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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power