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Gareth Bale celebrates for Tottenham against Sheffield United
Gareth Bale celebrates for Tottenham against Sheffield United

Gareth Bale surpassed 50 goals in the Premier League as his hat-trick saw Tottenham keep their top-four hopes alive with a 4-0 win over Sheffield United.

With Chelsea having beaten Fulham on Saturday, the onus was on Spurs to claim three points against the relegated Blades to boost their Champions League ambitions, especially after seventh-place Liverpool saw their game at Manchester United postponed due to anti-Glazer protests by home fans.

Bale put the beaten EFL Cup finalists ahead with a deft finish in the first half before bringing up his half-century in the competition with an emphatic strike after good work from Son Heung-min.

The Real Madrid loanee completed his hat-trick with a low strike from the edge of the box before Son completed the rout with an excellent curling effort.

The visitors have now won just once in their past 26 Premier League games in London and saw goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale set a competition record of 27 consecutive away starts without keeping a clean sheet.

After a quiet opening, Son was denied by a fine Ramsdale save before Harry Kane shot low towards the right-hand corner only for Chris Basham to clear.

Sheffield United had begun to grow into the game when they were undone by a brilliant chipped pass from Serge Aurier, which allowed Bale to flick the ball left-footed over Ramsdale's head.

John Fleck was arguably lucky to escape punishment when he caught Giovani Lo Celso in the face with his studs when the Spurs midfielder was on the ground early in the second half.

Son thought he had doubled the lead after running onto a simple Toby Alderweireld long pass and blasting a shot beyond Ramsdale, but the goal was disallowed for a fractional offside.

Bale did make it 2-0, though, the Wales star rifling a strike into the top-right corner for his 50th goal in England's top flight after Son led the break from a Sheffield United corner.

His second Premier League hat-trick was completed eight minutes later as he wrong-footed Ramsdale with a crisp strike after Aurier teed him up on the edge of the penalty area.

Son added gloss to the scoreline with a superb strike that went in off the right-hand post, having earlier reached 10 league assists for the second season in a row.

What does it mean? Spurs can still believe in top-four chase

The result left Spurs five points behind fourth-place Chelsea with just four matches remaining, meaning they could yet snatch a Champions League spot.

However, with West Ham and Liverpool both able to climb above them should they win their games in hand, Spurs' chances of a return to Europe's top competition still appear slim.

For Sheffield United, who stay bottom on just 17 points, the season cannot end quickly enough.

Brilliant Bale

Bale's first Premier League treble since December 2012 highlighted the threat he still possesses in the attacking third – a threat too seldom seen for Spurs this season.

Still, if he can sustain such form over the final four games of the season and lead Spurs back into the Champions League, there will be few complaints from fans.

Brewster needs a booster

Rhian Brewster has now played 25 times in the Premier League this season without scoring, and his performance here made it easy to see why.

His only shot in a lifeless first-half showing was a speculative attempt that swerved closest to the corner flag, and he managed only 10 touches before being hauled off at the break.

Key Opta Stats:

- Spurs have won five of their last six Premier League home games (L1), one more than they managed across their first 11 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this season (W4 D3 L4). 
- Only Manchester City (8) have won more home games in the top-flight in 2021 than Spurs (6).
- All nine of Bale's Premier League goals this season have come at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the most goals by a player with 100% of them coming at a single venue in the competition in 2020-21. 
- Ryan Mason is the third consecutive Tottenham manager to win their first two Premier League games after Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino, with Tim Sherwood the last boss failing to do so for the club.
- Son (16 goals, 10 assists) joined Harry Kane and Bruno Fernandes as one of three players to both score and assist 10+ goals in the Premier League this season. Kane and Son are the first team-mates to do so in the same campaign since Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane (2018-19).

What's next?

Spurs head to Leeds and Sheffield United host Crystal Palace next Saturday.

Tags

Tottenham HotspurSheffield UnitedPremier League

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