WEST HAM UNITED 2 vs TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 3
TOTTENHAM manager Andre Villas-Boas tipped Gareth Bale for Player of the Year after the Welshman’s two goals, including a breathtaking last-minute winner, hoisted Spurs up to third in the Premier League.
Bale’s brace bookended a gripping London derby that West Ham led with 15 minutes remaining, following Andy Carroll’s penalty and a Joe Cole strike, only for Tottenham’s talisman to conjure heroics again.
The 23-year-old has scored eight in six games, including six of Spurs’ seven goals in their last four league games. They have reaped 10 points from those fixtures, all of which would have ended in defeat without Bale’s intervention.
“He’s at a tremendous level this season and is really enjoying his football now he’s playing as a striker,” said Villas-Boas, who admitted Bale would get his vote for Player of the Year.
“Now it’s up to him and his motivation what he wants to achieve. He’s a contender for sure. Scoring these late goals makes him believe he can score another. His precision is tremendous.”
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce lamented a costly Matt Taylor miss but heaped praise on the irrepressible Bale.
“We’ve heard a lot about what Michu’s done for Swansea and what Robin van Persie’s done for Manchester United but at the moment no-one’s doing more for a club than Bale is for Tottenham,” said Allardyce, whose side slipped to 14th.
Bale silenced the majority of the 35,005 crowd, some of whom had been verbally targeting him seconds earlier, in the 12th minute by steering a low diagonal drive beyond goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
But Carroll thundered an equaliser from the spot on 26 minutes, after former Hammers captain Scott Parker was penalised for a two-footed tackle.
West Ham moved in front when Cole sprung the offside trap and, from a tight angle, scuffed across Hugo Lloris and into the far corner.
But Gylfi Sigurdsson bundled in Spurs’ leveller at the far post after Bale’s free-kick caused mayhem and, with seconds left, the Wales winger completed the comeback with a 30-yard drive into the top right corner.