Goal-by-Goal Retrospective of Gareth Bale's 2012-13 Tottenham Season
With Tottenham's season now over, the focus around the club has shifted to the transfer dealings of Gareth Bale.
As Spurs have once again narrowly missed out on the Champions League, the question is whether the superstar Welsh winger will stick around at White Hart Lane or whether he might venture off in search of greener pastures.
While all of the initial signs point to Bale staying at Tottenham, one cannot fault the legitimacy of the question.
After all, the Welsh superstar has established himself as one of the finest players in the world.
At just 23 years of age, Bale won his second PFA Player of the Year award this season after carrying Spurs through their final stretch of matches.
Given his incredible talent, it is hard to fault Bale should he decide to go in search of the highest level of competition.
Further, with clubs lining up ludicrous sums of money for the Welshman, the decision to leave could be out of his hands.
Hence, it makes sense for Tottenham supporters to be slightly reserved about Bale's future, even if optimistic.
Still, this should not stop one from celebrating the incredible season that the winger had in 2012-13.
Let's relive the glory of Gareth Bale's season through every fantastic goal he netted.
Premier League: Reading vs. Tottenham, September 16
Goal at 5:18
After going scoreless through Spurs' first three Premier League matches of the season, Gareth Bale finally got off the mark against Reading.
With 70 minutes gone at the Madejski Stadium, Tottenham held a 1-0 lead on Reading and were in firm control of the contest.
Full-back Kyle Walker made a nice run to the by-line and sent a nice ball over to Bale, who was able to scoop it into the side netting with his right foot.
In the end, the goal proved to be the winner.
An atypical goal for the Welshman's weaker foot, but an important one to give Bale his first goal and Spurs their first win.
Premier League: Manchester United vs. Tottenham, September 29
Bale's second goal of the season came in the first half of Tottenham's match with Manchester United back in September.
The Welshman was able to exploit United's injury-ridden central defense, running past everyone and slotting the ball past Anders Lindegaard to give Spurs a 2-0 lead.
The goal proved huge for Tottenham as they picked up their first victory at Old Trafford since 1989.
Premier League: Southampton vs. Tottenham, October 28
With just 15 minutes gone at St. Mary's, Tom Huddlestone lofted a ball toward the Welshman on the edge of the box.
Bale attacked the ball with a header and was able to curl it past the keeper and into the bottom corner.
It was a stunning opener, and it inspired Spurs to take that match 2-1.
League Cup: Norwich vs. Tottenham, October 31
Bale's first goal that came in a losing effort came against Norwich in the Football League Cup on Halloween.
The Welshman opened the scoring with this one, cutting in on his right foot and steering the ball into goalkeeper Mark Bunn's bottom-right corner.
Unfortunately, some late drama saw Spurs fall 2-1 and crash out of the cup.
Even more surprising, though, is the fact that this this list is now through October and Bale has yet to score a goal with his lethal left foot.
Premier League: Arsenal vs. Tottenham, November 17
Goal at 5:19
Bale's next goal came in Tottenham's worst result of the year as they fell 5-2 against arch rivals Arsenal.
Spurs had taken the lead early in the match before a bone-headed tackle by Emmanuel Adebayor dispirited the side and sent them into a tail-spin.
With the score 4-1, Bale attempted to salvage some pride for Tottenham in this north London derby, scoring his fifth away goal of the season with another low strike with his right foot.
There wasn't much good to take from this one for Spurs, but this goal was a tiny consolation.
Premier League: Tottenham vs. West Ham, November 25
Goal at 0:31
Gareth Bale's first goal at White Hart Lane of the season came in this one.
After Clint Dempsey made a nice run at the defense and chipped the ball into the box, Bale ran onto it.
Despite seeming to get the ball stuck under his feet, the winger was able to dig it out with his left foot, sending it in off the post.
That made it 2-0 Spurs as the north Londoners went on to win 3-1.
Premier League: Tottenham vs. Liverpool, November 28
Just three days after his goal at West Ham, Bale reached another seasonal milestone against Liverpool with his first free-kick goal.
With Spurs already leading 1-0 just 15 minutes into the match, Bale stepped up to a free-kick and sent Reds keeper Pepe Reina in completely the wrong direction.
