Gareth Bale scored his first Premier League hat-trick since returning to Tottenham in a comprehensive 4-0 win over Sheffield United.
Ryan Mason chose an attacking lineup for Tottenham’s return to Premier League action following their Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City the previous weekend. All four of Bale, Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dele Alli started against the already relegated Blades.
Two members of that attack combined for the first chance of the game. Son clipped the ball over the Blades backline into Kane’s path. The striker forced a reaction save from Aaron Ramsdale.
Another ball over the top, this time from Giovani Lo Celso, nearly created a further chance. Sergio Reguilon tried to sneak in behind to meet it but Ramsdale managed to get there.
At the other end, David McGoldrick made an interception, but his shot had no power and drifted wide.
Next to take aim for Tottenham was Bale, who charged down the right wing before cutting inside. However, he fired his effort over the bar.
Ramsdale was certainly the busier of the two goalkeepers and made a smart stop to deny Son. The England youth keeper was slightly unsighted as the South Korean let fly but still managed to push it away.
Chances were flowing freely for Spurs and Chris Basham had to make a goalline clearance to deny Kane.
Spurs’ pressure finally paid off after 35 minutes, when Bale gave them the lead. Serge Aurier noticed a run from Bale, who latched onto the full-back’s dink over the defence. The Welshman got there just before Ramsdale and lifted it into the net from a wide angle.
There was a scare for United early in the second half, when John Fleck stood on Lo Celso. VAR looked at it as a potential red card offence, but there was no punishment.
If escaping from that was one sigh of relief for the visitors, another came not much later. Once again, they were caught by a run in behind, with Son latching on to a pass from Eric Dier.
Racing through one on one with Ramsdale, he waited for his moment and fired past the keeper. However, VAR found he had been fractionally offside when the ball was played.
Tottenham race away
As the game passed the hour-mark, though, Tottenham did extend their lead. Son pounced to set up a counter attack, feeding the ball into Bale’s path. He charged clean through on goal before providing an emphatic finish for his second of the night.
Still playing for their pride, as they have been for a few weeks now, the Blades managed their first shot on target a few minutes later. Oliver Norwood tried placing it from outside the box but it was comfortable for Hugo Lloris.
Instead, it was Tottenham who scored next – as Bale completed his hat-trick.
Aurier skipped inside from the right wing and deftly played it into Bale’s stride. The Real Madrid loanee hit the target to complete his treble.
If Bale had stolen the headlines with his hat-trick, the best goal of the night was scored by someone else. Son made it 4-0 inside the final 15 minutes and in quite some style.
Receiving the ball on the left-hand edge of the area, he cleverly evaded his marker and curled an effort into the opposite top corner.
Yet to get in on the act was Kane, who blazed wide with a first-time effort within the final five minutes.
There was also a last-minute chance for Reguilon, who aimed wide with a relatively simple chance.
It wasn’t to be with those last two chances, but it certainly didn’t matter for the team. Their big win lifted them into fifth place, albeit with their two closest challengers for a Europa League spot having a game in hand each.