the Champions League, but their EPL form has been inconsistent.
Arsenal can open a 15-point gap over United if they beat Everton Sunday and could take heart from the results of their nearest challengers later Saturday.
Chelsea slipped to a shock 3-2 defeat at struggling Stoke City with on-loan Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi grabbing the odd goal in five winner in the final minute.
Jose Mourinho's side looked set for a point after Andre Schurrle completed a double either side of goals from Peter Crouch and Stephen Ireland, but Assaidi hit the winner with a sublime strike at the death.
Manchester City also missed the chance to close up, held 1-1 at Southampton after taking a 10th-minute lead through Sergio Aguero.
But Dani Osvaldo grabbed the equalizer for the Saints before halftime.
Liverpool took advantage of the slip ups to go above Chelsea into second place on goal difference with a 4-1 home win over West Ham.
The struggling Hammers did not help their cause by scoring two own goals and having captain Kevin Nolan sent off in the second half.
The outstanding Luis Suarez scored his 14th goal of the season in the impressive win.
Tottenham Hotspur secured their second away win in a week in the late game at Sunderland, emerging 2-1 winners to take close order in sixth.