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Newcastle vs Man United – famous moments ahead of crunch Premier League clash

Manchester United and Newcastle United fixtures used to be an event as one of the major highlights of a Premier League season.

Of course we are going back to the mid-1990s when both teams were battling furiously for the Premier League title and Sir Alex Ferguson and Kevin Keegan were locking horns.

Halcyon days indeed, but the two sides don’t need just need a title race to serve up some classic Premier League moments.

Throughout the years they have produced classics but it’s been a while since the fixture had so much riding as Eddie Howe’s side host the Red Devils in a big weekend concerning the fight to reach the top four and a Champions League place.

So as Newcastle United vs Manchester United once more becomes a match of immense importance, Sportsmail looks back at some of the fixtures most memorable Premier League moments. 

Eric Cantona (left) fires Manchester United to glory against Newcastle United in 1995

Kevin Keegan goes both barrels 

Kevin Keegan’s tirade late on in the 1995-96 season as Newcastle lost their grip on the title race is arguably the most famous managerial interview in Premier League history.

After defeating Leeds 1-0 in late April, Keegan let rip at Sir Alex Ferguson’s remarks about teams going easy on Newcastle ahead of the Toon’s matches against Nottingham Forest and Tottenham to end the season.

Keegan’s crescendo of ‘We’re still fighting for this title and he’s [Ferguson] got to go to Middlesbrough and get something and I tell you, honestly, I would love it if we beat them, love it!’ is the stuff of legend… but it nearly never happened.

A month earlier was the key moment. Newcastle, who at one point had a 12-point lead at the summit, had a home game with the Red Devils in a pivotal game in the title race.

The March 4 meeting saw the Magpies miss big chances to score until Eric Cantona’s second half strike fired Man Utd to a famous 1-0 win, cutting Newcastle’s lead to just a point even though Keegan’s side still had a game in hand.

If Newcastle had won that night then Keegan’s post-match Leeds interview a few weeks later would have been in context of his side needing one point from two matches to claim a famous title. Hard to see how he would have been anywhere near as explosive. 

The rant also had the opposite effect. While Man Utd won 3-0 at Middlesbrough on the final day, Newcastle stumbled to draws with Forest and Spurs, allowing the Red Devils to claim the title by four points. 

In the heat of a title battle Kevin Keegan soon after went on a verbal tirade at Sir Alex Ferguson

In the heat of a title battle Kevin Keegan soon after went on a verbal tirade at Sir Alex Ferguson

Newcastle turn on style with five star showing

Kevin Keegan’s response to losing the title on the final day of the 1995-96 season was to do the most Kevin Keegan thing imaginable and smash the world transfer record to sign a striker.

Not content with having a cream of attacking talent in Les Ferdinand, David Ginola and Faustino Asprilla, Keegan raided Blackburn Rovers for England international Alan Shearer paying a cool £15million. Huge money at the time.

Keegan’s Newcastle team were not called ‘The Entertainers’ for nothing and on an October Sunday afternoon they put in one of the all-time great performances.

First half goals from Darren Peacock, a typical stunner from Ginola and second half strikes from Shearer and Ferdinand had Newcastle fans drooling… and that was before Philippe Albert’s audacious lob from 25 yards out left Red Devils keeper Peter Schmeichel looking more than a little foolish to make it 5-0.

By full-time Newcastle were top of the league after a seventh straight win, three points clear of their nearest rivals and five points clear of Man Utd.

By the end of the season though it was once again Man Utd celebrating a title and Newcastle left as runners-up, with Keegan having already departed as manager. 

Philippe Albert (right) celebrates scoring a famous chip in Newcastle's 5-0 win over Man Utd

Philippe Albert (right) celebrates scoring a famous chip in Newcastle’s 5-0 win over Man Utd

Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand were both on the scoresheet at St James' Park in 1996

Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand were both on the scoresheet at St James’ Park in 1996

Keane lashes out at Shearer

By the time the teams met at St James’ Park in September 2001 Newcastle had long lost their status as a top tier team in England.

Yet they had started the season well and went into their home clash with the Red Devils knowing a win over Man Utd would take them above their former title rivals with a game in hand and keep on track with the early season pace-setters of… Bolton Wanderers and Leeds United.

No one remembers that context though. Not even the seven-goal thriller gets much attention these days – it’s all about Roy Keane lashing out at Alan Shearer in the final moments of the match.

