the Magpies in 1995/96. Kevin Keegan’s table-toppers led by 10 points, but United reduced the arrears with one of the finest festive results of the Sir Alex era. It was a must-win match and Andy Cole gave United the perfect start, hitting an angled side-footed drive in the sixth minute before Roy Keane fired home after the break. The gap was down to seven points and the title race was back on.
28/12/1992: United 5 Coventry City 0
Just two days after a thrilling comeback at Hillsborough, United welcomed on-song Coventry to Old Trafford, needing a return to winning ways. It took Ryan Giggs only six minutes to float home a glorious opener on the turn, before Mark Hughes slotted in a second. An Eric Cantona penalty and late strikes from Lee Sharpe and Denis Irwin had all onlookers purring, including Sky Blues boss Bobby Gould. “It was magnificent, a wonderful advertisement,” said the Coventry manager. “Some of the football was a delight to behold.”
29/12/1993: Oldham Athletic 2 United 5
Two years after United had hit the Latics for six at Boundary Park (with the hosts scoring three!), the Reds returned to bag another handful. “I wouldn’t have been surprised if we’d scored ten goals and Oldham could easily have scored five,” said Sir Alex of this goal-happy game. Andrei Kanchelskis began the scoring, Graeme Sharp equalised, then an Eric Cantona penalty was cancelled out by Rick Holden. That was the end of the resistance from the hosts though, as Steve Bruce and two goals from Ryan Giggs displayed United’s awesome firepower.