One of the top soccer stories of February 2013 was the amount of times Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale found the back of the net. The current Barclays Premier League Player of the Month scored on seven occasions during Tottenham's five February contests, and his most impressive tally was likely his final meaningful kick of the month. Was it good enough to top the list found below?
Spoiler alert: Yes. Yes, it was.
Top February 2013 goals for Tottenham Hotspur #5: Bale beats Lyon
On it's own, Bale's game-winner against Lyon isn't all that impressive. It'd even be easy to argue that Lyon goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre should have done better in securing the draw. You have to go back and watch about 50 total minutes of this match to truly appreciate the goal. Bale had shattered Vercoutre's confidence at the end of the first half with a free kick that will get some love later on in this piece, and the Lyon 'keeper was visibly nervous as he watched Bale line up for what was to be the match-winner. The truth is that Vercoutre never had a chance even before Bale's left boot made contact with the ball.
Top February 2013 goals for Tottenham Hotspur #4: Bale burns West Brom
Bale's first game-winner of the month was a display of the winger's athleticism and finishing skill. 23 minutes from time, Bale received a pass a few steps outside of the penalty area. He cut left and sped around West Brom's James Morrison, who never had a real chance of stopping the Welshman, and Bale then rocketed a pinpoint strike that sailed into the top-left corner of the net. This goal also happened to birth the "Lewis Holtby celebrates Gareth Bale goals with a lot of physicality" trend.
Top February 2013 goals for Tottenham Hotspur #3: Dembele saves the day
Bale wasn't Tottenham's lone hero of February. Spurs were in need of a goal in the waning moments of the second leg of their Europa League tie against Lyon, and once (rumored to be) Manchester United target Moussa Dembele had possession of the ball in the attacking third. Dembele juked around Lyon's Clément Grenier before launching a far-post strike that Vercoutre couldn't reach. That goal put Spurs through to the next round of this season's Europa League competition, where they will take on Inter.
Top February 2013 goals for Tottenham Hotspur #2: Bale's free kick magic
This one could go down as the prettiest goal Bale ever scores while in Tottenham Lilywhite. From about 35 yards out and with Tottenham's home tie versus Lyon approaching halftime, Bale struck what baseball analysts might refer to as a "knuckle-swerve," curling the ball into the only spot of goal that couldn't be covered by Vercoutre. While I don't know Vercoutre personally, it's safe to assume that Bale haunted the French 'keeper's dreams for at least a night or two.
Top February 2013 goals for Tottenham Hotspur #1: Saved the best for last
Bale's final goal of February was also his finest. The sequence began with under a minute to go before stoppage time when West Ham's Joey O'Brien collided with Bale in the midfield. Referee Howard Webb gave Spurs the advantage, and, after a few seconds of protest, Bale rose back to his feet and accepted a pass. He took a few touches to put the ball on his left foot and to also set up his shot, and Bale then fired off a gorgeous strike that landed in the top corner of goal. As if the goal itself wasn't enough, Bale, several teammates and manager Andre Villas-Boas added to it with one of the top celebrations you'll see this season.
Remember when it was rumored back in the fall that AVB had lost his squad?
Zac has been covering Tottenham Hotspur, Major League Soccer, RBNY, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.