one with a far-post strike from Eric Cantona. The win deflated the hosts and gave United the necessary belief to finish the season strongly and overtake the Magpies in a stunning run-in.
1996/97 - 28 December 1996, United 1-0 Leeds, Old Trafford (Cantona)
For the third consecutive game during a busy Christmas period, United kept a clean sheet, giving the ever-reliable Eric Cantona the platform to put away a match-winning penalty against his former club. Sir Alex said afterwards, “The important aspect of today’s game was not losing a goal.”
1998/99 - 9 May 1999, Middlesbrough 0-1 United, Riverside Stadium (Yorke)
Three points adrift of Arsenal after conceding an 89th-minute equaliser at Liverpool in the previous game, United were in desperate need of a victory on Teeside. A cross from David Beckham and great link-up play between Teddy Sheringham and Dwight Yorke gave the Tobagan the chance to nod home for the vital winner.
1999/00 - 20 February 2000, Leeds 0-1 United, Elland Road (Cole)
With Leeds in pole position, three points ahead of United at the end of January, a closely-fought game epitomised what was then a tight race between the top two. A moment of predatory opportunism from Andy Cole was all that separated the sides, with United also grateful to goalkeeper Mark Bosnich for making a string of acrobatic saves. This away win was a defining game with the Reds going on to win the title with ease.
2000/01 - 31 January 2001, Sunderland 0-1 United, Stadium of Light (Cole)
Three players were sent off in this volatile affair but the most important statistic was the goal chalked up by Andy Cole, 25 seconds after the restart. Capitalising on a mistake in the Sunderland defence, the striker broke