Is Gareth Bale back? Welshman guides Spurs to victory over Burnley
- Credit: PA
Tottenham Hotspur returned to winning ways in the Premier League, easing the pressure on Jose Mourinho.
Goals from Gareth Bale, Harry Kane, and Lucas Moura helped them to a comfortable 4-0 victory.
Starting his first league game since the last day of January – just his third since the highly anticipated move in the summer – Bale showed glimmers of the player that earnt his move to Real Madrid in 2013.
It took just two minutes for the Welshman to open the scoring, poking in Son Heung-Min’s brilliant delivery in the opening stages.
A moment in the first half, where Bale used his pace to motor past a fullback, was reminiscent of his days at White Hart Lane.
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The 2010 Champions League performance against Inter Milan springs to mind. Whilst it is not a surprise that Bale no longer has the blistering pace and mobility he boasted all those years ago, it was certainly a welcome sight.
He has adapted his game over the years to better suit the style of play we saw on Sunday afternoon.
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He featured on the right of a thrilling front four with Lucas, Son, and Kane, and Spurs played on the front foot with real attacking quality.
Having traditionally used his pace to get in behind the outside of fullbacks, we now see Bale in a different role, and to devastating effect.
Cutting in on his favoured left-foot gives him the option to create chances through either sliding his team-mates through or playing balls into the box.
Harry Kane’s goal was courtesy of a Gareth Bale assist, a brilliant ball driven over the top from inside his own half, with pinpoint accuracy.
The Welshman’s brace was secured in trademark Bale fashion, cutting onto his left foot and unleashing a curled effort that cannoned in off the post.
Steven Bergwijn and Erik Lamela have been fixtures on the right-hand-side of Tottenham’s attack this campaign. However, both have failed to register respectable goal and assist tallies.
With Bale’s talent undeniable, Mourinho being able to call upon him will give his attack an extra dimension. Defenders will automatically be drawn to him, giving more time and space to the likes of Kane and Son.
While his headline return has been underwhelming, to say the least, some positive performances as of late suggest Bale has begun to find his feet and is reaching the level that was anticipated.
Key fixtures are on the horizon for Spurs and a League Cup Final awaits at Wembley. They are still in the race for the top four and competing for the Europa League.
If Bale can produce consistent performances of a high quality, there is potential for him to be a crucial part of any success Tottenham have this season.