Three crucial changes Slaven Bilic must make to West Ham side against Crystal Palace

Slaven Bilic

West Ham United entertain Crystal Palace on Saturday with hopes of leapfrogging Manchester City into the Champions League places.

The Hammers are firmly in the running for a Champions League place this season with eight Premier League games left to go.

The East Londoners are flying high in fifth place going into the business end of a superb first season under new boss Slaven Bilic.

And they should be even higher too.

A deserved victory was snatched away from them at fierce rivals Chelsea last time out when a phantom penalty was awarded to the Blues in the 89th minute allowing them to salvage a 2-2 draw.

Bilic is facing a Palace side without a win this year but must make three key changes to the side which drew with Chelsea if they are to maintain their top four push.

Tomkins in at right back

Key defender James Tomkins is fit again for West Ham after a month out through injury.

Tomkins featured in Mark Noble's testimonial on Easter Monday and will offer some much needed defensive security against Palace's tricky winger Yannick Bolasie.

Tomkins will replace Michail Antonio who has deputised admirably from him in defence despite being an attacking winger.

Obiang in for Kouyate

Reports indicate Kouyate will not be fit for the London derby after falling ill while on international duty with Senegal.

His absence will be a huge blow for West Ham because he is the very heartbeat of this fantastic Hammers side and his presence allows the likes of Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini to flourish.

Pedro Obiang will be feeling frustrated with life in East London as he has been dipped in and out despite shining every time he has played for the club.

Antonio to replace Valencia in midfield

With Tomkins coming in at right back it will free Antonio up to move back to his preferred forward role.

He has been a potent attacking threat since breaking into the Hammers side during the injury crisis over the winter.

Offers terrific pace and is crucial to West Ham's freeflowing counter attacking style.

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