Galactico Bale brushes aside Burnley
Bale takes the wheel clamps off and finally turns on the magic with two goals and an assist as Tottenham thump the Clarets 4-0
28 February, 2021 — By Dan Carrier
SPURS 4 (Bale 2 55, Kane 15, Moura 31)
“THERE is not one single manager in the world,” stated Jose Mourinho after watching his Real Madrid loanee roll back the years and revel in a 10 out of 10 performance, “who does not play Gareth Bale if he is in very good condition.”
And what condition: the Welshman, over the past three games, looks like he has found the keys to a wheel clamp. His return journey to Tottenham, had, for five months, been a slow and arduous task. Not now. This was the Bale the fans fell in love with.
Against Burnley, who Spurs thumped 4-0 this afternoon (Sunday), Bale hit two goals and was Galactico-class every time he got on the ball. It was the performance the Premier League had been waiting for.
“It wasn’t just about the goals he scored,” added Mourinho. “It was about his physical performance. Now he isn’t flat – he has speed in his actions.”
Bale had shown more than flickers in the last run outs – he shone against Austrian Europa League punchbags Wolfsberger and in the London derby at West Ham.
Suddenly the touch paper has been lit, and Mourinho acknowledged the fact by giving Bale only his fourth league start this term. And boy-o, what a start.
Two minutes in, Heung-Min Son drifted with the ball at his feet into the inside left position midway in the Burnley half. It did not seem like much was on, and Son would have to hold play up a little.
Instead, Bale produce a turn of speed between centre-backs, and Son’s through ball was converted by a one-touch finish.
Bale’s outstanding individual moments translated into a sense of excitement over his link play with Harry Kane, Son and Lucas Moura. The players produced a marvellous kaleidoscope of attacking intent, pinning poor Burnley back.
The understanding between Son and Kane is such that passes between the two travel along well trodden paths.
Today it was the chance for Bale to plug in the antennae, too – and for Tottenham’s second, it was the sort of interplay that must have warmed even Mourinho’s flinty heart.
Bale, deep inside his own half, was nudged the ball by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, passing on the responsibility from the midfield hatchet man to its creator.
A quick glance up and then an arching, powerful 60-plus-yards ball to Kane followed. The Spurs striker finished with his usual aplomb past the despairing Burnley keeper, Nick Pope.
With 15 minutes on the clock it was already a question of how many goals the home side would score. And at the heart of it all was Bale, who continued to charm, showing the type of bursts of acceleration past his marker that ruined the Inter Milan defence all those years ago.
Lucas Moura got his name on the scoresheet before the half was up, taking a touch in a tight spot and thumping home.
Spurs went into exhibition game mode after Bale made it four just before the hour mark with a lovely swish of his left boot from 25-yards.
Son had carried the ball into space, picked out Bale cutting in from the right, and with no pause the Welshman added his second in a gloriously indulgent way.
In this topsy-turvy season, any team who can string a few wins together can get back into the mix.
The disastrous five defeats from six has led to questions about Mourinho’s direction. Today, it felt like the manager has accepted that with these talents, he has to play a bit more the Tottenham way.
It would be an awful waste of Bale, Kane, Son, Moura and Dele Alli if the manager did not move past tactics described by a disgruntled Alli as “Smash it long and ******* defend.”
Spurs: Lloris, Aurier (Doherty, 81), Sanchez, Alderweireld, Reguilon, Ndombele, Hojbjerg, Bale (Lamela, 70), Moura (Alli, 66), Son, Kane
Substitutes not used: Hart, Winks, Dier, Sissoko, Davies, Vinicius
Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor, Brownhil, Cork (Stephenson, 81), Westwood, McNeil, Rodriguez (Richardson, 88), Vydra (Wood, 73)
Substitutes not used: Peacock-Farrell, Bardsley, Long, Dunne, Benson, Driscoll-Glennon