Tag Archives: Gareth Bale

Ryan Mason leads charge for trophy and top four with win in first game as Spurs boss

Tottenham prepared themselves for the Carabao Cup final with a 2-1 win over Southampton in Ryan Mason’s first game as caretaker manager.

The Saints took the lead in the first half when Danny Ings headed in from a corner, but Spurs fought back in the second half in a much improved performance. Gareth Bale scored a wonderful curling effort from a tight angle to equalise, before Heung-Min Son scored a late penalty to seal all three points.

The win moved the north London side to within just two points of the top four, having played a game more and with five games remaining in their season.

It was a mixed performance from Tottenham, who for the first time this season failed to register a single shot on target in the first half.

Their passing was sloppy and Southampton threatened them several times, with Hugo Lloris making a huge double save early on in the game. It was clear they missed their star man Harry Kane on the pitch but Mason made some slight positional changes at half-time too help get his side higher up the pitch and it worked a treat.

Having started with Giovani Lo Celso in the 10 and with Tanguy Ndombele in the double pivot alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, he opted to move Ndombele higher to essentially have two options between the lines and Lucas Moura dropped deeper to almost create a diamond. Bale and Son made their inverted runs like centre-forwards and Southampton couldn’t cope with the way Spurs were able to move the ball around.

It was the first time that Spurs have come from behind to win a game they were losing at half-time this season and there seemed to be a togetherness at the end of the game between the players that we haven’t seen in a while.

While Kane is described as 50/50 as being available for Sunday’s cup final, the likelihood that he sits out is low. With that said it means Lucas Moura is likely to be the man to step out of the lineup, while Moussa Sissoko or Dele Alli could come in for Lo Celso too to beef the midfield up a bit.

With just a handful of games left plus the cup final, Mason is unlikely to be able to earn himself the role of manager on a permanent basis. But he has kept his side in with a chance of the top four should teams around them continue to drop points randomly, while also affording himself the chance to win the club a trophy for the first time in 13 years.

Tactically he seems astute with the changes he made in this game and Bale was quick to comment on the “great team talk” at half-time that he gave them to prep them up and improve them.

Obviously it’s just one game and I don’t think he ripped up any trees to beat a team who have now lost 12 of their last 15 games in the Premier League, but it’s a start to get them back to winning ways after just two wins in nine prior to the game.

The cup final now is a huge moment for the club, but a pressureless moment largely because of the decision made by Daniel Levy to sack Jose Mourinho prior to it. Nobody now expects Spurs to even challenge Manchester City on the pitch, but if they show up and perform well they have every chance of causing the upset.

Europa League last 16 predictions – Dinamo Zagreb vs Tottenham

Jose Mourinho’s love-in with the Europa League continues as Tottenham Hotspur take on Dinamo Zagreb in the last 16 of the tournament.

The north London side managed four wins and a draw from their six group games to finish top of the group, before putting eight goals past Wolfsberger AC over two legs in the round of 32 recently. They’ve been drawn with Dinamo Zagreb, the Croatian champions and current league leaders of their domestic division.

Zagreb came through a group containing Wolfsberger AC, Feyenoord and CSKA Moscow as group winners, having conceded just one goal over all six games. They then despatched of Krasnodar over two legs, winning 3-2 away and 1-0 at home to claim a comfortable aggregate win and progression to the next round.

Spurs have recently been able to find a new, rich vein of form that has seen them recapture their early season successes. The resurgence of Gareth Bale and Dele Alli in the starting lineup has helped ease the load on Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, while the club have found a good balance in midfield by dropping Tanguy Ndombele into a slightly deeper role.

Defensively they’re still conceding goals, although Matt Doherty is beginning to show signs of the form that convinced them to sign him from Wolves while Sergio Reguilon’s return to fitness has been a timely boost for the side too.

The attacking quality of the Spurs squad has seen them rightly labelled as favourites for the tie, but Zagreb will not be pushovers. They’ve conceded just 22 goals in the league from 23 games this season as well as only three in the Europa League so far from eight games.

They’ve won their last four games in a row while keeping a clean sheet and their run of eight wins in a row has seen them concede just twice, with both goals coming in just one game. You’d have to go back 16 games in Spurs’ calendar to see their last four clean sheets, which tells you all about the issues they’ve had defensively.

Despite that, it’s highly unlikely that Mourinho will allow his side to crash out over two legs against a team they should absolutely be beating.

