Tottenham forward Gareth Bale is facing yet another spell on the sidelines after injuring his calf in last week’s EFL Cup quarter-final win over Stoke City.
The Wales international did not return for the second half and subsequently missed the 1-1 draw with Wolves on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho expects to be without the Real Madrid loanee for “a few weeks”, potentially seeing him miss up to six matches at an important time of the season.
It is the latest in a long line of injury setbacks for Bale, who was hoping to revive his career at Tottenham after joining on a season’s loan from Madrid in September.
But how much of a miss will the 31-year-old actually be for Mourinho in his quest to win some rare silverware for Spurs?
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) December 23, 2020
YET TO COMPLETE 90 MINS
Bale has played in 11 of Tottenham’s 24 matches in all competitions since joining 14 weeks ago – four of those appearances coming in the Premier League – having arrived unfit.
He has started eight times in total and has yet to complete the full 90 minutes of a single match he has featured in during that time.
The Welshman has been on the field for a combined 599 minutes this term – less than seven whole matches – with 161 of those minutes coming in the English top flight.
Of the 22 players to have featured for Spurs in the league this term, only Joe Rodon (101), Dele Alli (74) and Carlos Vinicius (12) have played fewer combined minutes.
10y 44d – Excluding qualifiers, Gareth Bale’s penalty for Spurs was his first away goal in UEFA European competition for the club since scoring a hat-trick at the San Siro against Inter Milan in the Champions League in October 2010, 10 years & 44 days ago. Equaliser. pic.twitter.com/drmtwyHzmL
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 3, 2020
NO LONGER PROLIFIC
Bale has found the net three times in his second spell with Tottenham, the first of those coming in the 2-1 league win over Brighton and Hove Albion on November 1.
That goal, 200 seconds after he had entered the field, came seven years and 166 days after his previous strike for the club against another of his former sides in Southampton.
He also netted in a 3-3 draw with LASK in the Europa League earlier this month and in last week’s 3-1 EFL Cup win over Stoke prior to sustaining his latest injury.
That gives him a return of one goal every 199.7 minutes in 2020-21, or one every 161 minutes in the Premier League.
Bale is one of seven players to have scored for Spurs in the league this term, with the likes of Vinicius, Alli, Erik Lamela (194 minutes) and Steven Bergwijn (592) yet to do so.
The goal you’ve waited seven years for…
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 1, 2020
SIGNS OF ENCOURAGEMENT
The Southampton academy product has created seven chances for team-mates but has yet to register a single assist this campaign.
However, the two big chances Bale has created in the league – defined by Opta as a situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score – ranks favourably.
Son Heung-min (12 big chances) and Harry Kane (10) are the only Tottenham players to have created more, despite Bale’s lack of minutes.
Bale also ranks favourably in the dribbles metric, his 57.14 per cent success rate in the league bettered only by Moussa Sissoko (60 per cent), Tanguy Ndombele (68.75) and Lamela (85.71) among those to have attempted more than one dribble.
The versatile attacker has certainly shown signs that he can still offer a lot to Spurs in comparison to their other wide players, then, but keeping him fit is proving to be a big challenge for Mourinho.