Gareth Bale Bounces Back to Bring Fluidity and Firepower to Tottenham Attack

Tottenham Hotspur have endured a tough few weeks. An energy amongst the squad that was positively infectious before Christmas was slowly seeping away. They needed, if not a break, then a shot of adrenaline to kickstart a slumbering squad back into life. But against Burnley, they awoke with a jolt, startled by the realisation that drifting through the rest of the campaign was not an option. One man, in particular, his previous dreams potentially filled with golf shots, sprang Spurs into action on Sunday – a certain Gareth Bale.

Gareth Bale Buzzes Into Life for Tottenham Hotspur With Lively Outing Against Burnley

Tottenham Winger Bale Had a Hand in Three Goals to Steer Spurs to Victory

Since completing a homecoming move to White Hart Lane last summer, life in north London hasn’t been as enjoyable for Gareth Bale as he might have anticipated.

A solitary winner against Brighton & Hove Albion in November was all the Welshman had to show for his efforts in the league. Rising tensions between Bale and José Mourinho led to speculation that a fairytale loan deal could be terminated before he had the chance to generate a head of steam.

Things have certainly changed for the better in recent weeks because, when team-mates around flagged and faltered, Bale fired himself up. Having scored in both Europa League legs against Wolfsberger, he would have been itching to break his Premier League hoodoo.

Against West Ham, he was unlucky not to score when a sizzler of a shot crashed off the woodwork, but he was starting to shift through the gears with some incisive attacking play.

It was in Burnley’s trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday that Bale was finally able to hit full throttle.

In partnership with Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, Bale formed a three-pronged attacking trident which repeatedly speared the heart of the Burnley defence. Kane’s goal was a fine example of this as, instead of dropping deeper into midfield to link the play, the Tottenham captain surged forward whilst Bale took up a position in the middle of the park to arc a long ball forward to his striker, who smashed the ball past Nick Pope.

Movement of Gareth Bale From Midfield Too Quick for Burnley Backline

The fluid nature of Spurs’ front men was apparent on Sunday, with attackers’ positions being altered quicker than pieces in a game of bullet chess. Bale was key to this, stationing himself across the pitch to allow Son, Kane and Lucas Moura to enter threatening areas.

Bale himself was the beneficiary for the Tottenham fourth when, after noticing a gaping hole on the left-hand side of the Clarets’ defence, he finessed the ball into the far corner with Pope unmoved. A brace on Sunday means the 31-year-old has been directly involved in seven goals in his last four Spurs appearances, according to Opta.

Showing fans a glimpse of what he is capable of, the clinical way in which Bale capitalised on taking his chances was mightily impressive. Combined with the ever-present goal threat of his skipper, Bale’s contributions could go a long way in helping the Lilywhites to secure a European spot, particularly with the dip in form Steven Bergwijn has suffered in 2020/21.

A timely return to form undoubtedly helps the attacking dynamics of Mourinho’s side. Playing inverted wingers, with Bale cutting in from the right and Son from the left, provides Tottenham with a natural attacking balance that has the additional benefit of allowing Kane to take up better shooting positions, as he is not required to drift wide to support others.

Going 3-0 up after half an hour also meant Mourinho did not have to force the issue, which allowed the players to play their natural game and enjoy being on the pitch. Previously, Bale cut a forlorn and frustrated figure, seemingly irritated by his manager’s desire to maintain structure in place of a system that favoured flair, fluidity and firepower.

Even when they rose to the top of the Premier League in early December, Tottenham were still reliant on creating chances from counter-attacks. So dependant were they on springing traps for over-zealous opponents that eventually, Mourinho’s forwards forgot how to play with freedom. Now that Bale is barnstorming forward again and becoming a problem for opposing defences in the process, Spurs fans can be encouraged by a team that has offensive weapons in abundance.

Bale’s return to form not only aids his chances of earning a contract in N17 once his loan deal expires, but also allows his team-mates to flourish in the final third.

Having proved that he is still capable of a magic moment, the Welsh international must demonstrate that he is not just a flash in the pan, but someone who can handle the heat in a kitchen with Michelin-level expectations.

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