Gareth Bale continues to thrive at Tottenham Hotspur following the departure of Jose Mourinho nearly a month ago.
The £18m-rated Real Madrid superstar struggled for game time under the Portuguese, playing just 477 minutes in the Premier League but under interim head coach Ryan Mason, he has started all four top-flight matches, as per Transfermarkt.
That run includes a goal against Southampton and a hat-trick against Sheffield United last time out, but his display on Sunday afternoon may well go a little unnoticed given he failed to add to his 14 goals and three assists.
For what he was lacking in terms of goal contributions, he more than made up for in work rate and creativity, only showing that he was suffering under Mourinho – or that the Special One got it so wrong with the Welshman.
Bale rated amongst Spurs’ best performers, with SofaScore grading him a 7.6, which was only bettered by the two goalscorers, Harry Kane (7.9) and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (8.7).
It was the fourth straight league game that he’s managed a 7.0 or better, which is better than his final two appearances in the Premier League under Mourinho.
That is rather telling.
The 31-year-old, who Spurs have an option to keep hold of for next season, was a constant nuisance down the right flank, exposing an out-of-position Nelson Semedo throughout the 89 minutes he was on the pitch.
No player on either side did better in terms of playmaking, as he notched four key passes, which is way above his average of 0.8 per game. This was aided by three shots at goal and a 100% success rate with his dribbling whilst he also won six of eight duels (75%), as per SofaScore.
That only further shows how he consistently got the better of Semedo.
As Spurs journalist Alasdair Gold stated in his post-game column for football.london, Bale was “always involved,” “looked sharp,” and had “some bright moments.”
Bale’s recent form has certainly sent a telling and revealing statement to Mourinho – perhaps he would still be in the job if he unshackled his summer signing more often.
It has been a decision questioned by BBC pundits Jermaine Jenas and Alan Shearer only two weeks ago to Match of the Day, via football.london.
The former Spurs midfielder said: “Yeah, he lacked fitness initially, but I’ve always felt Gareth is the type of player who just plays until he gets himself fit. He has been a world-class player and he is ruthless in that situation, as we saw today.”
Whilst the ex-Premier League winner added: “It was a magnificent performance. It was the very best of Gareth Bale, it had everything, the running off the ball, work rate and his finishing was lethal.”
Mason has certainly trusted him and it has paid serious dividends as Spurs’ qualification into Europe is now firmly in their hands. His display against Wolves merely highlights where Mourinho potentially got it all so wrong at the club.