Tottenham Hotspur are third in the Premier League, thanks to the heroics of Gareth Bale. He almost single-handedly rescued an otherwise lackluster performance, scoring two goals -- including a 90th minute winner -- to fire Spurs to a 3-2 victory over West Ham United.
Bale fired Spurs ahead early, following a rough patch of play. West Ham did an excellent job of stifling them in the midfield, and neither Moussa Dembele or Lewis Holtby had quite figured out the pace of the game at the time of the goal. In fact, Dembele had picked up a yellow card for a kick-out that could have been red. Bale's strike came out of nowhere, placed perfectly from just outside the penalty area, and helped Spurs settle down and get into the game.
However, an error at the back eventually helped West Ham to equalize. In the 25th minute, Scott Parker went in hard on Andy Carroll and caught him inside the box. Howard Webb pointed to the spot, and Carroll stepped up to power an impressive penalty into the roof of the net.
Not long before halftime, Steven Caulker nearly put Spurs ahead with a great header in the box that Jussi Jaaskelainien was able to save. It was, astonishingly, the first of three headers on corners by Caulker that Jaaskelainen saved during the match.
The second half began in a sloppy fashion, with neither team looking like they could find a rhythm. It was a style of football that obviously benefitted West Ham, though they needed a gift to fully take advantage. In the 57th minute, Jaaskelainen made a great save on substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Adebayor embarrassingly put his follow-up effort right into the West Ham keeper's hands when it would have been much easier to score. West Ham went ahead when Spurs' defense absolutely fell asleep one minute later. No one spotted a run by Joe Cole to beat the offside trap, and he finished off a chip by Joey O'Brien to stun Tottenham and take a 2-1 lead.
Spurs started to pile on the pressure in search of an equalizer, creating plenty of chances. They eventually found their goal in comical fashion, taking advantage of some poor defending. A free kick by Bale resulted in an absurd scramble in the box, where Adebayor failed to finish an easy chance again, but West Ham were even more incompetent in their defending. They failed to clear despite multiple chances, and Sigurdsson poked in at the far post for his first Premier League goal in a Tottenham shirt.
Despite some decent half chances on both ends, it looked like a draw was on the cards until Bale did what might have been the unthinkable two months ago, but is certainly anything but at the moment. From 25 yards, after he was fouled and Howard Webb played advantage, he picked up a pass from Tom Carroll and took a rip, curling a perfect shot into the side of the net that Jaaskelainen had no chance to save.
These are all of the words I have for this game right now. I will probably have thousands tomorrow, but for now, I am speechless.