Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale (R) scores his second goal against Newcastle United during their Premier League encounter at White Hart Lane yesterday.Photo: AFP
Gareth Bale maintained his sublime form with a brilliant brace to inspire Tottenham Hotspur's 2-1 victory over Newcastle United at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Bale added to the growing belief that he is currently the best player in the Premier League with a superb free-kick to open the scoring early in the first half.
The Wales winger then bagged the late winner after Yoan Gouffran had equalised with his first Premier League goal for Newcastle.
Bale's heroics extended Tottenham's unbeaten run to 10 Premier League games and lifted Andre Villas-Boas's side into third place, although Chelsea will reclaim that position with a win over Wigan later on Saturday.
Villas-Boas had admitted earlier this week that he fears Bale would be tempted to leave Spurs if the club don't qualify for next season's Champions League.
To achieve that target Villas-Boas needs Bale to remain at his best, so he would have been delighted with his winger's early impact against Newcastle.
With just 75 seconds gone, Bale eluded his marker and fired over a low cross that Clint Dempsey couldn't quite reach.
That close shave failed to shake Newcastle out of their lethargy and Fabricio Coloccini, caught out of position, conceded a free-kick in a dangerous area after a trip on Dempsey in the fifth minute.
Bale stood over the ball sizing up his options before unleashing a dipping strike that flashed past Newcastle's wall and beat goalkeeper Tim Krul at his near post.
That was Bale's ninth goal in his last 12 Premier League appearances for Tottenham and should have provided the hosts with the perfect springboard to finish off Alan Pardew's team.