West Ham United grabbed a 1-0 lead in their Europa League qualifying tie against Birkirkara FC.
West Ham United’s Europa League journey continues to move along nicely following an important 1-0 win against Birkirkara FC.
The Hammers needed a late goal from defender James Tomkins to get an advantage ahead of the second leg, as they continue to try and qualify for the group stage which increases the number of exciting possibilities facing the club this season.
Tomkins is now one of the more experienced Premier League players in the team and someone who is going to be vital for the team over the next ten months, in Slaven Bilic’s first season in charge at the club.
The difficulty he’s facing is that central defence is now one of the most competitive areas of the current squad.
Bilic will have plenty of different central options to choose from with the likes of Reece Burke, James Collins and Winston Reid giving him options in the back four, along with new signing Angelo Ogbonna, who will be determined to make a positive impression.
Tomkins does have a potential advantage in the respect that he’s already up to match speed and also the fact that he’s been handed a captaincy role, leading a young side through the club’s early matches in the season.
That shows a belief from Bilic in what Tomkins is capable of in terms of his mentality and responsibility.
The defence was one area of the team which did cost West Ham some vital points last season and an area which must improve moving forward.
Games against Tottenham and Manchester United in the last campaign, saw the club losing points from good position and that’s something that Tomkins, Bilic and the rest of the Hammers defence can’t allow to happen again.
Here’s what West Ham fans had to say about Tomkins’ performance and goal on Twitter.
@WHUFC_News thank you Tomkins for making it worth while for me tonight. We were literally playing a pub team tonight— DannyBoyWHU (@whufclover) July 16, 2015
Far from our best tonight but Tomkins got that all important goal #WHUFC— James Humphreys (@Shots_James) July 16, 2015
I'd start Tomkins over Reid now after this— Harry Clarke (@clarkey_whufc) July 16, 2015
Phew! Well done James Tomkins! Let's finish the job next week! Sell Nolan and Maiga! @whufc_official— Jordan Williams (@JDWilliams92) July 16, 2015
Thank God for James Tomkins, 1-0 win in the 90th minute. Absolutely shocking performance, still all to play for in the 2nd leg #WHUFC— West Ham Stuff (@WestHamStuff) July 16, 2015