Before we get to that Sir Bobby Robson’s side had put in an incredible display taking the lead twice in the first half either side of a Ruud van Nistelrooy equaliser through Laurent Robert and Rob Lee strikes.

Nikos Dabizas made it 3-1 at the star of the second half only for Ryan Giggs and Juan Veron to help fire the Red Devils level just after the hour mark.

But a Wes Brown own goal eight minutes from time restored the home side’s advantage and it stayed that way at 4-3 heading to stoppage time when the football was turned into a sideshow.

Keane, fuming at knowing his side were minutes away from a costly defeat, made a provoking throw-in at Shearer who had prevented him seconds earlier of taking a short one, only for the Toon skipper to barely react.

That seemed to only anger Keane more, and after a swing of a punch that only succeeded in knocking a yellow card out of the referee’s hand, he was then dismissed for violent conduct.

Roy Keane takes a swing at Alan Shearer during Man Utd's 4-3 loss at Newcastle in 2001

Roy Keane takes a swing at Alan Shearer during Man Utd’s 4-3 loss at Newcastle in 2001

Scholes stars with treble in 6-2 win

After Keane’s moment of madness, Man Utd didn’t return to Newcastle until April 2003 when en route to the Premier League title this time they let the football do the talking.

The game started with a Newcastle goal from Jermaine Jeans and ended with another a minute from time through Shola Ameobi.

The trouble for the Magpies was the bit in between or at least a mad-half hour of game-time once the 30-minute mark ticked by.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer equalised in the 32nd minute and two minutes later Ferguson’s side were in front through Paul Scholes. Scholes doubled his tally and the United advantage in the 38th minute before Ryan Giggs struck a minute before the break to leave Robson’s outfit stunned at 4-1 down heading into half-time.

After the break United kept their foot on the gas with Scholes grabbing his hat-trick before Ruud van Nistelrooy’s penalty had United 6-1 up before an hour had been played.

The match effectively ended Newcastle’s hopes of winning the title as while they were sitting in third place they dropped nine points behind Ferguson’s side with just five matches to play. 

Paul Scholes scored a hat-trick for Manchester United at Newcastle in a 2003 6-2 victory

Paul Scholes scored a hat-trick for Manchester United at Newcastle in a 2003 6-2 victory

Chicharito boxing clever

A big moment in the 2012-13 title fight, as this result effectively gave Manchester United huge margin for error heading into the second part of the season.

Newcastle were not much in the way of opposition on paper at Old Trafford at least until James Perch opened the scoring for the visitors in the fourth minute on Boxing Day.

Jonny Evans then equalised, only for the defender to score an own goal to restore the Magpies’ lead. 

Patrice Evra levelled again in the 58th minute only for Papiss Cisse to give Newcastle the lead for a third time 10 minutes later.

Robin van Persie levelled again with 19 minutes to play before Javier Hernandez popped up in the final minute to seal a big three points for the Red Devils.

With title and local rivals Man City losing 1-0 at Sunderland it allowed Ferguson’s side to open up a seven-point gap at the top. 

Javier Hernandez scored in the final minute for Man Utd in a 2012 Boxing Day win

Javier Hernandez scored in the final minute for Man Utd in a 2012 Boxing Day win

Sanchez saves Mourinho

It wasn’t often Alexis Sanchez showed his best at Old Trafford – being cruel it was usually the opposite – but he produced a stunning display from off the bench to see off the Toon and save Jose Mourinho’s job as manager.

Both teams were desperate for points heading into the October 2018 meeting, with United down in 12th with just 10 points after seven games, while Newcastle were winless and second from bottom on two points.

Yet within 10 minutes, Mourinho’s side were 2-0 down at Old Trafford thanks to goals from Kenedy and Yoshinori Muto.

And that’s the way it stayed until the 67th minute, when Jose sent on Alexis Sanchez to try and salvage a sinking ship. Three minutes later Juan Mata pulled one back and in the 76th minute Anthony Martial grabbed the equaliser.

United then piled forward looking for a winner and it eventually came in the final minute with Sanchez grabbing a deserved winner from close range. 

Sadly for Mourinho it was only a stay of execution, as he was axed just two months later following defeat at Liverpool. Sanchez never scored a Premier League goal again. 

Alexis Sanchez's last top flight goal for Man Utd came in a comeback win versus Newcastle

Alexis Sanchez’s last top flight goal for Man Utd came in a comeback win versus Newcastle