FOOTBALL: United draw on history lesson

THE STATISTICS
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The Independent Online
WITH 12 games remaining in the 1995-96 season, Manchester United trailed the Premiership leaders Newcastle United by a whopping nine points. Newcastle had 60, United had 51. In the last dozen games, Alex Ferguson's side stormed to 31 points from 36, - including a 1-0 win at St James' Park - not only closing the gap on Newcastle but overtaking them and winning the League by four points.

Hence Ferguson knows, from experience, that this season's title is still up for grabs. Like Newcastle in 1996, Chelsea now lead the table by nine points with 12 games left.

United's next match pits them against their Manchester rivals, at City's ground, in the 16th Premiership derby between the two. United have won nine, drawn four and lost only two of the previous 15 games, although the two defeats have been in their last two visits to City, by 3-1 and 4-1.

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