Feb 25, 2013, 5:32 PM EDT
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.
Apr 20, 2014, 5:01 PM EDT
The Timbers fell to 0-3 on the road this season with Saturday’s 1-0 loss, complicating an already head-scratching start to the year that has Portland in second-to-last place out West at 0W-3L-4T.
Apr 20, 2014, 4:21 PM EDT
How many Americans could find themselves in the UEFA Champions League next season?
Apr 20, 2014, 3:29 PM EDT
Arlo White and Graeme Le Saux break down how having a clear identity continues to push Everton above teams while Manchester United’s lack of an identity continues to hurt the team.
Apr 20, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT
With domestic success and European disappointment, Paris Saint-Germain has decided to extend Blanc’s contract and the manager says it will be finalized in the coming days.
Apr 20, 2014, 2:53 PM EDT
After Toffees do the double over United, Martinez praises Moyes work and his own side:
Apr 20, 2014, 2:40 PM EDT
Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling combined for Liverpool’s second goal, and video showed it wasn’t a fluke they knew exactly where their teammate was going to be.
Apr 20, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT
Everton’s old boss the villain on return to Goodison, as pastures new prove to be a nightmare:
Apr 20, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT
With the cheekiest of chips, Dimitar Berbatov sent Monaco to the Champions League with his winner against Nice.
Apr 20, 2014, 1:09 PM EDT
Randy Lerner released a pretty useless statement on the Villa website today, refusing to rule out a sale of the club which has been reported in recent days.
Apr 20, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT
Nightmare return for Moyes, as Everton do double over United for first time since 1970:
Apr 20, 2014, 12:35 PM EDT
The US Soccer Federation president talks USWNT coaching search, men’s World Cup goals, and MLS growth with NBC’s John Strong.
Apr 20, 2014, 12:04 PM EDT
Red Devils rocking, as Everton come out flying:
Apr 20, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT
With the Miami port vehemently against the new stadium deal, Miami’s mayor comes to Beckham’s side.
Apr 20, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT
Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil were back in the starting lineup and Arsenal looked like a rejuvenated bunch.
Apr 20, 2014, 10:31 AM EDT
David Moyes returns to his old home as Everton continues their fight for a Champions League place.
Apr 20, 2014, 9:47 AM EDT
It’s been nearly five months since his last goal, but Aaron Ramsey picked up where he left off to give Arsenal the lead at KC.
Apr 20, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT
Raheem Sterling shined and they held off a charging Norwich at the end to go five points clear at the top.
Apr 20, 2014, 8:35 AM EDT
Mesut Ozil returns for Arsenal after a 6-week absence, can he lead Arsenal’s charge for the top four?
Apr 20, 2014, 7:48 AM EDT
With a reduced role under David Moyes, Welbeck may search elsewhere in the Premier League for a better managerial relationship.
Apr 20, 2014, 7:13 AM EDT
The Reds are well on their way to going top, but Norwich are battling with attacks of their own.
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