By full-time, the goal proved vital in Spurs' 2-1 victory.
Premier League: Tottenham vs. Liverpool, November 28 (OG)
After scoring that fantastic free-kick goal against Liverpool, Bale was able to get on the scoreline again in that match.
Unfortunately, he was on the wrong end, scoring one of the more comical own goals in recent memory.
When Liverpool swung in a threatening corner, the ball ended up careening toward the net. Luckily for Spurs, though, Aaron Lennon sat in perfect position on the line and swung his boot to clear.
Alas, Lennon did not see Bale mere inches from him and, instead of clearing it, sent the ball off the Welshman's face and back into the net.
Given that Tottenham still went on to win 2-1, everyone can now get a good laugh from this one.
Premier League: Aston Villa vs. Tottenham, December 26 (Hat-Trick)
Goals at 2:19, 2:35, 3:40
Gareth Bale was able to get on the scoresheet multiple times once more against Aston Villa.
This time, though, those multiple goals each went into the right goal.
It was a hat-trick of beautiful goals for Bale, in fact, as the Welshman poured it on against Villa to give Spurs a 4-0 victory.
The three goals may have been a product of poor play from the Villans, who were in the midst of an abysmal three-match stretch in which they lost by a combined 15-0, but they were key in inspiring Gareth Bale into the sublime form he was about to reach.
FA Cup: Tottenham vs. Coventry City, January 5
Gareth Bale's only goal in the FA Cup was a beauty against Coventry City.
With a shot deflected and the keeper left out of position, the ball looped toward the by-line.
Incredibly, Bale was able to slide onto the end of it and volley it into the net from an extremely tight angle.
Spurs went on to win this tie 3-0.
Premier League: Norwich City vs. Tottenham, January 30
In late January, Gareth Bale kicked off an incredible run of form at Norwich with one of the best goals of the season.
With Tottenham trailing late in the match, Bale picked up the ball at the edge of the center circle on Spurs' side of the field.
Sprinting with the ball, the Welshman was able to run past a few defenders, through a mistimed tackle and into the box.
With no one able to keep up, Bale put the ball onto his left foot and sent the ball straight past a helpless Mark Bunn and into the side netting.
The match would end 1-1, with Bale's goal securing a point from the match
Premier League: West Brom vs. Tottenham, February 3
Less than a week after his amazing goal against Norwich, Bale again proved the difference for Tottenham.
After a well-matched first half with West Brom, Spurs were gifted the upper hand from a Goran Popov red card for a despicable spitting incident.
Still, Bale was the only one to find a way to unlock the defense, scoring on a great left-footed shot from outside the box.
From there, it was academic for Spurs as they cruised to a 1-0 victory.
Premier League: Tottenham vs. Newcastle, February 9 (2 Goals)
Goals at 0:30 and 1:00
For the third consecutive Premier League match, Gareth Bale proved the driving force for Tottenham.
This time, it was a double from Bale that sent Spurs to a 2-1 victory over Newcastle.
The Welshman's first goal was a fine free-kick, as he squeezed it through the wall and just in past the post.
Despite Newcastle equalizing before half-time, Bale was able to get the late winner through a won challenge, a long run and then a cool finish.
Europa League: Tottenham vs. Lyon, February 15 (2 Goals)
In the first leg of Tottenham's Europa League round of 32 tie with Lyon, Gareth Bale came up huge at White Hart Lane once more.
Two ridiculous free-kick goals, including one in stoppage time, sent Spurs to a 2-1 victory that set them up for progression to the next round.
Premier League: West Ham vs. Tottenham, February 25 (1st Goal)
In Tottenham's next Premier League match, Bale was able to open the scoring at London rivals West Ham early in the first half.
The goal was almost gifted to him after a poor pass put him in a dangerous position.
Still, Bale did quite well to get past a defender and slot the ball into the far post.
Despite the goal, though, Tottenham would give up the lead and go into the final few moments trailing.
Premier League: West Ham vs. Tottenham, February 25 (2nd Goal)
Bale's second goal of the match against West Ham was probably his best of the season.
After giving his side the lead through his first, Spurs gave up their lead and went behind shortly after half-time.
When Gylfi Sigurdsson equalized in the 76th minute, though, the momentum swung back into Tottenham's favor.
