West Ham’s match-winner against West Brom on Tuesday evening, James Tomkins, put in a brilliant overall performance that confirmed he deserves to start over James Collins.
The match was a must-win for the Hammers against a Baggies side struggling for points and they have now, following their unfortunate defeat to Everton a fortnight ago, recorded back-to-back victories.
Tomkins is largely to thank for this as he not only scored the crucial goal, but he also excelled at the back and was a major influence in shutting the home side out in the second-half.
With Winston Reid a permanent fixture in the first-team, though maybe not for much longer if he is to be heading for the exit, Tomkins and Collins have been in competition to partner him in the centre of defence.
Collins has made nine Premier League appearances so far and has looked solid, consistently making important blocks, tackles and defensive clearances. However Tomkins has made 10 and this suggests Sam Allardyce still perhaps isn’t sure on who is his first choice out of the two.
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Against West Brom, though, Tomkins was superb and done everything he possibly could to convince his manager that he is the one who should be called upon on a weekly basis.
Individual season record
The 25-year-old, from Essex, was in fact so good at the Hawthorns that he set an individual season record for the 2014/15 league campaign to date.
He may have scored his first goal in over two years, but it was his defensive display that he will be most please with. No player has made as many effective clearances in a single game this season as the centre-half (22), he also won 10/12 aerial duels, blocked four shots and made four interceptions.
Tomkins performance was one of real quality and no defender has had a better game stats-wise this term. This reflects just how much pressure West Brom put the Hammers under throughout the entire second-half but also of the Englishman’s ability and determination to shut out the opposition.
The result ensured West Ham stay fifth in the table prior to the visit of Swansea this weekend, who are just two points behind them in seventh. Tomkins should most certainly start that game with the form that he’s in, he will be vital in keeping the powerful Wilfried Bony off the scoresheet.
He may even be able to step into Reid’s shoes as the main defender if he is to leave the club in January, which would take some of the pressure off of Allardyce to find an immediate quality replacement in a tough market.