He is likely to name a strong side, not mostly because his squad is so deep that any lineup he chooses to put out is without a doubt going to be strong enough to deal with the threat Zagreb pose.

On top of that, he is likely to prioritise the tournament ahead of the Premier League. Spurs currently sit in 7th place in the league, five points behind fourth having played a game less than current occupiers Chelsea. While that may not seem like a huge gap, Everton and West Ham still sit above them and have played the same amount of games.

Mourinho has previously prioritised the Europa League while at Manchester United and went on to win the tournament while finishing outside of the Champions League places. With Spurs desperate for a trophy and Mourinho desperate to be the one to give it to them, the prospect of a potential double with the Europa League and Carabao Cup could be too much for him to let slide.

Overall the squad is too strong to not predict that they’d progress into the next round. They have more quality on the pitch, a deeper squad and a better manager so it all points in their favour. Zagreb will need to have the perfect game twice in order to be able to get into the next round and the chances of that are just too slim.

PREDICTIONS

Dinamo Zagreb 1-3 Tottenham
Tottenham 2-0 Dinamo Zagreb
(Tottenham to progress 5-1 on aggregate)

Dele Alli and Gareth Bale helping Tottenham recapture early season form

Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham team are recapturing their early season form once again thanks in part to the two men who seemed outcasted as recently as January – Dele Alli and Gareth Bale.

Spurs made it three wins in a row against Fulham and four wins from their last five thanks to Dele forcing an own goal from Tosin Adarabioyo in the first half, in a game where the north Londoners looked dangerous throughout.

Harry Kane missed a big chance with a header, while Bale and Heung-Min Son seemed to strike up a good partnership from opposing flanks too with their out-to-in runs to threaten the Fulham defence.

It’s a sharp turn in fortunes for Mourinho’s side, who prior to this little run had lost five of their last six games to find themselves in mid-table with a mountain to climb in the race for the top four in the Premier League.

After the January transfer window came to an end, Dele was frustrated that he wasn’t given the opportunity to leave the club with PSG strongly rumoured to be interested in taking him across the waters as Mauricio Pochettino looked to bolster his new squad.

Mourinho claimed that he had a conversation with the midfielder about working his way back into the team and it seems to have worked a treat, with the 24-year-old getting a goal and two assists in the Europa League before making a substitute appearance against Burnley then earning his first start in the league since the opening day in this game.

Bale on the other hand had been given plenty of opportunities in the first half of the season but really struggled to make a mark on the squad following his move from Real Madrid.

He looked off the pace constantly, with a clear lack of speed in his game while his execution and work-rate wasn’t where it needs to be for a side looking to compete at the top end of the Premier League.

Since the end of the transfer window though, the Welsh winger has seemingly found himself once again and become a key man in the Spurs attack with four goals and three assists in his last five appearances in all competitions.

He’s started to find his passing range once again while he seems to have adjusted his style slightly to be able to make more of an impact despite his new physical capabilities.

As Spurs head into a weekend fixture against Crystal Palace before a Europa League tie with Dinamo Zagreb, Mourinho will be hopeful that the form of his two attackers can act as “new signings” to boost the squad for a strong finish to the end of the campaign ahead of next month’s Carabao Cup final.

My Perfect Footballer #6 – Omozay

We’ve been blessed over the last few generations of footballer to see some of the best of all time perform at their absolute peak.

Chelsea fan Omoze Edeki, otherwise known as Omozay on Twitter, has gathered all her football knowledge together without using any player more than once, she’s collated different attributes and built her perfect footballer.


Brain 
Mesut Ozil 

There are no words to even describe how intelligent Ozil is as a player. Throughout his career, whether that be at Real Madrid or Arsenal, the one thing Ozil was hailed for was his football IQ.

Heading Ability
John Terry 

One of, if not the, best players when it comes to being a threat aerially. The technique that he does which provides those bullet headers is just out of this world. It’s the quick jump and power that allows him to be so dangerous in the air as well as his positioning. Being the highest goalscoring defender in Chelsea’s history says it all.

Hands
Petr Cech 

Petr Cech from the Czech Republic, the man was a brick wall in his prime. Paramount to the success of Chelsea’s first two Premier League titles, that was just the start of his legacy as one of the best goalkeepers to touch world football.  

Tackling
Paolo Maldini  

At his very best there isn’t a defender that could accurately time his tackles like Maldini. His presence in defence was one of the many reasons why he is considered one of the greatest defenders of all time, even to the point of Milan retiring the number three shirt. 

