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Bale the Star, but Spurs the Match Winners

3 min read
by The Fighting Cock

Gareth Bale had been threatening to score all afternoon against a resolute West Brom team. However when he finally did, putting aside the media fanfare and the tabloid hyperbole, the goal had more to do with the team than the individual. The Welshman is without doubt in a rich vein of form. It is quite […]

Gareth Bale had been threatening to score all afternoon against a resolute West Brom team. However when he finally did, putting aside the media fanfare and the tabloid hyperbole, the goal had more to do with the team than the individual.

The Welshman is without doubt in a rich vein of form. It is quite unbelievable that he has progressed from an Albatross round our necks, to a fully kitted out recuse Chinook, but still there is still room for improvement.

Bale was brilliant but his team-mates were better.

The first two months of 2013 has shown us the wonderful, yet also the marginalized side of Bale. Having been nullified against Man Utd and QPR, under what must be AVB’s tutelage, Bale has started to move inside and operate centrally. here he is involved in the game but the same issues remain for the Welshman.

Without space Bale is a good player, but not great.

This key commodity is one that Bale needs to thrive, but without the help of his team-mates, he will never find it. During the second half at the Hawthorns, the number 11 prodded, sprinted and turned searching for that yard to open the Baggies up, but it never came. His frustration was growing as he appeared intent to run at more and more defenders, but then the moment came. Bale was brilliant but his team-mates were better.

Spurs worked the ball right with quick one or two touch passes. Lewis Holtby, Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon all made quick forward movements, and when the ball was finally threaded into Bale he found himself one-on-one vs James Morrison. The rest is now part of his wonderful show reel, but without those three pulling an increasingly ragged West Brom defence inside then back, it may not have happened.

The comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo may be early, but the goal Spurs scored was all Barcelona. The Catalan giants are masters playing against defensive units. Barca may benefit from the genius of Leo Messi and co, but the simplicity of their game is one that Spurs need to start adapting if they are to benefit from an having an asset like Bale. Quick, incisive passing, switch it left, come back in, have players willing to move into space, but not always receive the ball. The key isn’t what you do with the ball but what you do without it.

Gareth Bale

At White Hart Lane this season the urgency from some to: “Get the ball forward” has left me more annoyed than the early season booing. Speed is nothing without space, a cheetah may be fast as lighting, but in a confined space with a Cobra I wouldn’t be too hopeful on a pair snake skin boots coming your way.

The longer Tottenham remain at the top of the Premier League, the more teams will come to respect us and try to nullify us. This season the greatest compliment we have been afforded was Man United abandoning their free flowing attacking plan in order to keep Bale and Co quiet. Our opposition is adapting, and so are we.

Take a look through or starting eleven then try and claim AVB hasn’t been backed. A sweeper keeper, a ball playing centre back, centre mid as good on the ball as off it and a physical (although currently absent) stirker. The manager has taken players who were good under previous regimes and made then more effective, clear benefactors are Lennon and the now injured Jermain Defoe. Andre Villas-Boas was appointed to move us from simply running around, to the more refined nuances of the modern game.

Speed is nothing without space, a cheetah may be fast as lighting, but in a confined space with a Cobra I wouldn’t be too hopeful on a pair snake skin boots coming your way.

Slow, slow, slow, slow then lighting quick. That’s how we scored on Sunday and that’s how Barcelona and Spain have taken the footballing world by storm.

Look back over the ages, Brazil 1970 & 82, Italy 1982, AC Milan mid-to-late 90’s and modern day Barca. These teams didn’t get the ball forward quickly at all costs; they were patient and believed in their system. This is where AVB is looking to take us, whether he succeeds or not time will tell, but in the meantime we need rather like Spurs on the ball, remain patient.

Bale is a player who can make the difference, but it’s the team that are the match winners.

All views and opinions expressed in this article are the views and opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of The Fighting Cock. We offer a platform for fans to commit their views to text and voice their thoughts. Football is a passionate game and as long as the views stay within the parameters of what is acceptable, we encourage people to write, get involved and share their thoughts on the mighty Tottenham Hotspur.

3 Comments

  1. spuds4me
    04/02/2013 @ 5:43 pm

    “Bale was brilliant but his team-mates were better” ; codswallop! You mean 1 man wasn’t as good as the other 10 combined? Well that’s kind of obvious really isn’t it !!
    Fact is without Bale this would be a team that had taken just 1 point out of the last 6, and goodness knows how many more if you count back (Liverpool home, Man U away for example).
    Bale is currently papering over giant cracks in our goalscoring form. Without him this team wouldn’t compete with the rest of the top 6, in fact with him we might struggle having watched all 6 play this weekend on sky (live and long highlights). Sure we’d still have good possesion stats etc. but they don’t get you points. At the very least even when Bale is being sat-on, (double/triple marked) by the opposition who are obsessed with what he might do, this creates place for other members of our team; Lennon being a good example recently, hence his presence alone can dictate how the other team sets up.
    Lewis Holtby looks a superb addition if he can maintain his promising start, the defence certainly looks more solid and at last we have a keeper who can sprint off his line when he’s needed and I think his confidence has rubbed off on the back 4. One good midfield addition though we lost a world class playmaker. Yet without Bale I fear this team would lack that world class player who can turn a match with one run or one strike and I think we need to really appreciate him whilst we’ve still got him.
    Don’t forget it was essentially just a 0-1 against a team struggling currently for form and down to 10 men in second half – hardly the hardest game of the season!
    Don’t get me started on the striker situation, suffice to say if it costs us CL a lot of spurs fans are going to see the logical cause of the problem that most neutrals can clearly see already.

  2. klinsmannfan
    04/02/2013 @ 6:50 pm

    Spuds4me – I think Holtby may well be the energetic, (and energising!) creative midfielder we’ve been waiting for and he could help others such as Dembele, Ade and Siggy back to form……. I suspect Bale and Lennon in particular are also relishing the thought of regularly playing alongside Holtby. Incidentally I’m not sure we should be overconcerned even if Bale may be “papering over giant cracks in our goalscoring form” – I’m very happy that our best player is scoring more regularly and taking games by “the scruff of the neck”, in a manner similar to Ronaldo, RVP and a select few others; given Bale’s extraordinary talent I find it frustrating and annoying when he is underperforming/peripheral….but I accept we musn’t come to rely upon him excessively. The squad is still a tad thin compared the teams above us in the premiership (that’s not a criticism, we’re not as wealthy) but these are exciting times to be a Spurs supporter.

  3. Neil
    04/02/2013 @ 7:02 pm

    agreed on the possession. when have we ever consistently dominated possession as we do now? alright it might not always go anywhere, but to score you need the ball and when you have the ball the opposition can’t score. we still need that lockpick to break through stout defences with quick one touch passing (Holtby could be it, but dont want too much pressure on the lad, he’s still young and lets not forget even Modric took time to settle) and we still need the all round striker, who can hold the ball up, distribute it, bring Bale Lennon Demps Siggy Holtby into play, score goals and ‘run around a bit’. Ade, on his game, is that player. Better finishing and we would have our man. Until then Bale’s world class strikes will have to do

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