Bale makes Spurs look sharp again sharp edge

Tottenham Hotspur 4 Blackburn Rovers 2: Rovers are overrun as Welsh winger provides the finesse and the finish to revitalise Redknapp's men rediscover

Not that there was ever any serious doubt, but Gareth Bale proved yesterday that he can perform dazzlingly against mid-table Premier League teams as well as Champions' League winners. After two low-key displays against Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland, the Wales winger was as dominating against Blackburn Rovers as he had been in Tottenham's 3-1 victory over Internazionale 11 days previously.

Not only did he maraud down the left to such effect that Michel Salgado, his marker, was substitutedto spare him further punishment before half-time, but he also opened the scoring with a header that many centre-forwards would have been proud of.

Bale then provided the cross that allowed Roman Pavlyuchenko to atone for an earlier penalty miss, and made it 4-0 himself with a shot from eight yards. The wonder was that he was not involved in Tottenham's third, an overdue first League goal of the season for Peter Crouch.

It was Tottenham's first Premier League victory in five games, since their 2-1 win at Fulham on 16 October, and only their third at White Hart Lane this season. After being booed off after the 1-1 draw at home to Sunderland on Tuesday, Harry Redknapp's men will face a tricky run of games against teams including Arsenal, Werder Bremen, Liverpool and Chelsea in a far more positive frame of mind.

"We let ourselves down at Bolton, although we played well enough against Sunderland, but it is a tough league and we have to improve in games after European nights," Joe Jordan, the Tottenham assistant manager, said. "We want to get into the top four again and to do that we have to show more consistency."

Blackburn, though, could have scored more than twice despite beginning the afternoon with very defensive-looking 5-4-1 formation that invited Tottenham to attack – and Bale, in particular, was happy to oblige. He had already given Salgadoa torrid 15 minutes when he showed a previously unsuspected power in the air, charging to the near post to meet Rafael van der Vaart's corner from the right and head firmly past Paul Robinson's left hand.

Pavlyuchenko missed two opportunities to put the game beyond Blackburn's reach before half-time. After 28 minutes he intercepted Phil Jones' poor backpass but curled an ambitious shot over the crossbar, then knocked a penalty wide after Andre Marriner ruled that Robinson had fouled Crouch.

Spurs nearly paid for the miss when Morten Gamst Pedersen failed to hit the target with a header from six yards and then Nikola Kalinic turned Younes Kaboul and fired in a shot that Heurelho Gomes did well to beat away. Almost immediately, Tottenham took the ball to the other end, where Pavlyuchenko made up for his earlier errors. This time Bale was the creator, charging past Pascal Chimbonda – who had replaced Salgado in the firing line – and crossing for the unmarked Russian to head home.

Blackburn continued to press, and William Gallas cleared a shot by Pedersen off the line, while El-Hadji Diouf brought a fine leaping save from Gomes. But once again, Tottenham quelled any notions of a comeback. Van der Vaart's pass invited Pavlyuchenko to shoot, and Robinson did well to get down to his left to parry. But Gaël Givet did less well, dawdling over a chance to clear and allowing Crouch to poke the ball home. "That summed us up defensively today," Sam Allardyce, the Blackburn manager, said. "As a defensive unit we were diabolical. As an attacking unit, very exciting, but it's no good gifting the opposition four goals before you start putting the ball in the back of the net."

Bale scuffed home the fourth before Rovers got some reward for their contribution to an entertaining game. David Dunn drove low past Gomes from 18 yards and, after Kaboul had kicked Diouf's low shot off the goalline, Tottenham failed to clear a long ball and Givet made it 4-2.

"At 4-0 up we failed to pick up second balls, but I don't think it took away from the result or the football we played," Jordan said.

Attendance: 35,700

Referee: Andre Marriner

Man of the match: Bale

Match rating: 9/10

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
news

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
London's New Year's Eve fireworks event is going to be ticketed this year for the first time at £10 a head
news

Revellers will have to pay to see New Year's Eve fireworks in London

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Life and Style
tech

Try putting that one on your Christmas list
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week