Agility
Eden Hazard

Hazard has always been known to use his agility to swerve past oncoming defenders who have been tasked with stopping him in his tracks. The way he uses his body and low centre of gravity, coupled with his pace is always a nightmare for defenders. I will never get the West Ham goal at Stamford Bridge in the 18/19 season. What a player.

Passing
Andres Iniesta 

A legend and one of the best midfielders of all time. It was very hard to choose this as I had two other options but Iniesta is my choice. The range of passes this man possessed was not normal. Whether it was to put a player through towards goal, to slice open a defence, or to set the tempo & hold possession – he had it all.

First Touch
Ronaldinho 

I like to refer to Ronaldinho as the master of all trades. His skill set was out of this world and his first touch is by far the best of any player I’ve watched. For me, he is the first touch king.

Speed
Gareth Bale 

Now this is a bit of a weird one because there are a lot of players who could have been chosen. But whenever someone mentions players who used their pace as one of their strengths, the first person that comes to mind is Gareth Bale. At his peak he was considered one of the if not the fastest player in world and was one of the big reasons why he developed into a world class footballer.

Dribbling
Lionel Messi  

The real GOAT. Messi is known for many things and will go down as the greatest player to ever play the game, but one aspect of his game that always amazes me is his dribbling. The ball is like a magnet to his feet, nothing can repel it away not even the greatest defenders. One of my earliest memories of Messi was his goal against Getafe when he was 19-years-old – receiving the ball from the half way line and going past players as if they weren’t there.

Skills
Neymar  

A joy to watch, Neymar is one of the most skilful players to ever grace the game and is the true definition of made in Brazil. To a certain degree I can understand why football players get frustrated with him, if I was being disgraced so easily with the skill set that Neymar possesses then I too would lose my head. They don’t make ‘em like him anymore. 

Crossing
David Beckham  

There’s a reason why there is a movie called ‘Bend it like Beckham’. Nobody can ever forget the one attribute that Beckham had over any footballer during and even after his years as a footballer. His precision to find anyone, anywhere at any time on the pitch with a whipped or driven pass was second to none.  

Right Foot
Cristiano Ronaldo 

It was only right that I chose Ronaldo. Can’t think of any other right footed player that I adore more than him. He is one of the greatest players ever. That right peg of his has always been a problem and has seen him become the highest goalscorer in the history of the game. 

Left Foot
Roberto Carlos 

One of my earliest football memories as a child and being amazed by what I saw was seeing Roberto Carlos’ fre-kick against France in 1997. I didn’t actually watch the match but three years later it came up on my television and I could not believe how it was possible for a human to shoot at goal from that distance coupled with that power. He is one of the greatest full-backs of all time and helped revolutionise the role, paving the way for the likes of Andrew Robertson and Alphonso Davies today.


You can follow Omoze on Twitter:
@Omointhislife

Gareth Bale is finished at the top level

It’s with a heavy heart that I have to write this, because at one point Gareth Bale was one of the most exciting players in Europe to watch.

His incredible speed, strength, technique and that wand of a left foot made Bale and Tottenham must-see when the Welshman was entering his peak back in 2012.

As Bale transitioned from hopeless left-back to Spurs’ great hope between 2011 and 2013, he became one of the hottest prospects in the game.

After tearing up the Premier League and securing a world record £85m move to Real Madrid, Bale was expected to take off into superstardom and replace the great Cristiano Ronaldo as he approached his 30’s. Instead, Ronaldo has continued to shine as he hits 36 years old while Bale is now well and truly finished.

Many believed that after two years of sitting around getting minuscule and unimportant minutes at Real Madrid, that a fresh environment and return “home” is all that he needed to get back to his flying best at 31 years old.

But they couldn’t have been more wrong.

Since his return, Bale has scored just one Premier League goal and is now being targeted for criticism from boss Jose Mourinho. This was especially obvious following the 1-0 defeat to Brighton on Sunday night, where Bale started but was taken off after an hour with the team still chasing a goal.

While the Welsh wizard hasn’t been a regular in the starting lineup, Mourinho has previously claimed that he needs to earn those minutes. With Harry Kane currently out injured, there was no better chance for him to make an impression.

Instead Bale played it safe constantly, looks shy when it comes to pulling the trigger and is lacking the zest and intensity to his game that once made him so feared.

