Are Tottenham reliant on Gareth Bale?
Tottenham opinion: The meteoric rise of Gareth Bale has spared Tottenham's blushes on many occasions this season
Gareth Bale's mesmeric rise in the footballing world continues to astound fans and pundits alike and with every goal, dead ball or not, the buzzing hype surrounding him increases.
He is a player on fire and undoubtedly playing the best football of his tenure at White Hart Lane with 18 Premier league goals to his name and counting with twelve goals coming from his last fourteen games.
He has inspired Spurs to Champions League hopefuls - and he is proving to be wonderful publicity for Spurs in the transfer market. But is it fair to solely focus on the sensational Gareth Bale and regard Tottenham as a team incapacitated without him?
Despite Bale's heroics Tottenham's resurgence under Andre Villas-Boas has started from the back, as is the footballing philosophy of Spurs' current team, with the defence boasting a 21% clean sheet record this term with a club record unbeaten run of 12 games from 16 December to 10 March.
The shrewd acquisitions of Vertonghen and Dembele have proved vital in anchoring the defence and the makeshift defence of last year now presents itself as a formidable obstacle for any striker. The partnership between Dembele and Sandro, the linchpin of Spurs' midfield, was talked about as the best in the league giving Tottenham license dominate a midfield with Dembele's hard running and Sandro's tenacious tackling.
The rise to prominence of Aaron Lennon must be one of Villas-Boas' greatest delights as he plays a major part in the Gareth Bale show as he is able, and willing, to switch flanks with him to terrorize defenders on either side and leading Spurs' assist charts it is easy to see how crucial he is to Tottenham's success of late.
Although bringing in new players last summer has helped Tottenham no end, there is always that man who is stealing the headlines and ultimately steering Tottenham towards a long-awaited top four spot.
If Villas-Boas can keep this cannon firing then Tottenham can dream again because this man, as Harry Redknapp said "is unstoppable on his day" and is "closing in on" Cristiano Ronaldo.
But it is not only his ability that precedes him but also his influence as teams are likely to set aside two or three players in order to quieten Bale thus freeing up space elsewhere on the pitch for his team mates to exploit. Just his very being on the pitch is an aid for his team because of the respect he demands from the opposition.
If Tottenham were to lose Bale this summer, or indeed the next, no amount of money will be able to replace him as what he has - that magic spark - cannot be bought.
Spurs will never have that same attacking flair that they boast now and the two legs against Inter Milan reveal just how important Bale is, Inter didn't play especially well in the second leg but were able to play their own game without any worry and Tottenham sorely missed Bale's sparkling runs and effervescent tracking back.
Bale does not necessarily fit Tottenham perfectly but at White Hart Lane he has been subject to a miraculous change of fortune, from a winless run of 24 games to being the key to any hope Tottenham have of success in the next few years.
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