It is not all that long ago that Gareth Bale had an unwanted record – he had never finished on the winning side in a Spurs shirt. If you were told that stat once existed now, you would never believe it. He is the driving force behind Spurs’ push for Champions League football next season and he was at his dazzling best once again at the weekend against Newcastle. His brace took him to 13 Premier League goals for the season and ensured that Tottenham picked up all 3 points.
It is not long ago that Spurs fans were ironically singing ‘he plays on the left’ whenever Bale drifted infield but there has recently been a more direct approach which has paid dividends. Bale scored the winner against West Brom having taken up a central position and a tactical change from AVB to switch Bale and Dempsey for the second half on Saturday saw him score the winner once again from a central position.
With Defoe out injured and Adebayor arriving back late from the African Cup of Nations, Bale was once again left to carry the greatest threat. He attempted 4 of the 5 shots on target and but for a combination of great saves from Tim Krul and a wild shot over the bar Bale would have secured his second hat trick of the season.
It is easy to see why some would say that Tottenham are a one man team but this would be doing a great disservice to those around him. Dembele for one has been pivotal to Spurs’ success. In fact Tottenham Spurs have averaged 2.32 points per game with Dembele in the team vs. 0.57 points without him. It is no coincidence that having lost his midfield partner Sandro to injury, Dembele’s form has dropped a little. I previously wrote about how the midfield duo were driving Spurs’ success this season. No disrespect to Scott Parker but he lacks the guile displayed by Sandro. Sandro is not only about his defensive work. Having won the ball back or received it he is quick to move it on. There is plenty of fluidity between the pair – something that is lacking in the Dembele/Parker. The fact that Sandro lost possession every 137 minutes while Parker has a much poorer rate of every 47 minutes in his absence is testament to this.
Additionally Hugo Lloris and his defence need to take a lot of credit from their performances. Since conceding two injury time goals at Goodison Park back in December, not only have they not conceded a goal in the last few minutes of games, they have not conceded in the second half.
Bale Comparison to Ronaldo
It is inevitable that fans and pundits want to make comparisons between players, and talk of Bale being anywhere near the quality of Ronaldo may seem laughable. While I would not go as far as saying that Bale is on the same level as Ronaldo at the moment, he certainly has the potential to be in the future. The stats comparison of Bale currently vs. Ronaldo when he was his age certainly makes for interesting reading:
If Tottenham want to keep their grip on 4th place and embark on another Champions League campaign, they are going to need more of the same from their talisman.
All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.com – Subscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) Check out our new Top Stats feature on the Stats Centre which allows you to compare all players in the league & read about new additions to the stats centre.