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Bale Rockets From Zero To Hero

It has been an emotionally draining week for Tottenham Hotspur. After losing 2-0 to Portsmouth in the FA Cup semi-final, Spurs regrouped wonderfully and scored a sensational 2-1 victory over bitter rivals Arsenal. They then stunned a lethargic looking Chelsea side by the same score, a result that will again leave a fuzzy feeling in the stomachs of Spurs fans, as there is no love lost between the two London clubs. Gareth Bale in particular has enjoyed a spectacular rise from the ashes of defeat.

Bale did not begin his Spurs career in rosy fashion by any stretch of the imagination. He had an astonishing and unwanted record of never appearing for a winning Spurs side in his first 25 Premier League outings for the North London side. However, in his recent performances higher up the pitch in midfield, he has been an invaluable asset to his manager Harry Redknapp.  The Welsh International scored his first goal of the season against his side’s local enemies Arsenal. The winger showed all the cunning of a veteran centre-forward, as he glided past the offside trap to gracefully tap home Jermain Defoe’s exquisite through ball.

Bale showed a few majestic touches in the North London derby, and demonstrated a sly awareness of team-mates and opponents around him. He took his goal beautifully, but it was an all together different narrative at the weekend where his side beat Chelsea for just the 3rd time in 40 meetings. Bale haunted Paulo Ferreira down the wing for the entire 90 minutes. The 20 year old shimmied this way and that numerous times as he rendered the Premier League leaders defenceless. Spurs forced the issue early and created havoc at the back for Chelsea, as Bale easily had the beating of Ferreira, before looping the ball over Petr Cech. The ball dropped agonisingly into the six yard box before Alex provided cover in slamming the ball high and out for a throw. The winger got his deserved goal when he danced left and right, twisting Ferrara inside out before turning and belting home a low drive from 18 yards out.

It is difficult to remember a match in which a one on one battle between two counterparts was so largely dominated. Bale was once the laughing stock of the Premier League with a dismal record, but Redknapp has now transformed him into a dynamic, sizzling winger with pace to burn. You have to admire Bale’s character, he is only 20 and has not even played 100 league games yet, but he has experience of immense pressure. Bale is the youngest player ever to play for his former club Southampton, making his debut at the age of just 16 years and 275 days. He was engrossed with responsibility immediately, as he was playing in a youthful and recently relegated side, dismantled by financial crisis and footballing shortcomings.

Bale has again shouldered responsibility and has compensated well for the gutting injury to miniature, jinking winger Aaron Lennon. Bale has slotted into Lennon’s more attacking role perfectly, and you have to credit Redknapp for crafting Bales recovery after a horrific introduction to life as a Spurs player. After not playing for a winning side for his first 25 games, Bale has won his side two almightily important games at the business end of the season which could go far to make up for his early form. With Lennon elsewhere and injured, Bale could be crucial to Spurs’ alive and kicking Champion’s League hopes. The race for fourth could come to a tumultuous climax as Spurs and the millionaires of Manchester City meet on Wednesday 5th May, and Bale will be looking to play a starring role in the potentially gripping finale. The City defence will need to be limbering up well for this great test, and probably won’t need any tips from Ferreira.

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  1. Beach_Bum

    April 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    People forget that before his injury Bale took all Spurs Penalties with a 100% success rate.This is far better than the 50% provided by Defoe.

    • Richard

      April 20, 2010 at 1:19 am

      You seem to ‘remember’ more that what actually has happened. Bale has never taken a penalty for Tottenham EVER.

      But maybe you are right 0 for 0 – does that count as 100% suceess since he never missed a penalty

  2. Kimo C.

    April 19, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I was honestly shocked to find out that he was only 20 years old! I feel like he’s been around for ages now. He’s had quite a week and at times looked like the only Spurs player who was actually trying to make anything happen for his squad against Pompey. His pace is excellent and deceptive to those who are not prepared for it. It’s definitely the main reason why he’s so comfortable as a MF player; he knows he can track back to quickly to recover on defense. IMO, LB is his natural position. The long term outlook for Spurs down the left is very bright with both Bale and Rose.

  3. The Gentleman Masher

    April 19, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I’ve said this elsewhere…but for a non-Champions League side, Spurs has ridiculous depth.

    Consider that, in the Arsenal and Chelsea matches, they were missing Kranjcar, Palacios, Woodgate, Lennon, Jenas, and Corluka to injury…

    Guys like Bale, Danny Rose, Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone and David Bentley slotted in and made the most of their opportunities.

    They also have Keane, Jamie O’Hara, Giovanni Dos Santos, Alan Hutton, Kyle Naughton, and Adeel Taraabt out on loan…

    If they do make the Champions League, and can hold onto most of their players, they won’t need to add much to be ready. 3 or 4 players, max.

  4. MikeD

    April 19, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Anyone care to respond to my comment rather than just giving it the thumbs down? I take it people don’t think he’s as good as the last 2 games? I guess time will tell but I think he is going to be a regular Champions League player, with Spurs or elsewhere.

    • Martin

      April 19, 2010 at 11:34 am

      I didn’t vote your comment down, but I didn’t like to think about your suggestion of another club swooping in and taking Bale just as he was starting to flourish. It’s the reality of big time world football though, so I should learn to accept it. But can’t I just have a season or two to enjoy the brilliance without having to constantly worry about a blossoming player leaving?

    • Mark Flint

      April 20, 2010 at 10:43 pm

      Spurs are a big enough club to keep Bale, and they will get a huge monetary boost from next years Champions league.

  5. Martin

    April 19, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Just imagine if Spurs had Bale in this form down the left and Lennon attacking down the right all season long. 4th place may have been sewn up long ago.

  6. Tom

    April 19, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Firstly, Ferreira only lasted til half time, when Ivanovic replaced him and fared no better.

    Secondly, he was doing this from his debut at Old Trafford up until he sustained ligament damage against Birmingham at White Hart Lane and was ruled out for the season, scoring 3 goals in 7 games on the way under Martin Jol. Just because Redknapp finally gave in and put him in the side because Assou-Ekotto was injured does not mean that you can give him the credit for Bale’s form. His confidence obviously suffered under Ramos, but he’d have been doing this all season if Redknapp had given him the chance.

    And finally, as good as he is on the wing, he’s even better as left back. His defending is now first rate and his unrivalled energy allows him to hurt sides going forward from the deeper position and get back without fear of being caught on the counter-attack.

  7. CTBlues

    April 19, 2010 at 9:35 am

    The monkey played very well this past week.

  8. iain

    April 19, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Bale has improved a lot but he was never “zero”, Spurs fans always knew what he’d be capable of.

    Same goes for Gomes, about whom a lot of bollocks is being written lately. He was never as bad as the media pretended, and Spurs fans never got on his back.

    • The Gaffer

      April 19, 2010 at 9:42 am

      Iain, I agree that Bale was never a zero. However, he was the laughing stock of the Premier League at some point and was the butt of several jokes. See my article at

      The Gaffer

    • Kevin

      April 19, 2010 at 10:20 am

      Agree about Gomes. Gomes has been fantastic for a year now. People just prefer to pay attention to the media hubbub from November of ’08. I find it hilarious that people are finally discovering that he’s a class goalkeeper.

  9. MikeD

    April 19, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Bale has a big future ahead of him. There aren’t many good attacking left fullbacks out there, so it’s likely that some of the biggest clubs are going to come after him eventually.

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