Every game counts in the Premier League run-in and with European places and relegation still very much in the balance, having a sure-fire scorer matters more than ever. While Liverpool and Manchester United were able to manage without their top marksmen firing this weekend, its hard to imagine where Tottenham Hotspur would be without Gareth Bale.
Once more, Bale made the decisive contribution with a stunning goal and assist in Andre Villas-Boas’ team’s 2-1 win against Swansea City.
Those three points put Spurs back into the driving seat for the Champions League places as they leapfrogged Chelsea and moved on to 57 points in third place.
Bale has been directly responsible for a large chunk of those points with his 17 goals and seven assists in the league this campaign and his latest strike sees his odds of individual glory in the top scorer market cut to 14/1.
The Welsh wizard will need to continue his new scoring streak with Spurs facing tough upcoming fixtures against Everton and Chelsea, as they continue their fight to return to Europe’s top competition.
Liverpool were able to survive a rare blank from their own star striker, Suarez, to pick up a 2-1 win of their own against Aston Villa.
But with potentially tricking-looking games against Newcastle and Chelsea on the horizon, Brendan Rodgers will need his 22-goal talisman back on the form that sees the Uruguayan as 11/25 Golden Boot favourite.
By contrast, Manchester United’s 15-point lead should see them reclaim the Premier League title regardless of whether Robin van Persie returns to form or not.
Though he did get three goals for Holland over the international break, Van Persie’s continued goal drought for United must now be a worry.
With his apparent winning strike in the 1-0 victory against Sunderland ultimately credited as a Titus Bramble own goal and another blank in today’s FA Cup defeat at Chelsea, RVP has now gone nine club games without getting on the scoresheet.
That barren run has seen Van Persie’s top scorer odds lengthened to 2/1 and allowed Bale to move within two of his 19-goal total as the Golden Boot race looks to be headed for an exciting climax.