Gareth Bale managed a hat-trick as Tottenham kept their low Champions League hopes alive by beating Sheffield United 4-0.
Bale won his first Spurs hat-trick since 2012 with a trio of brilliant finishes to place his side in fifth place, five points behind Chelsea with four games to go.
Son Heung-min also scored a nice goal as Ryan Mason’s men revolted against a Blades team whose relegation fate has already been sealed.
Bale was unplayable and brought his Premier League goal tally to eight in the last eight games, but that must give some idea of what could have been this season.
Bale was alarmingly underused by former boss Jose Mourinho, even when he had regained his optimal condition, and playing with freedom in a front four with Harry Kane, Son and Dele Alli, Spurs were a constant threat and far removed from the pragmatic style that lay in the era of Mourinho.
He may have arrived too late to crush the top four this season, but playing like that makes it a strong bet to finish at a place in the Europa League.
The offense started early when Son forced Aaron Ramsdale to make a smart save, with the Blades goalie getting a strong hand on a low shot that went to the bottom corner.
Kane, marching for a third Premier League Golden Boot, unusually missed two chances he would normally convert, first seeing a blocked shot after slaloming through the area, then skiing Sergio Reguilon’s recoil embarrassingly.
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But Spurs finally took the lead in the 36th minute with a quality moment.
Bale broke deep to grab onto Serge Aurier’s ball over it, then sent it past Ramsdale with a cute finish with the outside of his boot.
The Welsh international was back in the starting lineup after missing the Carabao Cup final and scoring his 12th goal in all competitions.
Spurs cursed VAR twice in the opening seven minutes of the second half.
Peter Bankes first ruled that John Fleck had not committed violent conduct when he appeared to stomp on Giovani Lo Celso’s face, then VAR ruled out a goal from Son, judging the South Korean’s armpit in position offside when he ran towards Toby Alderweireld. Ball.
However, the hosts weren’t turned down for long as they doubled their lead just past the hour mark with a devastating counterattack.
After clearing a Blades corner, Son avoided two challenges and sent Bale clear on goal, with the Welshman delivering an emphatic finish in the top corner.
Bale, whose future next season remains uncertain, then completed his hat trick with another quality moment, drilling with low effort after a nice team move that involved Alli and Aurier.
BallThe hat-trick was top-notch, but Son can claim to score the night’s goal with 13 minutes remaining.
Son received the ball to Steven Bergwijn’s left, cut inside and sent a curling effort 20 yards from the far post.