Gareth Bale stole the spotlight yet again as the Tottenham star inspired his side to a crucial 2-1 win over Arsenal that piled on the misery for its north London rival on Sunday.
Bale has been in sublime form of late and the Wales winger produced a typically clinical finish to break the deadlock in the first half before Aaron Lennon doubled Tottenham’s lead just moments later.
Per Mertesacker’s goal early in the second half set the stage for a tense finish, but Andre Villas-Boas’s team, now unbeaten in its last 12 league games, held on to move above Chelsea into third place in the Premier League and within two points of second-placed Manchester City.
Spurs have had eight managers since they last finished above Arsenal in 1995, but Villas-Boas could be the one to end that barren stretch as his side sits seven points clear of fifth placed Arsenal, which faces a major struggle just to qualify for the Champions League.
Arsenal’s first defeat in six league games left it five points behind Chelsea in the race for a top-four finish. Bale had few chances to flourish while Spurs struggled to find their rhythm in the opening 30 minutes and his only contribution of note was to dodge a banana thrown from the section filled with Arsenal fans.
But, Bale is far too dynamic a talent to be subdued for long and in the 36th minute he demonstrated the cool head and lethal finishing that sets him apart from the rest of the Premier League at present.
Timing his run perfectly to meet Gylfi Sigurdsson’s astute pass, Bale burst into the penalty area before flicking a fine finish past Wojciech Szczesny for his 24th goal of the season for club and country and his 10th in his last eight games.
The results: Tottenham 2 (Bale 37, Lennon 39) bt Arsenal 1 (Mertesacker 51).
On Saturday: Wigan 0 lost to Liverpool 4 (Downing 2, Suarez 18, 34, 49). — AFP