Bale nets hat trick as Tottenham trounce Sheffield United 4-0

LONDON, May 3: Gareth Bale scored a hat trick as Tottenham stayed in the Champions League qualification race with a 4-0 win over relegated Sheffield United on Sunday.
Bale claimed his first treble since returning on loan from Real Madrid for this season, and Son Heung-min also netted, as Tottenham rose to fifth place — five points behind Chelsea with four games left to play.
Bale took his Premier League tally to eight goals in the last eight games, but with that must come a sense of what might have been this season.
Bale was under-used by former manager Jose Mourinho, even when he had regained peak condition. Playing with freedom in a front four with Harry Kane, Son and Dele Alli, Spurs were a constant threat and a far cry from the pragmatic style that dogged Mourinho’s era.
It may have come too late to gatecrash the top four this season but playing like this makes them a strong bet to finish in a Europa League spot under interim manager Ryan Mason.
The onslaught started early as Son forced Aaron Ramsdale into a smart stop, with the Blades goalkeeper getting a strong hand to a low shot that was heading into the bottom corner.
Kane, on the march for a third Premier League golden boot, uncharacteristically missed two chances he would normally convert, first seeing a shot blocked after slaloming into the area and then sending Sergio Reguilon’s pullback embarrassingly over.
But Spurs finally went ahead in the 36th minute with a moment of quality.
Bale broke from deep to latch on to Serge Aurier’s ball over the top and then sent it past Ramsdale with a cute finish with the outside of his boot.
The Wales international, whose future next season remains unclear, completed his hat trick with another moment of quality, drilling in a low effort after a fine team move.
Bale’s treble was of a high standard, but Son may lay claim to scoring the goal of the night with 13 minutes remaining.
Son received the ball on the left from Steven Bergwijn, cut inside and sent a curling effort from 20 yards in off the far post.
Gunners beat Newcastle
Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave manager Mikel Arteta food for thought after scoring on his return to the team ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League semifinal match against Villarreal.
Aubameyang managed just five minutes as a substitute in the first-leg defeat by the Spanish club after recovering from malaria, but he played 77 minutes and scored in Sunday’s 2-0 Premier League win at Newcastle to signal his readiness to play a part in the second leg.
However, Arteta’s satisfaction at his captain’s contribution was tempered by the loss of defender David Luiz, who limped off at St James’ Park with a hamstring problem.
Arsenal took an early lead through Mohamed Elneny’s first Premier League goal and never looked back, although they had to wait until the 66th minute to wrap up a routine victory when Aubameyang rounded off a superbly crafted move by dispatching Gabriel Martinelli’s cross at the far post.
Newcastle’s afternoon took a further turn for the worse in the final minute of normal time when defender Fabian Schar, who had joined the fray as a 72nd-minute substitute, was sent off for a late challenge on Martinelli. (AP)

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