Opinion: Why using Gareth Bale as a scapegoat hinders Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Following a defeat, Jose Mourinho routinely throws his players under the bus – a bus which he himself has firmly parked at Spurs this season.

One recent casualty of Mourinho’s scapegoating is Gareth Bale, who hasn’t started a game since being hooked in the North London Derby four matches ago, with Mourinho accusing “big players” of “hiding” in that defeat.

The period since has seen Spurs get knocked out of the Europa League by Dinamo Zagreb and manage only one win.

To seemingly blame the defeat on Bale and suggest that a player who has won four Champions Leagues, scoring three goals across the four finals and a successfully converted penalty in a shoot-out, was “hiding” against a mid-table Arsenal side is ludicrous.

This is straight out of the Mourinho handbook for avoiding blame and protecting your ego. The same tactic used in fallouts with Paul Pogba at Manchester United, and Juan Mata at Chelsea. No one can be bigger than Mourinho, whose ego problem is now damaging Spurs.

Across Bale’s 14 Premier League appearances this season he has scored five goals and registered two assists (Transfermarkt), a contribution every other game.

If we delve deeper into the stats, however, we can actually uncover that Bale has only played 566 minutes (Transfermarkt) across those games, which means the Welshman is actually making a contribution every 81 minutes in the league this season, making him one of the most effective players in the country.

To put this into perspective, big names such as Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne, Bruno Fernandes and Jack Grealish have league contribution rates of 115 minutes, 120 minutes, 98 minutes, and 110 minutes respectively (Transfermarkt).

Even Harry Kane, arguably the best player in the league this season, who has played 2546 league minutes, scoring 19 and assisting 13, is making a contribution every 79.5 minutes (Transfermarkt), only very slightly better than that of Bale.

With Spurs struggling, it seems ridiculous that Mourinho has decided to bench one of the most talented players in the league’s history who, despite the narrative that he is slowing down, has still produced the numbers and performances of an elite player.

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