How good is Gareth Bale?

Andre Villas-Boas feels that Gareth Bale is one of the best player in the world. TKTG takes a look at the expert opinions and analysis on just how good Bale really is?

Gareth Bale is comparable to Cristiano Ronaldo, says André Villas-Boas

(Getty)

(Getty)

André Villas-Boas hailed Gareth Bale as “incredible” after a stunning performance for Tottenham against Lyon in which two superb free-kicks earned his side a 2-1 lead going into the second leg of their Europa League knockout tie.

On a night on which Liverpool risked elimination from the competitionafter a 2-0 defeat at Zenit St Petersburg, Bale yet again proved the match-winner for Tottenham. He has scored each of the club’s past six goals, this victory adding to those he delivered against Newcastle United and West Bromwich and the draw he salvaged at Norwich with a run from inside his own half.

On Thursday night Bale opened the scoring with a 35-yard effort in first-half injury-time and secured the win in the dying seconds with a 25-yard strike which again left the Lyon goalkeeper, Rémy Vercoutre, clasping thin air.

“He’s incredible,” Villas-Boas said. “Not only his all-round game but this ability that he has to strike these free-kicks. The ball gains so much power when he strikes it and it changes direction very easily. Today we saw not only two great moments but three, because their goal was absolutely fantastic too. Gareth was fantastic.”

Villas-Boas claimed that comparisons to Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo were appropriate and admitted there is now a sense of expectation whenever Bale is standing over a set piece.

Asked if the Welshman was comparable to Ronaldo, he said: “Yes, he’s going through a great individual moment, scoring lots of goals for the team.

The Lyon manager, Rémi Garde, also believes that Bale’s ability from set pieces ranks him among the best in the world and agreed that there are similarities with Ronaldo.

“If you mean in the context of the way they take free-kicks, I think you could make a decent comparison, if you’re referring to the way the ball dips and drops over the wall. We used to have a player at Lyon called Juninho and we always used to think with him that every time we got a free-kick in that area it was like a penalty. We’ve seen tonight that it’s a little bit like that with Bale and Tottenham.”

Source: The Guardian

Not yet! Wenger says you cannot compare developing Bale to Ronaldo and Messi

(Getty)

(Getty)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels it is too early to compare Tottenham midfielder Gareth Bale with the best in the world, but admits the Welshman has come a very long way since the raw teenager he scouted at Southampton.

Wenger maintains he has no regrets over that decision, but accepts Bale has developed into a player of exceptional quality.

The Arsenal manager said: ‘Bale has the potential to develop and become the players that you compare him to.

‘However, Messi has won two or three Champions League, a few championships, scored 95 goals in a year, so let’s not go too quick.

‘You are always very quick here, but let’s slow down a little bit.’

Wenger stands by the decisions he made over the Southampton academy duo.

‘It was Walcott and Bale, and we were at some stage on (about) taking the two if possible, but we could get Walcott and I am very happy we got him,’ Wenger said.

Is Wenger bitter or it too early to judge Bale?

Source: Daily Mail

Zonal Marking on Tottenham 2 Newcastle 1 (Bale scored twice)

(Getty)

(Getty)

Bale quality

With the sheer hyperbole surrounding Gareth Bale in recent weeks, it’s sometimes difficult to gauge his actual level of ability. This game was an interesting demonstration of his skillset, and while Bale isn’t quite challenging Lionel Messi for the status of Europe’s best player, it’s clear that the Welshman has reached a level where the entire tactical battle within a game revolves around him.

In basic terms, this wasn’t necessarily a match suited to his strengths. Nine of Bale’s eleven league goals before this match had came away from home, which may be a simple statistical quirk, but it tallies with stylistic and tactical factors. Bale’s best when attacking directly on the break, and therefore likes playing against an opposition that comes forward, leaving spaces at the back. (It’s fascinating that Ryan Giggs, the player Bale is most frequently compared to, for reasons of position and nationality, is the only one of the Premier League’s top 100 goalscorers to have scored more away goals than at home). At White Hart Lane, with a bottom-half side that generally sit deep on their travels, Bale’s space was likely to be restricted.

