Bale masterclass sees off Canaries

Norwich City 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Gareth Bale tore Norwich City apart with a brilliant brace as Tottenham moved seven points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City with an easy win at Carrow Road.

After laying siege to the Norwich goal in the first half, Spurs finally found the opener 10 minutes after the break when Bale picked up Emmanuel Adebayor's pass to drive under John Ruddy.

Bale then latched on to Luka Modric's pass to sprint 45 yards before lifting the ball over the on-rushing Norwich goalkeeper with a sublime finish to kill off the match 12 minutes later.

The performance may have been slightly ropey in the first-half, but the devastating display from Bale highlights just why Tottenham are proving that they should be deemed credible title challengers.

The Londoners, who have a match in hand over all their rivals, will head in to the new year as the capital's top club, and with games against Swansea and West Brom coming up, few would back against Harry Redknapp's men putting more pressure on both Manchester teams over the next few days.

With Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool all drawing over the past 24 hours, Tottenham had the perfect chance to put themselves within striking distance of the summit.

They received a boost before kick-off with the news that Norwich duo Adam Drury and Ritchie de Laet, who had begun just five league games between them this season, started at full-back due to Kyle Naughton's suspension and an injury to Marc Tierney.

A speculative volley from Steve Morison gave Brad Friedel an early test, but Redknapp's team soon started to dictate play.

Bale drew saves from Ruddy on two occasions after terrorising De Laet with his searing pace.

Grant Holt somehow managed to escape without a caution for an apparent elbow on Benoit Assou-Ekotto as the left-back attempted to play a one-two with Adebayor on the left.

Replays showed the striker had clearly led with his forearm in attempting to shrug the defender off the ball in a challenge that perhaps merited a red card, but referee Michael Oliver kept his cards in his pocket.

Norwich grew in confidence briefly, but they soon found themselves on the back foot again.

Russell Martin put in a crucial header to deny Adebayor a great chance from six yards after a teasing cross from Kyle Walker.

Norwich appealed for a penalty when the ball struck Younes Kaboul in the box but Oliver waved play on.

Bale slammed a deflected shot just wide, but he was soon presented with another chance thanks to an error from Martin. The Welshman nicked the ball off the dallying defender and charged through clear at goal but he could only blast over.

A superb 50-yard ball from Rafael van der Vaart sent Adebayor free. The striker edged the ball past the on-rushing Ruddy, but he could not recover it to tap home and the ball went out of play.

Another Spurs attack came moments later when Bale got on the end of Modric's through-ball but Ruddy pulled off a good save.

Martin put in a sliding tackle to deny Adebayor, who then blazed over in injury-time as Tottenham's half ended in frustration.

William Gallas slipped on the edge of the box, bringing down Andrew Surman and earning himself a booking as Norwich began the second half with more confidence.

Surman picked himself up and curled a low shot that drifted inches wide, with Friedel scrambling for his far post.

Spurs took the lead 10 minutes in to the second half. Van der Vaart picked out Adebayor in the box, he held the ball up and fended off three Norwich defenders before squaring to Bale who got the ball out from under his feet to shoot under Ruddy after being left unmarked 12 yards out.

Assou-Ekotto found Walker unmarked at the back post after a clever one-two with Modric but the right-back cleared the bar by at least 10 yards with a poor shot.

Adebayor converted Assou-Ekotto's cross soon after but the Togo striker was ruled out for offside.

Bale grabbed his second of the game to make it 2-0 in the 67th minute.

Parker won the ball off Morison and laid the ball to Modric, who sent the Welshman galloping through on a 45-yard dash. Bale kept his composure after a heavy first touch before dispatching the coolest of chips over an on-rushing Ruddy, who dove at the winger's feet in vain.

Adebayor squared for Modric as Tottenham looked for a third but the Croatian could only muster a weak shot that Ruddy gathered easily.

Martin headed wide in injury time as Norwich looked for a consolation, but it never came and Spurs played the rest of the match out comfortably for a vital three points.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable