Where would Tottenham be without Gareth Bale this season?
In the top four? No. In the top eight? Maybe. For my money, there hasn't been a more valuable player in the Premier League this season.
Sure, Robin van Persie fans might have something to say about that, but Manchester United would still be gunning for an EPL title without him. Juan Mata fans might make a strong case, but with Oscar and Eden Hazard available, Chelsea could survive Mata's absence.
But Tottenham would be in major trouble without Bale, who is playing at such a high level in recent weeks you can practically hear Real Madrid supporters giggling at the possibility of landing the player this summer.
He has 17 goals and six assists in 31 appearances in all competitions this season. In his last four games—three in the Premier League and one Europa Cup tilt—he's scored six goals for Spurs. Oh, and in those four games, guess how many goals Tottenham has scored?
Yup, you guessed it: they've scored six goals. Bale has scored every goal for the team in the past four games. That's three wins and a draw—and seven much-needed points in Premier League play, thank you very much—all due to Bale's brilliance.
In total, he has 10 goals in his last 10 games. The man is on fire.
It's not just that he's scoring goals of late, however. As Daniel Taylor of The Guardian writes, it's how he's scoring those goals that is so special:
The two goals he scored against Lyon were the acts of someone who devises his own rules when it comes to striking the ball. The one against West Brom a couple of weeks ago was an exercise in raw power. At Norwich the lacerating sprint and finish from inside his own half was a combination of supreme balance and speed. That ability to score from any angle or distance takes extreme talent. They are a great player's goals.
This video should give you a pretty good idea of the form Bale has shown this year.
Brilliant. Just brilliant.
Bale is not Cristiano Ronaldo, not even close, but stylistically he's cut from a similar cloth. He has top-notch pace, excellent control on the ball and possesses a dangerous shot from range. As you've seen, he's also capable of pure magic off set pieces.
And when Tottenham runs its attack through him out wide, the team is much more difficult to deal with.
He'll never be the same type of goalscorer or impact player that Ronaldo is—were it not for Messi, Ronaldo would go down as the greatest player his generation had to offer, after all—but Bale is the diet version.
And at just 23 years of age, the best is yet to come.
If you told me to build the ultimate Premier League team, my first choice this season would be Bale. Players like van Persie, Mata, Theo Walcott, Michu and Luis Suarez have all been fantastic this year, but nobody has been more valuable to his team than Bale.
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