There was also a bilious atmosphere at Old Trafford, where Norwich won 2-1 to condemn United to a third straight defeat in all competitions and send them out of the top four. United's next home fixture is against Chelsea on 28 December.
Louis van Gaal is the standalone favourite to be next Premier League manager to go.
A world away from the managerial intrigue, Claudio Ranieri, the former Chelsea manager, saw hisLeicester City side win 3-2 at Everton to guarantee that they will top the table on Christmas Day. Hiddink, 69, has returned to Chelsea in the hope of pulling off a salvage job similar to the one he masterminded in 2009, when he led the club to FA Cup glory after being parachuted in by owner Roman Abramovich.
Chelsea made a storming start, Ivanovic heading in Willian's corner in the fifth minute and Pedroslamming home eight minutes later. Oscar added a third early in the second half with a penalty, before Fabio Borini replied from close range for the visitors. Victory left Chelsea in 15th place, four points clear of the relegation zone.
United are now nine points adrift of Leicester in fifth place after Cameron Jerome and Alexander Tettey scored either side of half-time to give Norwich a first win at Old Trafford since August 1989. Wayne Rooney, back after three games out with an ankle injury, made his 500th United appearance, but having lost the ball in the build-up to the 55th-minute Tettey goal that was to prove the winner, it is not an occasion he will recall fondly.
It could prove an even costlier result for Van Gaal, who sat impassively in his seat as United vainly pushed for an equaliser after Anthony Martial reduced the arrears in the 65th minute. Already feeling the heat from United's fans over the dire quality of his side's football, he has now presided over six games without a win in all competitions.
"I've encountered these circumstances also with other teams and other staff," Van Gaal said. "The main thing is that you have to be professional and do the things that you have to do and work very hard to come out of this bad period."
Tottenham Hotspur took advantage by winning 2-0 at Southampton to capture fourth place. Harry Kane, after a neat run, and Dele Alli scored within three minutes of each other late in the first half. Riyad Mahrez scored twice from the penalty spot, with Shinji Okazaki also on target, as Leicester won 3-2 atEverton, who netted through Romelu Lukaku, scorer for the seventh league game running, and Kevin Mirallas.
Bottom of the table this time last year, Leicester provisionally moved five points above Arsenal and six clear of Manchester City, who face off at the Emirates Stadium on Monday. Lee Chung-Yong's thumping 88th-minute goal saw sixth-place Crystal Palace win 2-1 at Stoke City, while Charlie Daniels's late penalty gave Bournemouth a 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion, who had James McClean and Salomon Rondon sent off. Bottom club Aston Villa drew 1-1 at fourth-bottom Newcastle United.