West Ham’s James Tomkins must play at right-back against Crystal Palace

James Tomkins must start for West Ham against Crystal Palace.

Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna are back in first-team training with the Hammers after suffering injuries, meaning Slaven Bilic has a full selection of defenders to call upon this weekend when the Hammers travel to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace.

This full complement of defensive options mean that Bilic can line his team up in the perfect manner to defeat Palace, and there is one tactical decision which should be made to negate the Eagles’ biggest strength.

Palace utilise the exceptional pace and trickery of their wingers to fight for victory, and Bilic should play James Tomkins in his unnatural right-back position to give his team the best chance of victory.

Unfortunately, this would mean dropping Carl Jenkinson, but losing his attacking threat in place of Tomkins’ defensive stability is a wise choice.

Tomkins would be more willing to sit back and act as almost a third central defender, meaning the chances of him being caught out high up the pitch are all-but impossible.

And this is a valuable trait, considering Tomkins will be up against Yannick Bolasie, one of the best wingers in the league, and renowned for his ability to beat opponents in one-on-one situations.

Being a natural central defender, Tomkins would provide a much great defensive base than Jenkinson, who always looks to push high up the field of play, and Bilic should start the 26-year-old centre-back at right-back if he wants to have the best chance of defeating Crystal Palace.

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