His constant muscle injuries have finally caught up with him. His calves and hamstrings are volatile, he can’t sprint past people like he was once able to. Technically he is good enough to adapt his game to be able to not rely on those physical attributes though. He can pick a pass, he can cross a ball, he can still dribble out of tight spaces – he just chooses not to.

When you watch him, he looks disinterested. His love and hunger for the game has gone. He seems content to live off his legacy and reputation, rather than enhancing it with performances now.

His loan is unlikely to turned permanent in the summer and Real Madrid are definitely not going to renew his contract, which means he will have a year left on his deal. A move to the MLS beckons, potentially with David Beckham’s Inter Miami FC, where Bale can capitalise on his stardom and still be one of the best players in his team.

As for now, Bale is finished at the top level – no doubts about it.

Gareth Bale: Spurs Deal Makes The Most Sense For Club and Player

After years of links away from Real Madrid, Gareth Bale is finally set to leave and return to Tottenham Hotspur.

Following a public declaration on Sky Sports News during his most recent international break that he wants to leave, it seems Bale will now get his wish as the two clubs move closer to a loan deal.

After originally being linked with a move to Manchester United as an alternative in the club’s pursuit of Jadon Sancho, it emerged that Tottenham have moved ahead of them in the race and his agent has confirmed that “Gareth is closer to leaving Madrid now than at any time in the last seven years.”

I have already explained why the move to United was a bad one for the club and why the fan’s weren’t interested in him at Old Trafford anymore after years of links. But the move to Spurs does make sense.

Firstly, he is a Tottenham icon. He is arguably the best player they’ve had during the Premier League era and many fans feel robbed that he spent his best years elsewhere. He is 31 now and has had several injuries but that doesn’t take away from the romance of the relationship between fans and player.

Secondly, they’re desperate for quality depth to help Harry Kane. At Manchester United, they need someone to slot into the starting line-up and bring proven quality and reliability to the side. Tottenham need another star to take the pressure off Harry Kane but also someone who can play across the front-line and help the likes of Heung-Min Son, Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn back him up.

There is more than enough depth in the attack for Bale not to be expected to play every game, but the expectation is that he would still be first-choice whether it be as the right-winger or in a more central position behind the striker. There’s also the less pressure on Bale to be the man with their expectations no different from when he left seven years ago.

A loan deal where Spurs pay a portion of Bale’s wages work for Spurs. If the deal turns out well, they have pulling power to get him permanently next summer when he’ll have just one year left on his contract. If it doesn’t work, he goes back to Madrid in 12 months and isn’t there problem anymore.

It’s a match made in North London and it looks like we will be welcoming Gareth Bale back to the Premier League sooner rather than later.

The Reason Manchester United Fans Don’t Want Gareth Bale

For as long as I can remember, Manchester United have been linked with the transfer of Gareth Bale to Old Trafford.

Before his world record move to Real Madrid, it was revealed that Manchester United reportedly offered to gazump the Spanish side to get a deal done but Bale was intent on going to Madrid. Every year since, with fans never really accepting Bale at the Bernabeu, the media have constantly looked at ways that a deal could eventually be done.

Bale had always remained non-committal about a departure, claiming he was happy in Madrid and it was a dream come true. That changed when Zinedine Zidane came in and dropped him from the squad, with Bale publicly claiming he wanted to leave following the UEFA Champions League final win over Liverpool where he scored two goals.

Instead, both Cristiano Ronaldo and Zidane left the club and Bale was now in a position to be the man in Spain. However it was Karim Benzema who was given the role of talisman and Madrid fell apart, hiring and firing two different managers during that campaign before luring Zidane back to the club.

Since Zidane returned, Bale had a move to China cancelled as he was boarding a plane because owner Florentino Perez refused to let him go for free. Bale then saw himself way down the pecking order for the season, to the point where he asked not to travel for a Champions League last-16 tie against Man City because he knew he wouldn’t be playing.

After a string of injuries, unhappy seasons and clashes with fans Gareth Bale has decided his time is up. Recently with Wales he did an interview with Sky Sports where he claimed the reason he hasn’t left the club yet is simply because the club wouldn’t let him go.

Reports are now suggesting though that he is once again an option for Manchester United should the Red Devils be unable to secure a deal for Jadon Sancho. Madrid are reportedly willing to let Bale leave on loan or permanently and are even willing to part-pay his wages for the remainder of his Madrid contract to get him out of the door. Manchester United fans are not interested though.

