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Gareth Bale rolls back years again to fire Tottenham into top-four contention

Gareth Bale in this sort of form transports you back in time.

Bale was simply unstoppable as he scored twice, dominated the game and even played a part in Harry Kane’s wonder goal as the England captain also bagged a brace.

This was Bale back near to his best. The Bale of 2013 who joined Real Madrid for a world record £85m fee and went on to become British football’s most successful export of all time by winning the Champions League four times.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy’s vanity signing is reaping rich rewards because the front three of Bale, Kane and Heung-Min Son provide enough firepower to get Spurs into the top four.

Gareth Bale was in stunning form again for Tottenham

They are back up to sixth, two points behind Chelsea in fourth and, in this mood, you could not possibly bet against them because the forward trio have the potential to rival anyone in the Premier League.

Kane has now provided 13 assists this season, scored 16 Premier League goals and is having arguably the best season of his career.

Bale seems to have finally convinced Jose Mourinho to play him regularly – this was his third consecutive start in the Premier League – and is repaying his manager’s faith after scoring six goals in as many games.

Bale, 31, was everywhere this time as he darted all over the pitch, opening up space for Kane and Son while pulling the Palace defence apart when normally they are so well drilled under Roy Hodgson.

Harry Kane also scored a wonder-goal
Harry Kane also scored a wonder-goal

Wales superstar Bale, on a season-long loan from Madrid, was electric from the start and the biggest shame is the Spurs fans are not at White Hart Lane to see the second coming.

At least Levy, looking understandably smug as he approaches 20 years of his chairmanship this week, was sat in an executive box and the directors made enough noise to create just a little bit of much needed atmosphere.

The first goal arrived after 25 minutes and was all about Tottenham’s work rate and pressing. Lucas Moura robbed Luka Milivojevic in midfield, Kane cut the ball back and there was Bale for an easy tap-in.

Despite being outplayed, Palace levelled in first half injury time as Matt Doherty and Davinson Sanchez went AWOL. Milivojevic found space on the left, put over a cross and Christian Benteke rose to head home with the sort of header which was his trademark a few years back.

Christian Benteke scored an equaliser for Crystal Palace
Christian Benteke scored an equaliser for Crystal Palace

Palace sent on Wilfried Zaha at half time to try and change the game… but it went in Spurs’ favour. The second goal came after 49 minutes as Bale began the move, passed to Sergio Reguilon and then darted into the box.

Reguilon sent over a cross, Kane nodded back across goal and there was Bale to head home. It was an absolutely brilliant Bale moment, reminiscent of his best from the season before he went to Madrid.

If that was Tottenham’s best team goal, then Kane scored the best individual effort three minutes later. Bale and Son were involved in the build-up, Doherty cut the ball back to Kane who swept it home into the top corner from 20 yards.

Jose Mourinho will have been thoroughly satisfied by what he saw
Jose Mourinho will have been thoroughly satisfied by what he saw

Zaha did hit the post but it was pretty one-way traffic otherwise with Erik Lamela finding Son who pulled the ball back for Kane to head home. It was almost as if Son did not want to be left out and had to at least provide an assist.

Kane and Son have now combined for 14 goals which is more in a single season than any other duo in Premier League history while Tottenham have also become only the second club (after Bayern Munich) in Europe’s top five leagues to reach 100 goals in all competitions.




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