x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Bale deserves player of the year award after match-winning performance against West Ham, says Villas-Boas

The Welsh winger claimed another brace as he inspired Tottenham to come from behind and beat London rivals West Ham 3-2 at Upton Park.

Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale celebrates with Gylfi Sigursson after scoring the winner against West Ham.
Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale celebrates with Gylfi Sigursson after scoring the winner against West Ham.

West Ham United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 3

West Ham: Carroll 25' (p), J Cole 58'

Tottenham: Bale 13' 90', Sigurdsson 76'

Andre Villas-Boas believes Gareth Bale deserves to be named player of the year this season after seeing the Wales winger produce yet another match-winning display for Tottenham Hotspur against West Ham.

Bale scored a fantastic brace, including a stunning last-gasp winner, as Spurs moved up to third with a 3-2 win over their London rivals.

The 23-year-old opened the scoring before the Hammers hit back through an Andy Carroll penalty and a well-taken Joe Cole effort.

Gylfi Sigurdsson scored his first league goal after coming on as a substitute to equalise for Spurs before Bale claimed the points for the visitors with a brilliant long-range effort.

Villas-Boas was left enthusing about Bale's quality and reckons he is worthy of personal accolades come the end of the season.

When asked if he felt Bale could win the player of the year award he replied: "I think so, it would be truly deserved, but not up to me to make that consideration.

"But you have to recognise he's having a tremendous season. So probably a contender, he is for us, hopefully he can get there.

"He is a great, great talent and to see him keep trying in the last minute exemplifies the talent that he is.

"Taking the ball, receiving it, getting fouled in between, getting up - he has got stick for staying down - but he gets up and gets on with business and managed to score a great goal."

West Ham were on top for the first 10 minutes, with Mohamed Diame and Matt Jarvis both drawing saves from Hugo Lloris.

Bale, like Parker, was subjected to jeers from the home fans, but stunned the West Ham faithful with the opener after 12 minutes.

The Welshman, operating up front alongside Adebayor, gained a yard on James Collins and another two Hammers defenders before firing across Jussi Jaaskelainen into the back of the net.

Bale led a rampaging Spurs break soon after but he shot tamely, much to the frustration of the unmarked Jan Vertonghen, who was screaming for the ball at the far post.

Soon after, Spurs were made to pay thanks to Carroll's second goal of 2013. Parker put in an ill-advised two-footed challenge on Carroll in the box and Howard Webb pointed to the spot.

The former Newcastle striker picked himself up, smashed the ball past Lloris and waved two fingers towards the away support, who had previously goaded him by claiming he was only capable of scoring once a year.

Spurs almost took the lead again just after the break when Vertonghen's shot flew off Guy Demel's leg, but Jaaskelainen scrambled across his line and tipped wide.

West Ham still had the majority of possession and they made it count with their second just before the hour.

Cole timed his run to perfection, gaining two yards on Steven Caulker before slotting past Lloris and removing his shirt in a wild celebration. Sam Allardyce almost spilt his cup of tea in another raucous celebration on the Hammers bench.

Spurs threw everything at the hosts and had it not been for another two outstanding saves by Jaaskelainen from Bale and Caulker, they would have retaken the lead.

Lloris pulled off a top-drawer save of his own when Matt Taylor beat the offside trap and fired on goal.

The save proved crucial as Tottenham went up the other end and equalised.

The Hammers failed to deal with Bale's free kick, a melee ensued in the box, but Sigurdsson held his nerve to poke past Jaaskelainen from close range.

Jaaskelainen pulled off another two top-class saves to deny Adebayor and Sigurdsson as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes.

Then with 10 seconds left the man of the moment picked himself up after being flattened by a tackle, collected the ball off Tom Carroll and let fly with an audacious 25-yard bullet that beat Jaaskelainen.

Spurs have scored important late goals recently with Mousa Dembele's injury-time strike sealing Europa League progression at the expense of Lyon and Clint Dempsey hitting a late equaliser at home to league leaders Manchester United.

Villas-Boas could not put his finger on why his side had made a habit out of leaving it late but feels once a team knows they can grab a goal in the dying seconds it gives them belief they can repeat it.

"I've done nothing," he said. "It is just the players who believe, the more often we score late the more often we score again.

"I think it has a knock-on effect, normally when you suffer late goals you suffer more because you believe and when you score you believe [you can do it again], we are enjoying it."

Sam Allardyce had suggested in the lead-up to the game that Bale's valuation would sit somewhere around the £50 million (Dh279m) mark and admitted after the match that the former Southampton youngster leaves defenders in a quandary when it comes to stopping him.

"If you get too tight he skips past you, if you stand off him he hits them like that [the winning goal]," the West Ham manager explained.

"You have got to admire the quality of the goal. We've heard a lot about Michu at Swansea and what [Robin] Van Persie has done for Manchester United but at the moment there's nobody doing more for a football club than Gareth Bale for Tottenham, by the quality of goals he is scoring and consistent level of goals.

"I am not sure anybody else has scored for them recently, and every goal he seems to be getting is outside the box as well."

Allardyce was left aggrieved by referee Howard Webb's decision to not reduce the visitors to 10 men.

Dembele was booked for a challenge in the first half but escaped punishment for a number of misdemeanours before being substituted by Villas-Boas.

"A disappointing situation that I feel has to be pointed at by me, Howard Webb has to send Dembele off," said Allardyce.

"The laws we're told what they have to do, we are told they have to do - the foul on (Kevin) Nolan is a booking, then he fouls Mohamed Diame, and look at what our players have been booked for.

"Then early into the second half he pulls Joe Cole, the third one, then kicks the ball 20 yards away. All day long Mike Riley tells us that's a booking, so it would be 10-men Tottenham.

"It is disappointing for me, but at end of all that we have given it our best shot, I'm very disappointed we haven't got any points out of it."


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