LONDON, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Flaws in Gareth Bale’s game are few and far between but panicked Premier League defences at least now know that making him shoot with his weaker right foot will give them a chance.
The Welshman scored twice in Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 home win over Newcastle United on Saturday to make it four in three league matches but he could so easily have grabbed a hat-trick had an injury-time opportunity not fallen on his right foot.
Instead of the goal-of-the-season contenders he is accustomed to score, his wild effort over the bar with the net at his mercy was possibly one of the misses of the campaign.
“I‘m disappointed with the one I missed, I need to work on that,” he told Sky television with a smirk. “I‘m enjoying my football, that’s the most important thing.”
The 23-year-old, who also netted for Wales in midweek, is at the peak of his powers and moved on to 13 league goals for the season after an early dipping free-kick and a 78th-minute winner which owed much to his long legs and clinical finishing.
Spurs boss Andre-Villas Boas, whose side are in the mix for the Champions League places, has shifted his tactics of late to allow Bale to operate in the centre of midfield as well as on the left wing but that may have contributed to his late miss.
Bale, coveted by some of the world’s top clubs and constantly linked with a move away if Spurs do not start becoming true Premier League and European contenders, will use his right foot more often in his new role and will improve.
“We gave him more freedom and things worked out better second half,” the Portuguese coach said.
“We are just fortunate to have a player, another player, like this.”
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew hailed the speedy Bale for outwitting a lowly side who had won their previous two games to ease relegation worries after a raft of French signings in the transfer window.
“He is difficult to contain. He was always going to get some freedom and he is in electric form,” said Pardew, who added that injured goalscorer Yoan Gouffran had gone to hospital for an x-ray on a sore shin. (Writing by Mark Meadows; Editing by John Mehaffey)