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Spurs star: Bale winner was a hammer blow for Arsenal

Scott Parker Scott Parker

Tuesday, February 26, 2013
12:02 PM

Scott Parker says Gareth Bale’s late winner at Upton Park will have been a hammer blow for Arsenal ahead of Sunday’s north London derby.

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Spurs looked set to drop points against Sam Allardyce’s West Ham last night, trailing 2-1 in the east end with 15 minutes to go.

However, Gylfi Sigurdsson bundled home an equaliser and Bale hit a 30-yard injury-time winner to secure the Lilywhites’ third successive league win – a strike that would have been met with dismay at the Emirates, according to Parker.

“It’s deflating,” said the midfielder. “I’ve been in that position when you’re watching the scores come up and it says ‘last-minute goal’ and you’re praying it’s the other team – and it isn’t, it’s the team that you don’t want to score.

“It is deflating as a player on the opposite end, and I’m sure the Arsenal players are like that.

“I’m sure they’ll be thinking they need to concentrate on themselves and try to win the game against us - and if they win it goes down to a point so it’s going to be tight. The fourth spot isn’t over yet and we know that in the changing room.

“Tottenham fans and Tottenham as a club have probably always been in the shadow of Arsenal a little bit. I don’t know if the pendulum’s turning - Arsenal are still a top club and a top side - but certainly we’ve narrowed the gap.

“I think we’ve got players in our squad that Arsenal would want any day of the week. I’d like to think that we’re going to go there and give it a good game. It’s a big match for us, if we go and win we can push away a little bit, so it will be important.”

A Spurs victory at White Hart Lane on Sunday would take Andre Villas-Boas’ side seven points clear of Arsenal, but Parker says the players are fully aware that they blew a 10-point lead over the Gunners last season after losing the derby at the end of February.

“You’d like to think it [seven points] would be enough but you never say never in football, and last year proved that a little bit,” he said. “We had a very comfortable gap last year and then Arsenal clawed it back, so you wouldn’t want to count anything.

“It would put us in a good position but we’ve got some tough games still to play, and obviously the Europa League, so we need to stay focused and keep going.

“[What happened last year], it’s a focus and it’s something we’re aware of. We’ve worked really hard this season to get where we are, and we can’t afford to fall off it.”

Once again, Spurs’ victory over West Ham was inspired by the brilliance of Bale, who took his stunning tally to eight goals in his last six games for his club.

“What can you say? Words can’t really describe how well he’s playing at the moment,” said Parker. “Yet again he’s stepped up and got the three points - he was fantastic.

“What’s he doing this season that’s different? I suppose he’s just scoring critical goals that make headlines. The goals he’s scoring are last-minute winners that are winning games for us, so they’re the goals that everyone writes about and I suppose that’s putting him right at the forefront, and rightly so. He’s a fantastic player.

“I think we are helping him to do it. We’re a team and as much as Gareth is obviously playing outstandingly at the moment, when you have a world-class player like Gareth then world-class players step up - and that’s what he’s doing.

“If you ask a few of the other lads who are in those positions, I’m sure they’d like to be getting on the scoresheet as well, but I’m sure we’ll chip in. At the moment it’s obviously Gareth and we’ll take it.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs

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Tottenham Hotspur

Nickname: The Lilywhites.

Ground: White Hart Lane (capacity 36,310).

Founded: 1882.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1951, 1961

Second Division: 1920, 1950.

Southern League: 1900.

FA Cup: 1901, 1921, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1981, 1982, 1991.

League Cup: 1971, 1973, 1999, 2008.

Uefa Cup: 1972, 1984.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1963.

Leading goalscorers: Jimmy Greaves, 379.

Leading appearances: Steve Perryman, 854.