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Bale brilliance takes Spurs up to third

He’s the best British player on the planet, and on current form, virtually unstoppable. Gareth Bale scored his eighth goal in six games, his fifteenth Premier League goal of the season, to beat West Ham and lift Spurs to third in the table.

It was a typically dramatic Bale winner, a 25 yard shot into the top corner in the 90th minute to secure all three points. Recently Bale’s stunning free kicks against Lyon secured his team’s progress in the Europa League. He has scored consistently to win crucial matches for Spurs, and manager Andre Villas-Boas is running out of superlatives.

"He is unbelievable, a super talent and to see him keep on trying until the last minute exemplifies the talent he is," Villas-Boas said. "He's at a tremendous level this season and it's obvious he's enjoying his football. Gareth has the motivation to make sure things only get better."

West Ham had played with spirit on the 20th anniversary of club legend Bobby Moore’s death. Andy Carroll equalised Bale’s early strike and Joe Cole had put them ahead with a classy finish. A scrambled equaliser set the stage for Bale’s stunning decider.

"We’ve one man to thank for this result and that’s Gareth Bale," West Ham manager Sam Allardyce said. "I can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone score so many wonder goals in such a short time. We played fantastic but we’ve been beaten by Bale."

Bale's speed, ability to control the ball while running full out, his trickery and, above all, his lethal finishing from all distances, have made Bale the outstanding player in the Premier League this season. Former Spurs captain Gary Mabbutt suggested that Bale is now up there with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo among the world’s best players. The question is whether Tottenham can retain him for next season. With a Champions League place looking increasingly likely, they might be optimistic.

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