Bale top player, Arsenal 1st in AP football poll

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 3, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: December 3, 2013

LONDON (AP) — Gareth Bale took first place in The Associated Press global football poll on Tuesday after scoring his first hat trick for Real Madrid.

The Spanish team, which beat Valladolid 4-0, was second in the team vote, seven points behind English Premier League leader Arsenal.

Aaron Ramsey scored twice in Arsenal's 3-0 win over Cardiff and was second in the player vote, 49 points behind his fellow countryman Bale.

"Wales' two poster-boys, Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey, both shone on yet another scintillating weekend of football," Sam Tighe of Bleacher Report in the United States said. "The former grabbed his first hat trick in Real Madrid colors and added a beauty of an assist, while the latter experienced a rather sweet homecoming by notching twice at former club Cardiff City."

Bale's form particularly impressed this week's AP panel of 20 global football writers as Madrid was without Cristiano Ronaldo, who has injured his left hamstring.

Arjen Robben and Bayern Munich both polled third in their respective rankings. Munich beat Eintracht 2-0 to remain at the top of the Bundesliga, with Robben scoring both goals.

Munich has yet to lose in the league this season, winning 12 and drawing two of its 14 games and is four points clear of Bayer Leverkusen in second. Pep Guardiola's side also beat CSKA Moscow 3-1 away as it continued its defense of the Champions League title.

"It's almost as if form doesn't matter. Bayern Munich will win," Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said. "There may be teams that are prettier, but there are no teams that are more effective and more dependable. All they do is win."

For producing the surprise result of the weekend, Athletic Bilbao was only fourth after beating Barcelona 1-0 at home.

Iker Muniain scored in the 70th minute at San Mames Stadium, leaving Barcelona defeated for the first time in La Liga this season. Muniain was ninth in the player poll.

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