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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Villas-Boas: Bale 'on another level'

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas believes Gareth Bale's improvement shows no signs of abating after the Welshman's latest wonder goal secured a dramatic 3-2 victory at West Ham.

• Blog: Spurs not a one-man team

Bale's incredible last-gasp winner at Upton Park and his equally superb first-half opener capped another scintillating performance as Spurs moved ahead of Chelsea and into third spot in the Premier League.

And Villas-Boas was unsurprisingly gushing in his praise of Tottenham's star man, telling Sky Sports: "He is unbelievable, he's such a super talent. I think we have been able to see him this season in another level and he is making the difference every single game.

"Gareth has been world class for some time now. Players like this are able to assume responsibilities at these moments. We see him getting the ball in midfield, being fouled, getting up and lining up to score the winning goal. He is tremendous, for sure.

"It is the responsibility of the manager to get the best out of his players and when you see him so joyful on the pitch, the rewards come to the team."

The modest Bale did his best to play down his latest match-winning display as he tried to deflect attention from his own brilliance by claiming the Upton Park win had been a team effort. But he appreciated the significance of the triumph ahead of Sunday's North London derby against Arsenal.

"We knew the result yesterday [Chelsea losing against Manchester City] gave us a massive chance to get into third spot," he said. "We had a lot of chances, especially off corners, but the most important thing is to get the three points again. It was a massive victory for us.

"It's not about me, it's about the team and we know we have a massive game on Sunday now. Arsenal are a great team and we want to get the three points to keep our Champions League hopes alive."

Villas-Boas was also turning his thoughts towards Sunday's showdown with Arsenal, where his side get the chance to establish a seven point lead over their local rivals with just ten games left to play this season.

"It is a North London derby, so there will be plenty of passion and if we can get seven points ahead, it will be a nice cushion," Villas-Boas said. "It might not be enough to say Arsenal have been put away, but hopefully we can get the win and at least gain that lead.

"We just have to keep getting points. The distance is not very big for us to second place, but we face Arsenal on Sunday and it is a big opportunity to build a distance to them. We want to put people away. Everton are nine points behind, Arsenal are four. Hopefully we can put bigger distance between ourselves and Chelsea at the weekend."

West ham boss Sam Allardyce bemoaned Matt Taylor's miss when the score was at 2-1, but praised Bale's winner.

"It is one of the 'worldies' he continues to produce," he said. "You think at some stage he has run out of them but he has not. I think that is the best one.

"In the end, the way he has hit it, there is not an awful lot you can do about it. We made a terrific go of it. It was at a crucial stage when Matt Taylor got through one on one and their keeper made good save, we want to be scoring that.

"At 3-1 there is no way back for them. They've got the goal then they scored a 'worldie'. We have been beaten by Gareth Bale really. I thought the lads caused them a lot of problems."

Kevin Nolan was replaced after a strong tackle from Mousa Dembele and Allardyce believes Howard Webb should have shown the Spurs midfielder his second yellow card of the match.

"You look at consistent bookings that Howard gave to our players after," he said. " Dembele after that fouled Mo Diame just inside after he nicked the ball off him and he let that one go.

"Where he got that wrong in the second half there is a ball over the top and he pulls Joe Cole back then he kicks the ball away. You do that, Howard you have to send him off, that's what we are told. I'm really disappointed by that."

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