It took Gareth Bale more than two years to win a game in a Tottenham shirt the first time. It’s fair to say it isn’t going exactly to plan second time around, either.
On in the 72nd minute, 3-0 up, off 22 minutes later, tied at 3-3. Look, it wasn’t Bale’s fault but nor was it a debut to remember. With Tottenham still leading, he broke through and had a chance to make it 4-2, but Angelo Ogbonna did just enough to put him off before tumbling.
By then, it is fair to say, Tottenham were living on their nerves. West Ham were much improved in the second-half and all of Tottenham’s damage was inflicted in the opening 16 minutes.
Gareth Bale was sent on for his second Tottenham debut but his new club were not able to prevent a stunning West Ham rally
The 31-year-old, signed on loan from Real Madrid this summer, was straight into the action with Spurs leading by three goals
But Manuel Lanzini’s stoppage-time stunner, a strike fired with venom from distance, forced Spurs to settle for just a point
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min again combined to devastating effect on what proved to be a frustrating afternoon for Spurs
Nevertheless, they should have been comfortable. Instead, what the hell happened?
When Fabian Balbuena headed in a free-kick delivered by Manuel Lanzini after 82 minutes it seemed little beyond consolation. Then, three minutes later, Vladimir Coufal broke down the flank, crossed and Davinson Sanchez planted a header past his own goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
And then, four minutes into injury time, a last chance free-kick. Aaron Cresswell took it, the ball cleared, recycled, fell to Manuel Lanzini 25 yards out and he acted on instinct striking it with all his might towards goal. Lloris got a hand to it, but no more. This was the sort of strike Bale must have dreamt of scoring in this arena. Instead, it was his worst nightmare.
Yet there were good moments for Tottenham. So while it may sound sound mischievous to even pose the question, how is Bale to improve the mot successful goal-scoring machine in the Premier League right now?
Tottenham: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Reguilon, Sissoko, Hojbjerg, Ndombele (Winks 72), Bergwijn (Bale 72), Son (Lucas 80), Kane
Subs not used: Doherty, Hart, Davies, Vinicius
Scorers: Son 1, Kane 8, 16
Manager: Jose Mourinho
West Ham: Fabianski, Coufal, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Masuaku (Snodgrass 90), Bowen, Soucek, Rice, Fornals (Lanzini 77), Antonio (Yarmolenko 77)
Subs not used: Noble, Diop, Fredericks, Randolph
Scorers: Balbuena 82, Sanchez OG 85, Lanzini 90+4
Bookings: Antonio, Ogbonna, Soucek, Masuaku, Lanzini
Manager: David Moyes
The visitors had bundled on top of each other in delirium with Lanzini’s goal, the last kick of the clash, rescuing them a draw
David Moyes celebrated wildly after Lanzini’s strike helped his team overturn a three-goal deficit in breathtaking fashion
Welshman Bale was named among the substitutes from the off and watched on as his team-mates helped Spurs race in front
Harry Kane and Hueng-min Son. A partnership that currently stands above the rest – and above most others in history, too. Remember when it was felt the management style of Jose Mourinho mighty stifle Kane and the attacking flair of his Tottenham team-mates?
Opposite. Since Mourinho’s arrival in November 2019 the two players with the most direct goal involvements – either by scoring or assisting – is Kane with 33, followed by Son with 30. Their numbers place them among the greatest partnerships in Premier League history.
Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba combined for Chelsea 36 times. Thierry Henry and Robert Pires of Arsenal and David Silva and Sergio Aguero for Manchester City were good for 29 each.
Yet none of these partnerships are still operative. Kane and Son have 28 and counting, including two on Sunday. They would have reached 29 had Kane not hit a post from a Son pass after 79 minutes.
This is the company Bale entered as a 72nd minute substitute on Sunday. It’s fair to say he’s not shy. The break in play was for a Tottenham free-kick and Bale immediately announced he would be taking it. He stood over the ball, legs splayed in the manner of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Son opened the scoring after just one minute with a clever dart in behind and emphatic finish into the bottom right corner
The in-form Spurs attacker celebrated in front of the cameras after handing the home side the perfect start to the encounter
Son was mobbed by his team-mates, who responded right from the off in a bid to build on their Manchester United thrashing
What an entrance this could have been. Instead, he bunged it tamely into the arms of goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
David Moyes was back on the touchline on Sunday but they were three goals down in 16 minutes. And that was without Gareth Bale on the pitch. Taxi for Moyesie, as they might have sung if anyone was actually allowed to watch football in the open air these days.
Tottenham were a goal up after 45 seconds, two clear after eight minutes and when the third went in it was the quickest they had established such a lead since beating Derby 4-0 on August 18, 2007.
It was a Tottenham counter-attack that began the rout. A West Ham attack broke down and Kane, deep inside his half, played an absolute nectarine of a ball – even sweeter than a peach – into the path of Son. He outstripped Balbuena as if the Paraguayan defender was pulling a particularly well-laden trailer, waited for him to catch up, cut inside, and planted a curling shot past Lukasz Fabianski in the West Ham goal.
For the next goal, defender Vladimir Coufal’s clearing header was quickly recycled by Pierre-Emile Hoijberg, growing into his Tottenham role with every game. He slipped the ball to Son, who just as sharply fed Kane.
Kane rifled in Spurs’ second minutes after the first with a nutmeg on Declan Rice and powerful strike beyond Lukasz Fabianski
The Tottenham captain has been found in magnificent form in scoring and teeing up team-mates and found the target again
Declan Rice dived in and was made to look rather foolish, Angelo Ogbonna saw the danger and threw himself at the shot but not in time to prevent it. The ball must have appeared from nowhere, then, as Fabianski stood rooted to the spot as it nestled in the bottom corner of the net.
West Ham were still reeling when the third went in. It was made to look so much easier than it was; another move-building pass from Son, this time to full-back Sergio Reguilon.
To say he crossed for Kane to beat Fabianski with a header at the far post, though, rather underplays the precision of the delivery.
Reguilon had to get the ball over the heads of three West Ham defenders to reach his target and did so perfectly, the ball dropping in perfectly.
Moyes, making his return to the touchline after contracting coronavirus, could only watch on as his team conceded quickly
It was three-nil after 16 minutes with Kane again beating Fabianski, this time with an inch-perfect header across the keeper
West Ham’s stars looked deflated and defeated with less than a quarter of the game gone at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Bale was spotted being through his paces along the touchline as he prepared for this long-awaited second half introduction
Tomas Soucek is pictured attempting to hold off Kane as Tottenham pressed to add to their handsome tally after the interval
Kane tried his luck inside the box but was unable to round off his hat-trick with Tottenham later capitulating at the other end
Jose Mourinho helped deliver Bale his instructions alongside a member of his coaching staff with the forward then brought on
Fabian Balbuena rose highest to meet Aaron Cresswell’s cross and nod beyond Hugo Lloris to haul West Ham two goals adrift
Re-live all the drama from north London with live commentary from Sportsmail‘s JEORGE BIRD below…
Source: Daily Mail | BBC News & Gossip