Gareth Bale was used to having it all his way at Tottenham, but his brief cameo against West Ham may have been the way football told him it will be different this time.
- Tottenham slipped a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 against West Ham on Sunday
- Gareth Bale made his comeback in the 72nd minute with a 3-0 lead
- It was his first action since he rejoined the club in the summer
- The Welshman’s involvement was sparse as his side threw away their lead
It was the last thing West Ham’s beleaguered players wanted. They had just spent 72 minutes in the hands of Harry Kane and saw Gareth Bale emerge from his seat on the couch, stripped and ready to show up for his second Tottenham debut.
His hair in a bun and wearing number 9 – 30 days after re-signing – Bale was back home seven years after leaving Real Madrid.
As it turns out, West Ham players and David Moyes shouldn’t have to worry.
Gareth Bale’s first game since returning to Tottenham did not go to plan
Bale was right in the thick of the fight and immediately took rank to take the free kick that enabled his introduction to replace Steven Bergwijn.
His full 35 yards attack was handled easily by Lukasz Fabianski – even by Bale’s sky-high standards, scoring with your first touch from a free kick is unrealistic.
Still, there was a slight disappointment when Bale’s attempt failed to get past Fabianski.
That’s how Tottenham supporters remember Bale. Goals, assists – their own Superman.
The 31-year-old attacker stood out in the 72nd minute and his team led with three goals
He was superhuman when he left in 2013 to become a Galactico – everything he touched turned to gold.
However, things are changing. Indeed, it may be wise for Tottenham fans to temper their expectations of Bale.
At the age of 31, it remains to be seen whether the Wales international can replicate that barrageous performance that made him the most popular player in European football.
The Premier League has certainly not gotten any easier as Bale discovered firsthand on his return to English football.
Bale showed a glimpse of his former self, but his involvement in the game was sparse
Spurs led 3-0 when he came on, holding on to the end of their lives, as West Ham scored twice in quick succession to set up a phenomenal end to the game.
Bale’s involvement was sparse when he emerged, spending most of his time thwarting West Ham’s increasingly dangerous foray forward.
Still, we were still treated to a glimpse of his utter brilliance in injury time, with Bale rushing through Hammers’ defense to see the whites of Fabianski’s eyes – only to shoot wide open when it seemed easier to score.
It was exactly what we remember about Bale. Power, pace and deceit – just the precision that was missing.
The Welshman and his squad threw away their lead when West Ham made a stunning comeback
But then Bale had a cold reminder of how brutal England’s top flight can be.
Tantalizingly close to 4-2; Moments later, Spurs had thrown it all out when Manuel Lanzini thundered home a daring equalizer and shattered Bale’s homecoming.
When Bale left for Spain, he was used to having his way. His 18-minute cameo, maybe the way football tells him it will be different this time.