LONDON – Gareth Bale turned back time for Tottenham, while Chelsea and Manchester United seemed happy just to play out time.
Bale looked like the star player who left Tottenham for Real Madrid in 2013 as he scored twice in the club’s 4-0 win over Burnley, prompting Spurs manager Jose Mourinho to pronounce him “better than ever" though still not suitable to start week-in, week-out.
While Bale found his form, Harvey Barnes had his good run cut short by a knee injury in Leicester's 3-1 loss to Arsenal. He is likely to need an operation and miss six weeks.
Chelsea kept its unbeaten record under manager Thomas Tuchel in a 0-0 draw with Man United as both teams appeared reluctant to risk losing one point in the hope of getting three.
Liverpool put a stop to the run of four straight league defeats which effectively finished off its title chances, but a 2-0 win over last-place Sheffield United was still short of Liverpool's best.
BALE'S COMEBACK TRAIL
Bale opened the scoring after 68 seconds and the Welsh forward added another early in the second half, both off assists from Son Heung-min. Back on loan from Spain, it was his first two-goal game since 2019.
“Now he is better than ever,” Mourinho said. “It’s not just about the two goals he scored, it’s fundamentally about his physical performance." However, Mourinho warned that Bale would still have to rest for some upcoming games to manage his form and fitness.