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MATCH REPORT

Bale force winds blow away Canaries

A Gareth Bale double was enough to see off newly promoted Norwich City and help close the gap at the top of the table to seven points.

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Norwich City 0

Tottenham Hotspur 2

(Bale – 55, 67)

A Gareth Bale double was enough to see off newly promoted Norwich City and help close the gap at the top of the table to seven points.

Both goals came in a lively second-half encounter between the two top flight sides but the chasm in class was evident from the first kick to the last.

Younes Kaboul returned to the starting XI after missing the last two games through suspension and injury at the expense of Ledley King, who was rested after playing the full 90 minutes against Chelsea on Thursday.

Despite the comprehensive win, it was the Canaries that looked to break the deadlock early on, Steve Morison hitting a dipping effort straight at Brad Friedel after just 30 seconds.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Bale curled an effort straight at John Ruddy and the Welshman saw a 20-yard effort deflected just wide while Kyle Walker blasted off target after some good work around the Norwich 18-year-box.

Spurs continued to dominate in the first-half but couldn’t hit the back of the net, Bale, lively as always, did well to rob Russell Martin of possession but smashed his close-range effort over before Rafael Van der Vaart picked out Emmanuel Adebayor with an exquisite defence splitting pass but the Togolese front-man couldn’t make good enough contact to beat the ensuing Ruddy.

The Norwich shot-stopper was on hand once again to deny Bale and despite good efforts from Van der Vaart and Adebayor leading into half-time but it remained goalless at the break.

Spurs continued where they left off in the second-half, Bale again testing the Norwich goal but fired wide while at the other end, Andrew Surman curled a free-kick just wide of the post.

However, after 55 minutes the breakthrough finally came. Scott Parker fed Van der Vaart who, in turn, picked out Adebayor with an exquisite pass.

The powerful striker hot-footed through the Norwich defence, holding up the ball brilliantly before releasing Bale who fired low under Ruddy to make it 1-0.

Spurs continued to press for the knock-out blow and it came 12 minutes after the opener, the flying Welsh winger unleashed through the middle by Luka Modric who proceeded to breeze past Zak Whitbread before elegantly clipping over Ruddy.

The winner proved to be too much for Norwich to handle and as much as they pressed to carve a wayback into the game, Kaboul and William Gallas proved supreme in the back-four, shutting out everything that was thrown their way.

Adebayor lashed high and wide late-on, Modric fired straight at Ruddy, while the marauding trio of Bale, Walker and Danny Rose continued to pose problems to the home-sides defence but without really testing the Canaries goal.

It proved to matter little as the two-goals were more than enough for Spurs to capitalise on the points dropped by those around them.

What Redknapp had to say.

“If there’s one game to go and we’re sitting with a chance to win the league,” Redknapp told Sky Sports HD1 when quizzed about when he would consider Tottenham title contenders.

“Man United and Man City look so strong, I wouldn’t like to pick up a winner out of those two.

“We’d like to get back in the Champions League and that won’t be easy.”

Man of the match

Every player was absolutely fantastic in the 2-0 win, with not one of the starters putting a foot wrong, but the man of the match has got to go to Gareth Bale. The Welshman made the difference on the evening and his two goals was a testament to the class the runs through his veins. His second goal especially showed that, if worst did come to worst, he could play as a striker.

Moment of the match

Norwich City captain Grant Holt was lucky to remain on the field after two minutes, his elbow appearing to strike the face of Benoit Assou-Ekotto. With Wigan Athletics’ Connor Sammon sent off for much less in the 5-0 defeat to Manchester United on Monday, the Englishman was fortunate that referee Michael Oliver didn’t produce a red card following the incident. 

Ben McAleer

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