In the dying moments of the match, Bale raced into West Ham's final third and went down to a foul.
After the referee played advantage because the ball had sprayed to Sigurdsson, though, Bale got back up and found some space in the center.
The Welshman then called for the ball and was given it by substitute midfielder Tom Carroll.
From there, Bale got the ball onto his left foot and unleashed a perfect shot that looped into the top corner.
Sublime does not quite capture this one.
Premier League: Tottenham vs. Arsenal, March 3
In the next Premier league encounter for Tottenham, Bale helped his club exact revenge on rival Arsenal in the second north London derby of the season.
Bale opened the scoring with a perfectly timed run that allowed Aaron Lennon's pass to carve open the defense.
With a cool head, Bale was able to slot past Wojciech Szczesny and send Spurs on their way to a 2-1 victory.
Europa League: Tottenham vs. Inter Milan, March 7
Two-and-a-half years on from the Champions League matches in which he made his name, Gareth Bale put in another fine performance against Inter Milan.
Bale opened the scoring within the first 10 minutes, heading the ball well past Samir Handanovic and into the far corner.
The goal lifted Spurs to an impressive 3-0 victory in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie with Inter.
However, Bale was also cautioned in the match for diving, which caused him to miss the second leg and almost cost Tottenham the tie.
Premier League: Swansea vs. Tottenham, March 30
Bale's next goal came against Swansea City in late March, but the credit can't go just to him on this one.
The chance was created by an fine piece of skill from Jan Vertonghen. The defender wound up like he was about to unleash a cannon but then gently laid the ball into Bale's feet right on the edge of the box.
From there, Bale did incredibly well, taking a tiny touch before dispatching the ball into the corner.
Still, some plaudits must go to Vertonghen for this one.
Premier League: Tottenham vs. Manchester City, April 21
Goal at 0:56
With 15 minutes remaining in the match, things didn't look too good for Tottenham against Manchester City.
Spurs trailed 1-0 at home and looked set to lose the contest on a few moments of poor defending.
Three goals in seven minutes, though, turned that result around and sent shock waves through the Premier League.
Bale was able to contribute to this flurry, scoring the final of the three to put the match away.
The goal arose from a fine through ball from Tom Huddlestone.
When Bale ran onto it, he was able to elude a few defenders, get right in on Joe Hart and chip the City keeper to all but seal the points for Tottenham and send White Hart Lane into a frenzy.
Premier League: Wigan vs. Tottenham, April 27
Bale's strangest goal of the season no doubt came against Wigan in Tottenham's final run-in of the season.
Less than 10 minutes into the match, Wigan's defense had a moment of madness and played themselves into trouble.
After a few dangerous back-passes to the keeper, Bale recognized a pattern and ran in on the keeper, Joel Robles.
Robles no doubt panicked at the sight of Spurs' danger man, so he went for an ill-advised clearance.
Unfortunately for him, his booted ball got no further than Bale's outstretched boot, which deflected straight backwards and into the Wigan net.
The goal looked very little like something one would see on a football pitch, but rather something one might expect from Danny Larusso.
Premier League: Tottenham vs. Southampton, May 4
Gareth Bale was again able to get a goal against his former club.
This one was very important for Tottenham and their pursuit of Champions League football, keeping them in the race for the top four.
With the clock ticking down on a scoreless contest, Southampton looked the better side at White Hart Lane as Spurs had yet to register a shot on target.
However, 86 minutes in, Bale was able to cut in from the right and onto his left foot and unleash a a laser into the bottom corner.
One shot on target, one goal, one-nil.
Premier League: Tottenham vs. Sunderland, May 19
Gareth Bale's final goal of the season came on what was close to the final kick of Tottenham's season.
With the match scoreless between Spurs and Sunderland and seconds from full-time, Bale found a way to cut in onto his left and fire a rocket into the top corner of the net.
However, the goal was not quite enough to power Tottenham to the Champions League, as Arsenal defeated Newcastle to wrap up an incredible run of 26 points from their final 10 matches to wrap up the top four.
Despite that, though, it does not take away from this wondrous goal, as Bale left one final mark on the 2012-13 season.
Here's looking forward to 26 more goals in 2013-14.