THIS WEEK

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The Independent Online
On 17 January 1996, Newcastle United, playing at home, were knocked out of the FA Cup by Chelsea.

Ruud Gullit had equalised for the visitors in the 88th minute, taking the game into extra time and a penalty shoot-out that the Londoners eventually won.

Newcastle were comforted that in the Premiership, however, they seemed to have an unassailable nine-point lead over Manchester United at the top of the table. (This was all before the signing of Tino Asprilla, whom no one imagined at the time would ever sport a Newcastle shirt.)

Today's title chasers can take comfort that Manchester United's lead needn't prove insurmountable. Except, of course, in 1996, it was United themselves who surmounted Newcastle's.

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