Crosses?

Gutierrez did a decent job in the first half, although Bale outfoxed him in the early stages, playing a quick one-two to get down the line, and whip in a superb cross. Although this was encouraging, it wasn’t necessarily where Bale wanted to be.

…underlined the fact that taking advantage of Bale’s crossing might not be the best use of his talents without a proper central striker. After all, another peculiar feature of Bale’s game is his relative lack of assists. He’s only managed one all season (level with Tim Krul, for example), despite the fact he’s created 50 chances for teammates.

Again, this might be a statistical irrelevance – and critics of the ‘assist’ statistic will use this as evidence of its limitations – but it’s the second time in three seasons Bale’s barely created any goals. He only managed one in 2010/11, which is astonishing for a winger who was later named as PFA Player of the Season, although in 2011/12, he got into double figures.

Central role

For the second half, with the score at 1-1, Villas-Boas switched Bale into a more central position. Now, given more license to drift around the pitch into pockets of space, Tottenham’s play improved significantly. Their tempo was higher and their passes were more frequently forward – they no longer spent too much time working out how to pass to a double-marked player.

Still, the point about breaking into space remains – his second goal came from a direct run on the break, and his best moments came in the final 15 minutes when Newcastle pushed forward, looking for the equaliser. For all Bale’s quality, he doesn’t – yet – have the ability to drift into pockets of space amongst a packed opposition defence – in those situations, he is probably best off starting wide, trying to find space on the outside. Villas-Boas decision to start him wide made sense on paper, but he brought him inside to great effect.

Source: Zonal Marking

Gareth Bale Comparsions

(Getty)

(Getty)

First 99 games for both Gareth Bale and Ronaldo in the Premiership.

Bale – 21 goals Ronaldo – 19 goals
Bale – 13 assists Ronaldo – 8 assists
Bale – 175 chances created Ronaldo – 138 chances created
Bale – 2975 passes Ronaldo – 2581 passes
Bale – 166 tackles Ronaldo – 104 tackles

Sky Sports: break up per season:

Season One (age 18) 

RONALDO (2003/04)

Games played Mins played Goals Assists Wins Draws Losses
29 1548 4 4 18 3 8

BALE (2007/08)

Games played Mins played Goals Assists Wins Draws Losses
8 615 2 0 0 4 4

Season Two (age 19)

RONALDO (2004/05)

Games played Mins played Goals Assists Wins Draws Losses
33 2424 5 4 18 11 4

BALE (2008/09)

Games played Mins played Goals Assists Wins Draws Losses
16 993 0 0 0 5 11

Season Three (age 20)

RONALDO (2005/06)

Games played Mins played Goals Assists Wins Draws Losses
33 2284 9 6 21 7 5

BALE (2009/10)

Games played Mins played Goals Assists Wins Draws Losses
23 1707 3 5 13 4 6

Season Four (age 21) 

RONALDO (2006/07)

Games played Mins played Goals Assists Wins Draws Losses
34 2790 17 8 25 4 5

BALE (2010/11)

Games played Mins played Goals Assists Wins Draws Losses
30 2451 7 1 11 13 6

Season Five (age 22) 

RONALDO (2007/08)

Games played Mins played Goals Assists Wins Draws Losses
34 2747 31 6 25 6 3

BALE (2011/12)

Games played Mins played Goals Assists Wins Draws Losses
36 3217 9 10 19 9 8

Season Six (age 23)

RONALDO (2008/09)

Games played Mins played Goals Assists Wins Draws Losses
33 2749 18 6 25 5 3

BALE (2012/13 so far)

Games played Mins played Goals Assists Wins Draws Losses
22 1934 13 1 12 6 4

Source: Sky Sports

vs Theo Walcott (via @indexfootball)

(IndexFootball)

(IndexFootball)

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One Comment on “How good is Gareth Bale?”

  1. anomitrasaha February 15, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

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