Gareth Bale: Getting better each season

Gareth Bale’s sweetly struck winner versus West Ham on Monday night was his second of the match and meant that the Welsh winger had now scored six of Tottenham’s last seven Premier League goals.

Gareth Bale

The former Southampton youngster is now the bookmakers’ odds-on favourite to win this season’s PFA Player of the Year award, an award that Bale won just two seasons ago. The bookmakers suggest that only Robin van Persie will compete with him, despite good form from both Juan Mata and Luis Suarez this season.

Long gone are the days of when Gareth Bale failed to win any of his first 24 games as a Tottenham Hotspur player. Back then a left back, converted into a left winger under Harry Redknapp. His form and freedom as excelled this season under Andre Villas-Boas.

Although he does track back and cover either Jan Vertonghen, Benoit Assou-Ekotto or Kyle Naughton at left back, Bale has not attempted as many challenges per game as previous seasons. He’s not on course to match last season’s tally where he played the entire season on the left wing (well, with the occasional match in the middle).

Gareth Bale challenges

Andre Villas-Boas has given Gareth Bale more freedom this season, and although he can look less effective at times in the middle, what the former Chelsea manager is doing is working for Bale. He has got a personal best 15 Premier League goals this season, and there’s still 11 games to be played.

Gareth Bale shooting

Gareth Bale continues to run at defenders as much as he always has, there’s been nothing knew there. He has become less-ambitious with his passing this season. Fewer through balls and chances created this season. His assists are down from 10 last season to just 1 in 2012/13. He is still whipping in as many crossers as ever, nothing has changed there.

Gareth Bale passing
With a few stunning free kicks finding the back of the net recently, Bale appears to have won sole responsibility of free kick duties at White Hart Lane. Once upon a time Kyle Walker used to have an attempt. And last season, the duties were split with Luka Modric also.

The left winger who is heavily expected to leave White Hart Lane in the summer is a great threat on the counter attack, along with the pace of both Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe (when fit) in the team, making Tottenham a difficult team to play.

Andre Villas-Boas has performed better in his first 27 Premier League games as Tottenham Hotspur manager than he did with Chelsea. And one player, especially over the past month or so that he can thank for a number of those points is Gareth Bale.