Wow. Just like Gary Neville last night, I am struggling to put into words how good THAT last-minute winner from Gareth Bale was, a strike that gave Tottenham Hotspur a vital victory over West Ham United and one that has seen Spurs dramatically cut for a top-four finish after they climbed above Chelsea and into third place in the Premier League.
A hugely entertaining 3-2 win for Tottenham at Upton park last night was a fitting tribute to the late, great Bobby Moore, whose life was celebrated before the match on the 20th anniversary of his death.
But even if England’s World Cup-winning captain may not have liked the result, he would surely be marvelling at Bale’s majestic performanc as much as the rest of us.
After opening the scoring with a fine low drive from the edge of the box, Bale finished it as the clock struck 90 minutes with an incredible 30-yard hit that left Andre Villas-Boas and the Spurs bench in raptures.
It had looked like goals from Andy Carroll, from the penalty spot, and Joe Cole were going to give West Ham the victory, before Gylfi Sigurdsson’s first goal for Spurs levelled matters with 15 minutes to play.
Cue Bale’s intervention and the points were heading back to White Hart Lane.
The goals were Bale’s 14th and 15th Premier League strikes of the season, taking his recent tally to nine in his last seven games for club and country, with nearly all of those goals being screamers of the highest quality.
And let’s be honest here: there cannot be a better player in Britain at the moment.
None of those goals were as good as his winner last night, though the Welsh wonder’s latest act of genius has more importance than the personal platitudes that are rightfully coming his way.
The win put Tottenham into third place, two points above Chelsea and four above north London rivals Arsenal, who Spurs face next, as the race for the Champions League places hots up with 11 games to go.
Tottenham are now priced up at 1/2 with bwin, from a pre-match 7/10, to finish in the top four after the win at West Ham, lengthening Chelsea from 1/5 to 1/4 and pushing Arsenal out slightly to 9/10.
AVB’s side are now 53/100 to qualify for the group stages of the 2013/14 Champions League and 27/20 to fail to do so.
Chelsea are quoted 3/10 to qualify and 12/5 not to, while Arsenal are odds-against to be playing in the group stages at 21/20, and 3/4 to fail to make the cut.
As for Bale, he is now 14/1 to finish top scorer in the Premier League. He is four goals behind 19-goal, 3/4 favourite Robin van Persie of Manchester United, and three goals behind Liverpool’s Luis Suarez (2/1).