The main reason is simple – he isn’t Jadon Sancho. Having been linked to the Dortmund winger for over a year a deal seems relatively easy to do. While a very expensive deal, Dortmund have been open with their price tag and are willing to do business if their asking price is met. Manchester United however have opted to play hard-ball over the figure and dragged it out into a saga. With just three weeks remaining of the window, the two clubs are no closer to an agreement.

Another reason is that Bale is now 31 years old and physically nowhere near what he once was. At his best, he was a physical specimen who was able to use pace and power to dominate opponents all over the pitch with his wand of a left foot making him lethal. Nowadays, Bale picks up muscular injuries like old people pick up newspapers and his reliance on those physical traits in his style of play mean it is unlikely the injuries just disappear.

Thirdly, Alexis Sanchez. After the saga that happened with the Chilean before and after his transfer it’s no wonder that the fans are wary of signing a big name player with big wages who relies on physical attributes and is of a certain age. The development of Mason Greenwood has been a huge boost recently so to bring in Bale as a stop-gap seems counter-productive. The signing of a top winger would be welcomed as competition and depth but with Bale there would absolutely be a feeling that he almost has to play games.

A loan deal may be slightly more accepted, with the idea that the club would then go back in for Sancho next year. The likelihood though is Sancho’s price won’t change in the next 12 months and all that does is invite competition for his signature. If he is really the No.1 target, the club should pay the fee and get him in. If he’s a success like the club clearly expect him to be, he will be worth every penny. If he flops, then he’s going to flop regardless of the fee. The outlay may be less but the pressure and expectancy won’t be and it would still be a significant hole in the pockets.

The reality of the situation is the club would be much better off with Jadon Sancho in the team and Gareth Bale’s potential arrival has a stench of desperation and panic about it.

Bale’s time to join Manchester United passed several years ago, it’s time to move on to new targets and secure them rather than letting history repeat itself and watching the one you want go elsewhere.

Can Anyone Save Gareth Bale From Limbo?

When someone leaves Real Madrid it’s normally because it’s never quite worked out for them or because they’re now at an age where they can’t compete at the top level anymore. Neither of these are entirely true for Gareth Bale.

The Welsh winger joined the club in 2013 and has lifted the Champions League four times, La Liga twice, one Copa Del Rey, three FIFA World Club Cups and two UEFA Super Cups. He has scored 105 goals in 251 games including three Champions League final goals, a Copa Del Rey winning goal and a goal in a Club World Cup Final.

Despite all that though, there have been talks about Bale leaving the Bernabeu for longer than he was ever settled at the club if reports are to be believed.

Constantly linked with a return to the Premier League with Manchester United, Bale has always previously denied wanting to leave the club and always made it clear he was happy to stay in the Spanish capital. That was until last summer, when managed Zinedine Zidane made it clear publicly that he didn’t consider his as part of the squad anymore.

Real Madrid v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Final : News Photo

Bale was set to go to China, with a deal worth a reported £1m per-week agreed with Madrid releasing him without a transfer fee. As Bale prepared to fly over to China to put pen to paper though, Real Madrid owner Florentino Perez pulled the plug on the deal following Marco Asensio’s injury – claiming he believed the club should be getting a fee. Nobody else came in for him and Bale ended up staying.

As Madrid went on to lift La Liga once again under Zidane, Bale featured in just 20 games across all competitions for the club scoring twice and assisting twice. Bale featured for just 100 minutes after the lockdown and now looks certain to leave in the summer with the club strapped for cash following the Covid-19 pandemic.

But where could he possibly go? His wages are crazy high and plenty of clubs that were previously interested have moved on now.

Manchester United’s prime target is Jadon Sancho and since Ole Gunnar Solskjær took over, the club have primarily targeted younger players with potential. Tottenham have previously been linked too but have openly spoken about their issues with money during this summer window, while options abroad are lower than ever.

His best and most likely shout, is the MLS. The more laid back lifestyle in America is something that will greatly suit him and his relaxed persona. The clubs have a general salary cap but are allowed marquee players and he would arguably be the most marquee of them all. He’d still need to take a pay cut but it’s much more likely now than previously considering his injury history and the fact his contract ends next summer.

During an April 2020 podcast appearance he expressed an interest in joining the MLS eventually and that time is surely now.

With everything going on in the world, especially in the USA right now, its unknown how possible a deal will be to do. But one thing that is certain is that his time at the Bernabeu is over and everyone is likely to be happy about it.