Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur are not a Premier League side who will go down in history for their attacking verve and goal scoring exploits, not yet anyway, yet in their ranks are some sublime options.
However, one man has earned headlines for the wrong reasons, and as we approach March all that can be looked back upon is feelings that ‘the next match is so important’ when it comes to the returning Gareth Bale.
The Welsh winger has managed just eight Premier League appearances, with his first coming off the bench in the calamitous 3-3 draw at home to West Ham, unhelpful for Bale who was brought onto the pitch with the game seemingly won at 3-0.
Regardless, a player with Bale’s talent should be doing better, that much is obvious, but the money that he earns gives him little in the way of slack, as his £600,000 per/week wages simply demand a higher standard.
The last few weeks, however, have given many Tottenham fans some much-needed hope – a rare commodity amongst the mires of five losses in six league games – that Bale may be starting to get up to speed at last.
It all began away at The Etihad when the 2016 European Championship’s semi-finalist picked up the ball just outside the Man City box, jinked his way past the incoming Bernardo Silva, sidestepped Aymeric Laporte and then drifted past John Stones before stinging Ederson’s palms.
This may sound trivial, a shot on target well saved being a turning point – but this is Jose Mourinho’s Spurs. The scoreline in the game at that point was 3-0. The game was gone and Spurs fans were looking for something to excite them.
Bale provided it.
Since that moment the four-time Champions League winner has added two goals to his highlight reel that won’t look out of place even amongst his greatest strikers, as he bagged in both legs of the 8-1 aggregate demolition of Austrian Wolfsberger.
More importantly than those goals, though, was the display that Bale provided for the fans at the London Stadium in between the two legs of Europa League football. A half-time substitute in a London derby that left many a Tottenham supporter purring.
His cameo against West Ham was his best performance in the league for Spurs since his return and in just one half of football he managed to get himself an assist, a deserved reward considering he managed one key pass, one tackle, one dribble and one clearance, according to WhoScored.
This period of time from that jink against Manchester City to now has given us a lot to be excited about with Bale, who up until now has managed just six goals in 19 games in all competitions this season (Transfermarkt), and we should all be hoping that the best is yet to come.
It also appears to the naked eye that this weekend could see Bale play a serious role in the Premier League meeting between Tottenham and Burnley, as Mourinho left him on the bench against Wolfsberger in midweek.
He did come on and superbly whip a first-time left-footed effort into the top corner, linking up with Dele Alli to do so, but seeing as he failed to get the full 90 on Thursday, Spurs fans far and wide will be desperate to see the Gareth Bale of old on Sunday, from the start and in the devastating form that so many have been waiting for.