The Welshman opened the scoring after 68 seconds to begin the rout and scored the fourth with a precise, curling shot 10 minutes into the second half. Bale also provided a sumptuous long ball to free Harry Kane to score the second goal after 15 minutes. Lucas Moura got in on the act, adding the third just after the half-hour mark as Spurs earned three vital points to stay in touch in the battle for the top four.
Jose Mourinho said before the game that Bale was happy and confident after overcoming the niggling injuries that have dogged him since his return to north London on loan from Real Madrid last summer. The Portuguese was spot-on.
The visiting side’s plans to suffocate Spurs were thrown into chaos almost immediately. Son Heung-Min was given time and space on the left to pick out a cross. Burnley’s back four were deep but there was little evidence of organisation as Bale made a well-timed run from the edge of the box. Two defenders held their position, two stepped out to catch Tottenham offside. Bale cruised on to the ball unattended and casually knocked his shot into the net. Nick Pope never even moved. The Burnley goalkeeper was left completely exposed.
From that moment it was just a matter of how many Spurs would score. Kane shot just wide from outside the box and Son set up a splendid chance for Moura but the Brazilian fired straight at Pope.
Bale showed his full range of skills. He accelerated past a challenge deep in his own half and found Kane with a lovely ball that allowed the striker to turn away from a defender and spark another attack.
The next link-up between the pair was even more spectacular. Bale picked up possession just outside the area after a Burnley attack broke down. He looked up and fired a 50-yard ball to Kane. Josh Brownhill thought he could cut out the pass but he was mistaken and the striker bore down on goal. James Tarkowski attempted to block the effort but merely deflected the shot past Pope into the net.
There was no coming back for Burnley. Sean Dyche’s side are not equipped to claw their way back into games. They tried to work the ball forward but that played to Tottenham’s strengths and the home side charged upfield at every opportunity. In the 31st minute Sergio Reguilon crossed into the box, Tarkowski could not clear and the ball fell to Moura to make it three.
Burnley could not cope with Tottenham’s movement and pace. With Son causing havoc on the left, Bale had plenty of space on the opposite flank. In the 55th minute the South Korean exchanged passes with Reguilon and then pinged a crossfield ball into Bale’s path. The four-times Champions League winner advanced into the area and curled his shot into the far corner of the goal. Once again Pope was rooted to the spot. The goalkeeper did distinguish himself by stopping a swirling, dipping shot from Kane that went in an unexpected direction and later made a full-length save from Son but it was a dispiriting afternoon for Pope.
For Bale it was the best day since his return from Madrid. He was replaced by Erik Lamela with 19 minutes left after a very satisfying performance.
Dyche’s side never looked like getting back into the game. They had a smattering of chances and a late flurry of corners but never seriously worried Hugo Lloris. Burnley are now just five points clear of the relegation zone. Fear is building at Turf Moor. Dyche’s teams have traditionally been solid and dogged. They were neither at White Hart Lane.
The only comeback belonged to Bale. If he replicates this form for the rest of the season, Tottenham can look forward to a very successful spring.
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