London: England greats Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker were on the scoresheet the last time Tottenham Hotspur recorded a league double over Manchester United, but the north London club have the chance to end 23 years of woe on Sunday.
After coming out on top in an end-to-end tussle at Old Trafford in September, Tottenham can reinforce their own Champions League ambitions with a second successive win over the Premier League leaders.
That would be a remarkable achievement in itself given they have not won a home fixture against United, who are seven points clear at the top of the table, since 2001, 11 years after they last won both the home and away league matches.
Andre Villas-Boas’ list of achievements include bringing the best out of Gareth Bale, successfully converting Jermain Defoe into a lone striker and skilfully managing a depleted squad.
To complete a league double over United would add another feather to his cap given Redknapp did not manage a single win against the Manchester club in any competition in his four years with the club.
Meanwhile, United midfielder Darren Fletcher has been ruled out for the rest of the season after having surgery to resolve a bowel condition, the Premier League leaders said on Thursday.
The 28-year-old Scotland international missed most of last season and the start of the current campaign because of the problem but returned to make 13 appearances for club and country since September.
A win would also give Tottenham the opportunity to close the gap on third-placed Chelsea who have to negotiate a tricky home game against inconsistent Arsenal on Sunday to maintain their own fading title challenge.
Chelsea fans are struggling to warm to interim manager Rafa Benitez whose side were held to a shock 2-2 league draw by Southampton on Wednesday to continue the Spaniard’s uphill battle to convince the club’s supporters that he can be trusted.