Why Crystal Palace’s £38m duo could play a major role in helping the Eagles to a top-10 finish this season

Tomkins’ absence has cost the Eagles over the last two games

After picking up an opening day victory, Crystal Palace have since gone on to lose the following three games of the season. The Eagles started out well but injuries to Wilfried Zaha and mainly, James Tomkins have cost the club.

Tomkins has been a peripheral figure for the Eagles after joining from West Ham United in a £12million deal. A stalwart at the back and a leader, Tomkins is often respected for his determination and ability to motivate the entire squad.

Unfortunately, the defender suffered a calf injury in the pre-match warm-up and was unable to start the game against Watford. The Eagles ultimately went on to lose the game 2-1 and Tomkins’ absence was felt.

James Tomkins

Roy Hodgson then saw Wilfried Zaha succumb to an injury, which meant both of the Eagles’ talismanic figures were on the sidelines against Southampton. The Eagles were once again soundly beaten by a Southampton side that has been below its standards this season.

It’s shocking how Palace failed to win a single game in Zaha’s absence last season, with the trend continuing this term too. Interestingly enough, Crystal Palace have never lost a game in which both Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins have started together.

Former Liverpool defender Martin Kelly was brought in place of the injured James Tomkins, but he was unable to replicate his influence. Tomkins is a true leader and a source of motivation at the back. In the two games that he’s played this season, the former West Ham United defender averaged 1.5 tackles and 9 clearances. (Stats Courtesy – Whoscored)

He has been their most consistent centre-back over the last two years and with the acquisition of Sakho from Liverpool in a £26million deal, Palace looked unbreachable towards the end of last season, thanks to Roy Hodgson’s tactical brilliance.

Mamadou Sakho and James Tomkins have forged a formidable partnership at the back

Tomkins is calm and composed in his defending. He is rarely prone to committing fouls and is very dominant in the air. He’s got a little adventurous side to him as well, which saw the former West Ham United defender score 3 goals in 28 appearances last season. All of those goals came from set-pieces as Tomkins proved his worth as an aerial threat. (Stats Courtesy – Premier League)

Read more: FPL tips – Here are 3 ideal replacements for the injured Wilfried Zaha including Fulham and Southampton stars

There’s no timescale on his current injury but Palace have looked dreadful at the back without him. After building a formidable partnership with Mamadou Sakho, Tomkins’ absence has seen a drop in the former Liverpool defender’s performance as well.

It’s clear the Eagles need Tomkins back sooner than later as the defender will play a major role in Palace’s efforts to achieve a top-10 finish this season.


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