Match ends, Manchester United 0, West Bromwich Albion 1.
- West Brom reach 40-point mark
- Man Utd four points above fifth-placed Liverpool
- Returning Van Persie has penalty saved
Manchester United suffered a third consecutive defeat as West Brom moved a step closer to Premier League safety.
United dominated possession, but went behind midway through the second half when Chris Brunt's free-kick deflected in off team-mate Jonas Olsson.
West Brom's Boaz Myhill saved Robin van Persie's penalty after Saido Berahino's handball in the area.
Van Persie came close late on, but Louis van Gaal's side are now just four points above fifth-placed Liverpool.
The Baggies have now reached 40 points, the mark considered to be enough to survive in the top flight, and they did it with a resolute performance that secured a second successive win at Old Trafford.
For United boss Van Gaal, who had questioned his side's commitment in last week's 3-0 loss by Everton, this was a third straight game without a goal, and it may allow Liverpool to believe they can chase down their rivals and steal the fourth Champions League qualifying spot.
United controlled the ball all game and Van Persie, returning to the starting line-up for the first time since injuring his ankle in February, had looked the home side's most likely source of a goal, hitting wide from the edge of the area and flicking an Ashley Young cross off target in the first half.
But though United boasted 80% possession, they lacked the guile and creativity to break down Tony Pulis's organised outfit.
And Van Gaal's men were stunned in the 63rd minute when Brunt's 25-yard free-kick, which was heading towards the bottom-left corner, flew into the wall, off Olsson's leg and into the opposite side of the goal.
|United's three-game slump|
|Manchester United have lost three Premier League games in a row for the first time since December 2001.|
|The last time Manchester United failed to score in three successive games was between May and August 2007.|
United, who wanted an earlier penalty after Marouane Fellaini was brought down by Craig Gardner, finally had a spot-kick when Berahino handled Antonio Valencia's cross on the edge of the box.
Referee Anthony Taylor only decided the contact was in the area after a conversation with his linesman, but it proved to be irrelevant as Myhill superbly dived down to his left to deny Van Persie.
The Netherlands striker drew one more fine save from the Albion keeper in stoppage time, and the visitors showed the resolve they had displayed all game to cling on at the end.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said: "We knew in advance that they'd park the bus, we have to deal with that.
"In the second half we had enough chances - you have to finish. It's now the third match we have lost in a row. We have to take care of that. It's very difficult."
West Brom manager Tony Pulis: "You need to be organised, resilient and have a bit of luck. We had that in abundance.
"It takes a lot of work and commitment from the players - 90 per cent of it is dealing with people off the ball.
"I don't think it was a penalty. The referee was 60 yards away the linesman was 10 yards away and gives a corner, so I don't know how that happens."
- Reaction to the game, as well as updates from Saturday's action
- Read minute-by-minute updates as the match happened
- 1de Gea
- 25A Valencia
- 33McNairBooked at 62minsSubstituted forFalcaoat 84'minutes
- 17BlindSubstituted forDi Maríaat 63'minutes
- 20van Persie
- 7Di María
- 8GardnerSubstituted forWisdomat 89'minutes
- 21MulumbuSubstituted forBairdat 76'minutes
- 18BerahinoSubstituted forIdeyeat 80'minutes
- Anthony Taylor
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Manchester United 0, West Bromwich Albion 1.
Attempt blocked. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Ander Herrera (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Antonio Valencia.
Attempt blocked. Falcao (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Antonio Valencia.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Boaz Myhill.
Attempt saved. Ángel Di María (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Juan Mata.
Foul by Juan Mata (Manchester United).
Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Falcao.
Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Andre Wisdom replaces Craig Gardner.
Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Craig Dawson.
Foul by Ander Herrera (Manchester United).
Brown Ideye (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Manchester United. Falcao replaces Patrick McNair.
Attempt blocked. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marouane Fellaini with a headed pass.
Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Brown Ideye replaces Saido Berahino.
Offside, Manchester United. Robin van Persie tries a through ball, but Marouane Fellaini is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Juan Mata.
Robin van Persie (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.