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Over-used Mertesacker in need of rest

Arsenal
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Bale has fingers crossed for award

Spurs winger Gareth Bale hopes he is voted Player of the Year by his fellow professionals after returning from injury to play a central role in the club's crucial 3-1 win over Manchester City on Sunday.

Bale produced a superb ball with the outside of his left foot to create the equaliser for Clint Dempsey before wrapping up the points with a dinked finish over the top of Joe Hart.

That goal was his 23rd of the season and Bale, who is also nominated for the Young Player award, is the odds-on favourite with the bookmakers to win a second PFA gong of his career having also won the vote in 2011. The winner will be announced at a ceremony on Sunday night.

"It's massive. It's great for your peers to vote for you," Bale told the club's official website. "Hopefully I do win. To be nominated is fantastic and fingers crossed."

The victory kept Spurs within touching distance of the top four with five games remaining - one of those being at fourth-placed Chelsea. And Bale was in no doubt about the significance of their fightback.

"We knew it was a massive game and the lads showed what we have in the team - a lot of character," Bale added. "It was a fantastic turnaround. As soon as we scored the first everyone had that belief and confidence, the fans raised the noise and gave us that belief to go forward and thankfully we were able to score two more.

"We need to keep that character, team spirit, and togetherness in to the last five games and push for our objectives this season."

Of the injury which had kept the player out for two weeks, he said: "My ankle was all right. It was touch and go whether I was going to play but I got through it okay. It was a bit sore maybe in the first half but I got more confidence in the second half. It's just about managing it and carrying on."

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