Spurs go third as Gareth Bale wonder goals keep coming
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce left in awe as Welshman sneaks stoppage time victory
West Ham United 2 Tottenham 3. The genius of Gareth Bale proved too much for the Hammers last night as Tottenham took three points to move above Chelsea into third place.
The Welsh winger scored twice in the Lilywhites' dramatic victory, his second a superb effort in stoppage time, to leave West Ham boss Sam Allardyce in awe. "We've one man to thank for tonight's result and that's Gareth Bale," said Allardyce. "He's the difference and his wonder goals are continuing…there's not a lot you can do about it at that stage of the game."
On an evening dedicated to the memory of West Ham and England legend Bobby Moore, who died 20 years ago, Bale gave an early indication he intended to ruin the commemoration when he fired home on 13 minutes.
Andy Carroll then levelled for the Hammers from the penalty spot after he had been felled by Scott Parker's reckless challenge. Despite Spurs piling on the pressure it was West Ham who scored next, Joe Cole beating Hugo Lloris with a left-foot shot on 58 minutes.
Spurs turned to Bale in their moment of need and the Welshman didn’t disappoint. First he whipped in a free kick that the West Ham defence failed to deal with, allowing Gylfi Sigurdsson to poke home at the far post. Then, as the outstanding Hammers goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen looked set to deny Spurs victory with a string of brilliant saves, Bale unleashed a dipping shot from outside the area.
"He is tremendous," exclaimed Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas of his match-winner. "He inspires people and he is a direct influence on every single player. Players like this take responsibility at key moments.”
Bale’s brace of goals means the 23-year-old has scored eight times in his last six matches for Spurs, including winning strikes against Lyon, Newcastle and West Bromich Albion. "He's starting to get a liking for scoring late goals," joked Villas-Boas. "He is enjoying his football, when you see him joyful on the pitch he gives you rewards."
The win lifts Spurs into third spot on 51 points, two points more than Chelsea and four more than Arsenal who lie in fifth. The north London rivals clash at White Hart Lane on Sunday, a game that Villas-Boas recognises as crucial to both clubs’ prospects of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
"The north London derby is going to be very passionate," said the Spurs boss. “If we can put Arsenal seven points away it will be a big step for us. We know we need a bigger gap than at the moment to keep them away."