EPL

Bale back in Premier League action for Spurs for first time since May 2013

By Sports Desk October 18, 2020

After 2,709 days, Gareth Bale is a Premier League player again.

The Wales star came off the bench in Tottenham's clash with West Ham on Sunday for his first appearance since rejoining on loan from Real Madrid.

 

He replaced Steven Bergwijn in the 72nd minute, with Tottenham leading 3-0 at the time thanks to two early goals from Harry Kane and a first-minute strike from Son Heung-min.

Bale was straight into the action too, having a shot saved almost immediately after his introduction.

It was Bale's first game in England's top flight since May 19, 2013, when he helped Spurs to a 1-0 win over Sunderland at White Hart Lane.

He scored the only goal of that contest in the 89th minute as Spurs just missed out on a top-four spot, finishing a point behind Arsenal in the table.

The home side, then managed by Andre Villas-Boas, struggled against a Sunderland side who narrowly avoided relegation but Bale managed nine shots in the game – five of which were on target.

His goal, when it finally came, took him to 37 goal involvements in all competitions – only Robin van Persie (39) and Juan Mata (49) were involved in more for a Premier League club that season.

Bale then completed his £100million move to Real Madrid and went on to score 80 times in 171 appearances in LaLiga, his last goal coming against Villarreal on September 1, 2019.

Related items

  • 'Ben Simmons is a young LeBron' – Howard says 76ers star can be an all-time NBA great 'Ben Simmons is a young LeBron' – Howard says 76ers star can be an all-time NBA great

    Dwight Howard believes Ben Simmons can become one of the greatest to ever play in the NBA as he compared the Philadelphia 76ers All-Star to LeBron James.

    Howard will team up with Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia after leaving NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers for the 76ers via free agency.

    An eight-time All-Star, Howard won a title alongside Lakers superstar James in Los Angeles and he is relishing the opportunity to play with former number one draft pick Simmons in Philadelphia.

    Simmons – an elite defender and creator with unrivalled pace – averaged 16.4 points, 8.0 assists and 7.8 rebounds per game last season before injury cut short his campaign as the 76ers were swept by the Boston Celtics in the opening round of the playoffs.

    "Ben Simmons is a young LeBron ... I love the way he plays. I love how unselfish he is, and how mean he can be to other teams, and that's important," Howard told reporters on Wednesday.

    "When you have your point guard coming down, dunking on people, flexing, getting big rebounds, talking trash, doing all those things, it drives you to want to be better.

    "He has an opportunity to be one of the greatest to ever play the game, and I'm glad I have the opportunity to actually give him some things that can help him along the way."

    Howard arrives in the city of Brotherly Love with one thing on his mind – delivering the 76ers their first championship since 1983.

    Much has been said about franchise pillars Embiid and Simmons, and their compatibility as the 76ers prepare for life under new head coach Doc Rivers, who replaced Brett Brown.

    When Embiid and Simmons play, the 76ers boast a 119-65 win-loss record, per Stats Perform. But without one or both, they greatly suffer (67-94), Embiid's physicality in the paint and Simmons' superior defensive skills vital in Philadelphia.

    The 76ers average 111.7 points, 107.5 opposition points, 47.4 rebounds and 26.4 assists per game with Embiid and Simmons involved, a clear improvement compared to when one or both miss a game – 106.7 points, 109.4 opposition points, 44.5 rebounds and 25.0 assists.

    Philadelphia also have a superior field goal percentage (46.9) when Embiid and Simmons both play, with the 76ers shooting just 45.3 per cent without one or both. Opposition numbers also go up in their absence – field goal percentage (44.3 to 46.2) and three-point percentage (34.1 to 35.5).

    "There's a lot of things," Howard replied when asked why he thinks the Sixers – who also recruited Seth Curry and Danny Green – can win a title. "You have two great young stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, I'm going to start there. Those guys, to me I watched when Joel lost [to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semi-finals in 2019] and how bad it hurt, he just cried, and I know what that feels like. I've been in that moment before where it's like, 'Man, I gave everything I had. I put it all on the line and I came up short.'

    "It doesn't sit well with you, it stays with you for a really long time. So with him I know he has a fire inside of him, and we've all seen glimpses of it all year, and I think this is the year where it's about being focused. I see focus in him, I see focus in Ben, and that's where it starts with our two best players.

    "Then you look at the rest of the guys on our team, they've all been hungry, they just never knew how to win. And I think by adding a guy like Danny Green and myself, we just fresh off of winning a championship, and I think we all know what it takes to really get to the next level.

    "And I think this is a really great opportunity. You have a coach always talking about winning, how important it is to win, and you have some players who just want it. I think this year with the focus this team will have and the drive that we have to be successful, this will be our year."

