1. As Good As It Gets – It what will go down in the annals of history, the pages of legend and the recanting of time as “that one where Gareth Bale d**ked on everyone”, Tottenham re-introduced themselves proper to the European Cup with a bang, a whirl, a fizz and an almighty great firework flourish. Employing that intoxicating cocktail of quick, direct forwards and slightly unreliable defenders, Spurs continued to live up to their billing as this season’s value for money outfit in the Champions league. This however, was more than just another flippantly fun Tottenham tie. This wasn’t just another game for Sky to aggressively cover in egregiously inflated hyperbole undeservingly. This was a result that will make more than just the Evening Standard. This was dismantling the European Champions. This was epic. The more rational (and possibly less drunk) would claim – quite fairly – that this was a game of unbalanced priorities. As an Arsenal friend texted, then tweeted, then changed his facebook status to in a desperate attempt to in some way plug the gushing torrent of praise spraying relentlessly over his arch rivals, this was Spurs’ biggest game in 50 years but just another group stage qualifier for Inter. After all Rubin Kazan beat Barcelona last season – Away no less – and no one expected it to usher in a brave new dawn of Russian dominancy. Newcastle beat Barcelona once, also playing the kind of Kamikaze entertaining table tennis football and that was as good as it got for them. What the real long-term significance of this result will have on the club is yet to be seen, but should still be savored, deservedly. Whatever that is though, it’s impact on the long term significance of a certain monkey faced Thundercat is undoubtedly going to be huge.
2. Demolition Man – Gareth Bale. Gareth Bale. Bale. Gareth Bale. That’s all I need to do from here on in. Say Gareth Bale enough times to get this article ranked highly in a google search and the sheer amount of fervent interest this morning will guarantee enough hits to charge whatever advertisers surround this page for my own private Back to the Future hover board (or at least the funding for research into what on earth scientists have been doing all these years instead of making one.) However with even the likes of Patrick Barclay already declaring him to be the second best player in the World through twitter – forgetting that he’s not even the best player in his own team thus far this season – I’d be best advised to lay off the subject all together until the arm flapping, knee jerking excitement has died down a little. But that would patently be no fun, and virtually impossible too as despite all the over-hype and blurred perspective that will no doubt accompany Balemania over the next few days, his performance was quite honestly, and quite really, one of the most impressive individual displays witnessed in a long time. In fact if the 2nd half of the previous encounter could be included as well, it may just have been the best individual effort by one man against one team in such a space of time that didn’t include Diego Maradona or Primary School Children, or both.
3. Maicon the same mistakes again – Liverpool fans still insist Rafa Benitez was a genius, trapped in the last two years of his reign by an inescapable invisible force field cage of evil anti-football mega energy by their dastardly former owners. For many of the rest of us though, it’s hard to see this logic. Once upon a time, this was undoubtedly the case (the genius bit, not the magic cage of evil energy). Breaking the big two monopoly in Spain isn’t something any Tomas, Ricardo or Enrique can or does do. But since that famous “fachts” rant, he’s made some perplexingly odd decisions on the regular. After conceding a ludicrously spectacular hat-trick to the player only two weeks earlier (however consolatory it was) the former Liverpool manager decided the best thing to do was play an attack minded, defensively weak right back against him, ably supported by a 32 year old center back who’s never exerted himself beyond “light jogging” his entire career. Odd choice that.
4. Singing in the Lane – There’s a somewhat popular, but possibly unfair notion that the Southern clubs in the Premier League have a much worse repartee of chants than their supposedly wittier Northern neighbors. This school of thought isn’t helped by Chelsea’s heavy reliance on the singular repetition of their own name shouted monotonously at varying levels of volume. Spurs fans new chant for Rafael van der Vaart is a sterling effort however. Witty, catchy and everything you’d need from a good terrace favorite. Unfortunately, their effort for Bale isn’t as inspiring, being as it is the heavy reliance on the singular repetition of his name shouted monotonously at varying levels of volume. At least Chelsea doesn’t rhyme with much. (apart from wealthy) Bale rhymes with everything. There’s no excuse for a little more creativity. Take pale for example *clears throat*
“He skipped the Maic and Lucio. On his fast heels ‘cross the floor.
Made them feel pretty seasick. But the crowd called out for more.
And the Lane was humming harder. As defenders blew away.
And we called out for another goal. And he laid it on a plate.
And so it was that later, when Aaron Lennon’s cross had failed.
That he knew he’s marked too closely, so turned out wide yeah, and played to Bale.”
See? It’s not that hard. It may need some work though, granted.
5. The Usual Suspects – Whilst it’s tempting to write this whole piece on the Wonder-Bale (and trust me, it is tempting) it’s only fair to throw a shout out to Spurs’ admirable supporting cast. This was more than just a Bale-a-thon. In fact before Van der Vaart went off injured at half time, their command of proceedings owed as much to him and Modric as it did to the industry and constant Maicon mullering of the wonder-chimp. Peter Crouch continued his fine form of looking incapable of heading a ball anywhere he intends to with any power at all and Alan Hutton carried on being alright whilst looking like the white one who was friends with Morph. Benoit Assou-Ekotto actually managed to clear a harmless cross backwards into danger in his own box at one point, but Inter were generally restricted to hopeful long shots, mainly from Wesley Sneijder, seemingly influenced by the glut of hugely fortunate goals credited to him during the World Cup and under the impression he doesn’t really need to strike them very well in order to score anymore. Towards the end Inter brought on Diego Milito and a 9 year old boy, but it was never really there for them. This was always going to be Bale’s day from the first moment he skinned Maicon in the opening few minutes. I joked to my mate then that he’d be adding 5 million to his price tag every time he did it. I think he was the world’s first billion pound player by the end of the game.
You can follow Oscar on twitter here: http://twitter.com/oscarpyejeary, where you can help him think of other things that rhyme with Bale. Like snail, hail, fail, tail…Abigail…Jimmy Nail?