Bale brace keeps Spurs on the pace
Gareth Bale tore Norwich apart with a brilliant brace as Tottenham moved seven points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City with an easy 2-0 win at Carrow Road.
After laying siege to the Norwich goal in the first half, Spurs finally found the opener 10 minutes after the break when Bale picked up Emmanuel Adebayor's pass to drive under John Ruddy.
Bale then latched on to Luka Modric's pass to sprint 45 yards before lifting the ball over the on-rushing Norwich goalkeeper with a sublime finish to kill off the match 12 minutes later. The performance may have been slightly ropey in the first-half, but the display from Bale highlights just why Spurs are proving that they should be deemed credible title challengers.
With Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool all drawing over the past 24 hours, Tottenham had the perfect chance to put themselves within striking distance of the summit. Bale drew saves from Ruddy on two occasions after terrorising Ritchie De Laet with his searing pace.
Bale slammed a deflected shot just wide, but he was soon presented with another chance thanks to an error from Russell Martin. The Welshman nicked the ball off the dallying defender and charged through clear at goal but he could only blast over.
A superb 50-yard ball from Rafael van der Vaart sent Adebayor free. The striker edged the ball past the on-rushing Ruddy, but he could not recover it to tap home and the ball went out of play. Another Spurs attack came moments later when Bale got on the end of Modric's through-ball but Ruddy pulled off a good save.
William Gallas slipped on the edge of the box, bringing down Andrew Surman and earning himself a booking as Norwich began the second half with more confidence. Surman picked himself up and curled a low shot that drifted inches wide, with Brad Friedel scrambling for his far post.
Spurs took the lead 10 minutes in to the second half. Van der Vaart picked out Adebayor in the box, he held the ball up and fended off three Norwich defenders before squaring to Bale who got the ball out from under his feet to shoot under Ruddy after being left unmarked 12 yards out.
Adebayor converted Benoit Assou-Ekotto's cross soon after but the Togo striker was ruled out for offside. Bale grabbed his second of the game to make it 2-0 in the 67th minute. Scott Parker laid the ball to Modric, who sent the Welshman galloping through on a 45-yard dash. Bale kept his composure, dispatching the coolest of chips over an on-rushing Ruddy.
Adebayor squared for Modric as Tottenham looked for a third but the Croatian could only muster a weak shot that Ruddy gathered easily. Martin headed wide in injury time as Norwich looked for a consolation, but it never came and Spurs played the rest of the match out comfortably for a vital three points.