  • Diego Maradona dies: FIFA should retire number 10 from football – Villas-Boas Diego Maradona dies: FIFA should retire number 10 from football – Villas-Boas

    Marseille head coach Andre Villas-Boas urged FIFA to "withdraw the number 10 for all competitions" to honour Diego Maradona.

    Maradona, widely regarded as one of the best players of all-time, died at the age of 60 on Wednesday after a suspected heart attack.

    He starred in the number 10 for Napoli and Argentina during his playing career, and the shirt was retired by the Serie A club in his honour in 2000.

    Villas-Boas wants to see FIFA go one step further and withdraw the number 10 completely.

    "For Maradona, it's a hard blow. I would like FIFA to withdraw the number 10 for all competitions, all teams," he told a news conference after Marseille's 2-0 Champions League loss to Porto on Wednesday.

    "I think it's the best tribute that can be given to the greatest player in the history of football. It is an incredible loss for the world of football."

    Villas-Boas said he would always remember his one meeting with Maradona.

    "Yes, I met him once. He was a guest at the Pinetina, the Inter Milan sports centre, when I was there," he said.

    "And I remember this photo, next to my trophies in Porto. Because of that, I bought a watch when Hublot had them signed by Maradona. And this watch came with a jersey signed by him that I still keep. These are good memories.

    "But Maradona wasn't just that. It's his genius from the world of football, the images he leaves us, the image of his warm-up in Naples, those kinds of things that are extraordinary.

    "It's a loss for everyone. I only met him once, next to each other, it's a moment I won't forget."

    Maradona, the captain and inspiration behind Argentina's World Cup success in 1986 before going on to coach his country at the 2010 showpiece, had been hospitalised just days after turning 60.

    He appeared in a fragile state when he briefly made an appearance as his Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata side played a match on the evening of his birthday last month.

    Maradona won 91 caps for Argentina between 1977 and 1994, scoring 34 goals at international level.

    He started his career with Argentinos Juniors before joining Boca Juniors and went on to play for Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell's Old Boys before returning to Boca in 1995.

    Maradona had the best years of his club career in Italy, playing a massive part in Napoli winning the Serie A title in the 1986-87 and 1989-90 seasons.

    Playmaker Maradona also lifted the UEFA Cup with Napoli in 1989 and he won three trophies during his time at Barca – including the Copa del Rey in 1983.

    Maradona also had stints in charge of Textil Mandiyu, Racing Club, Al-Wasl, Fujairah and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico before being appointed by Gimnasia last year.

  • Diego Maradona dies: 'The poetry of football' – Conte and Zidane remember all-time great Diego Maradona dies: 'The poetry of football' – Conte and Zidane remember all-time great

    Inter head coach Antonio Conte described Diego Maradona as "the poetry of football" following the Argentina and Napoli great's death on Wednesday.

    Maradona – arguably football's greatest ever player – died at the age of 60 after a suspected heart attack, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) confirmed midweek.

    World Cup winner Maradona was discharged from hospital a fortnight ago following brain surgery, having undergone a routine operation for a subdural haematoma after being admitted to hospital due to concerns over anaemia and dehydration.

    Conte came up against Maradona during his time with boyhood club Lecce in Serie A, and he lauded the former Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata head coach following Wednesday's 2-0 Champions League loss to Real Madrid.

    "We are all shedding tears for the loss of a man who wrote football history and will always be an indelible figure in this sport," Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

    "He was the poetry of football. I had the pleasure of playing against him, of marking him, and it still doesn't seem real that he's gone, especially as he was still young. It's very sad."

    Madrid boss Zidane also spoke glowingly of Maradona after the LaLiga champions won at San Siro for the first time in their history.

    Former France international Zidane – also a World Cup winner – added: "It's an enormous loss for the world of football.

    "I have him engrained in my head because of what he did at the 1986 World Cup. I was 14 years old... I have no words. We're all very sad."

    Maradona, the captain and inspiration behind Argentina's World Cup success in 1986 before going on to coach his country at the 2010 showpiece, had been hospitalised just days after turning 60.

    He appeared in a fragile state when he briefly made an appearance as his Gimnasia side played a match on the evening of his birthday last month.

    Maradona won 91 caps for Argentina between 1977 and 1994, scoring 34 goals at international level.

    He started his career with Argentinos Juniors before joining Boca Juniors and went on to play for Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell's Old Boys before returning to Boca in 1995.

    Maradona had the best years of his club career in Italy, playing a massive part in Napoli winning the Serie A title in the 1986-87 and 1989-90 seasons.

    Playmaker Maradona also lifted the UEFA Cup with Napoli in 1989 and he won three trophies during his time at Barca – including the Copa del Rey in 1983.

    Maradona also had stints in charge of Textil Mandiyu, Racing Club, Al-Wasl, Fujairah and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico before being appointed by Gimnasia last year.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.