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A ridiculous goal (And an important one!) for Tottenham’s Gareth Bale against West Ham

Feb 25, 2013, 5:32 PM EDT

West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Getty Images

Every once in a while a player finds the ultimate groove. The sweetest of sweet spots. The final gear.

(A preciously select few dwell in that universe, but we’re talking Leo Messi-level here, and we know those are few and far between.)

Gareth Bale has nailed the sweet spot. He is truly something to behold right now, as close as anyone ever comes to creating some accuracy in the old broadcaster descriptive fallback “unstoppable.”

Bale’s first goal in Tottenham’s thrilling 3-2 London derby win Monday over West Ham was a fine piece of EPL marksmanship.

His second was just ridiculous. It was one of those where you say, “At some point, it’s not even fair.”

Jussi Jaaskelainen was in beast mode, turning away more than his share in West Ham goal, holding back Bale and Tottenham in the second half.  It was going to take something special to beat the guy – and Bale delivered. His pinpoint flier from close to 30 yards curled away from and then fell perfectly behind Jaaskelainen.

(The goal is below … so long as the video avoids the ol’ internet drop zone)

Bale’s 90th minute goal was as important as it was gracefully stunning, providing Spurs with all three points and allowing the club to leapfrog Chelsea into third place.

The backstory here is in what Bale is doing now to establish himself as the prize of the upcoming transfer window. Now with six goals in 2013, no EPL man has more.

Thing is, this transfer tree has two big branches. His value as a target for elite European clubs keeps rising. Meanwhile, as Bale drives Tottenham further up the table – and make no mistake, the man is so good right now that he is driving the Tottenham bus – Spurs man of the moment could be giving himself a reason to remain at White Hart Lane.

The top three EPL spots are guaranteed Champions League spots for 2013-14. (Fourth place gets into the qualifying round.) As of today, Bale could remain right where he is and experience Champions League greatness next year. (Clint Dempsey, too – and this is why Dempsey worked so hard to get out of Fulham, because he, too, was so desirous of tasting Champions League fruit.)

The back, back story here is in how important it must be for Bale to get into Champions League – and possibly into a team that has more than a puncher’s chance of ever winning the thing.

See, he’s Welsh. He is unlikely to ever get to a World Cup without a ticket in the stands, just like the rest of us. Champions League glory would be the pinnacle of his career, team achievement-wise.

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  1. etchedchaos - Feb 25, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Bale is 23, and he absolutely loves Spurs, he’s not going to kick up a fuss in the Summer so unless Madrid offer 60mill+, he’s going nowhere.

  2. dfstell - Feb 25, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    Why does anyone let him put the ball on his left foot?

    • etchedchaos - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      Because he’s so good that if you close him down he’ll explode past you and cause even more trouble.

      • drewvt6 - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:20 PM

        Exactly, you see his defender give him enough space to contain him from going by at 30-35yards, which is usually good defense against an explosively fast player. It would certainly work if you were covering Lennon or Defoe, but Bale has too many dimensions to his game for a defender to drop off like that.

    • Steve Davis - Feb 25, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      Steve Nash (a huge Spurs fans) tweeted about that, too. His response to those who want to know the same, why left him go left: “Good luck with all that”

      • dfstell - Feb 25, 2013 at 7:26 PM

        Yeah….I’m still not buying it. Did you guys watch the snow game between Spurs and Man United? Phil Jones pretty much neutralized Bale by marking him very closely and not giving him much room to maneuver to the left if he got the ball in front of goal. When Bale did “blow past”, Jones just ran with him and forced him very wide so he wasn’t that much of a threat anymore. That game was the last time Bale looked mortal before he went on this insane, insane run of form.

        I know that most clubs don’t have a guy with the strength/speed of Jones, but still….make the guy “blow past” and do something else. Make him pass it to one of those other guys like Lennon or Defoe who is nowhere near the threat.

        Just saying….I can’t imagine guys continually going down in flames on the same play.

  3. twayward - Feb 25, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    To paraphrase Dan Patrick: you can’t stop Gareth Bale, you can only hope to contain him.

    Sir Alex used Phil Jones plus help to try to stop the great Welshman. That’s right. The side that’s top of the Prem altered what they do to stop Bale.

    Why?

    Because Gareth Bale wrecks matches.

    In his current form, Bale is must see TV.

  4. drewvt6 - Feb 25, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    Sure SAF had United hold defensively and it extremely limited the numbers they brought to the attack. Rafael and had to hold rather than their normal roles of adding to the attack. United’s man marking of bale opened tons of space for Lennon to operate and it gave defoe and Dempsey all kinds of angles behind the defense.

  5. csilojohnson - Feb 26, 2013 at 7:19 AM

    Videos NEVER work. Please fix this garbage app.

    • wfjackson3 - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      How are they supposed to fix youtube?

  6. unclemosesgreen - Feb 26, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Laughing until crying over “Phil Jones pretty much neutralized Gareth Bale.”

    Obviously you either didn’t watch the game or had absolutely no idea what you were watching. Rafael had primary marking responsibilities on Bale, with Jones as the double-team. Sir Alex decided to simply not worry about Aaron Lennon, leaving Patrice Evra isolated on him all game. Because of this, Evra took a 1st half yellow card and had to handle Lennon with kid gloves after that.

    Lennon finally set up Dempsey’s tying goal in final moments of the game.

    Also, if you think defending Bale is anything but sheer terror, well, you still have no idea what you’re saying. Absolute nonsense.

  7. wfjackson3 - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    On a related note, does anyone know why Dempsey wasn’t even in the gameday roster? I saw they used a 4-2-3-1, which I would think really favors Deuce over Lennon on the right side, but he didn’t even make the bench.

    • unclemosesgreen - Feb 26, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      Dempsey picked up a calf injury – he’s out for two weeks or so.

      • wfjackson3 - Feb 26, 2013 at 4:09 PM

        Ah, thanks. Hopefully there are no complications and we get him back for the next pair of WCQ’s.

      • unclemosesgreen - Feb 26, 2013 at 5:04 PM

        We sure need him, especially if L.D. isn’t in match condition yet by then.

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