By Josh Powell | Tottenham v Arsenal
Tottenham fans have plenty to celebrate. They’re up in to third, flying towards Champions League qualification. They haven’t lost a game at home since the start of November. They have scored 27 goals on the road, second only to Manchester United, and they are four points clear of their North London rivals Arsenal.
The one man to thank for all this? Gareth Frank Bale.
The Welsh wizard is the most entertaining man to come out of Wales since Tom Jones released ‘It’s Not Unusual’ in 1965. Bale lights up Premier League grounds across the country and his lightning pace and eye for goal have attracted the interests of Real Madrid, PSG and Manchester United.
This season Bale has scored 15 goals in 23 league appearances for Spurs, finding the onion bag on average every 135 minutes. Not too shabby. It’s even more impressive when you look at his performances since the end of January when he has scored six league goals and netted almost every hour on average.
If you’d put €10 on Bale to score first every week this season with Paddy Power you would be eating caviar and drinking champagne most Saturdays, with a total profit of €190 since August.
There’s no shortage of champagne at Bale’s gaff either. The winger has picked up nine bottles of bubbly for his Man of the Match performances, more than any other Premier League player. His 15 strikes for Spurs have earned them 15 points and without Bale Tottenham would be in 10th and AVB would probably be out of a job.
Can Arsenal do anything to stop him? When you consider Mikel Arteta’s tackling ability only goes from ‘flimsy’ to ‘half-hearted’ and Per Mertesacker turns slower than a cruise ship, probably not. Bale is 5/1 to open the scoring on Sunday and Paddy Power is doubling the odds if the first goalscorer in the game scores again.
That has the traders crying and the shareholders running for cover. In three of the last four games Bale has scored first and then gone on to bag another.
Admittedly this has become a bit of a Bale-love in, but let’s be honest he deserves his moment. And for those of you reading this and saying ‘Well he doesn’t track back’ or ‘He can’t head the ball’ you are wrong. This season Bale has won more aerial duals than Fabricio Coloccini (37 to 29) and he averages 2.3 clearances every game which is the same as Leighton Baines.