Guest writer Leo Collis says the Welshman more than compensated for Spurs’ lack of a recognised front-man against Newcastle.
Tottenham looked lost for a stretch of the game against Newcastle at White Hart Lane this afternoon.
Spurs’ lack of a striker saw the side without a potent threat up-top for the majority and their play was limited to a number of scrappy midfield battles.
The Magpies didn’t show much of a threat either, with Papiss Cisse continuing to display the kind of form which has seen him looking like a shadow of his former self. However, for quite some time it was Newcastle who seemed the most likely to take the three points.
When you have Gareth Bale on your side though, you can always be relatively confident of stealing a win.
As Spurs are light on strikers, it was Clint Dempsey who played in the false nine position, with Jermain Defoe out with an ankle injury and Emmanuel Adebayor on the bench following African Cup of Nations duty.
The tactic didn’t really work, however, with Tottenham failing to utilise the American.
When Newcastle equalised after Bale’s opener, the Welshman was relatively quiet for the rest of the first half and the opening thirty minutes of the second.
With a little over ten minutes of the 90 to go, he burst into life.
Pinching the ball on the half way line and steaming towards Tim Krul, the Welshman took the ball wide of the goal and managed to squeeze a left-foot strike underneath the keeper to hand the hosts a precious lead.
Cue the Gareth Bale show.
Bale displayed no signs of exhaustion from his mid-week international appearance, or from any sleepless nights he may have encountered with a new-born in the house, as he tore apart the Newcastle defence.
The midfielder put in a performance worthy of an encore and could have (and perhaps should have) been taking home the match ball.
Tottenham are no doubt in need of a new striker and Andres Villas Boas will be disappointed that he missed out on January target Leandro Damiao.
However, goals are surely to follow when you have Gareth Bale at your disposal.
The north London outfit can’t rely on Bale forever and AVB might find it difficult to keep him at the club beyond this summer.
With Champions League qualification the aspiration for Spurs this season, they might want to wrap the Welsh international in cotton wool and bubble wrap.
Without him, Spurs will look a little toothless.