Crystal Palace defender James Tomkins has been one of the most consistent performers for the Eagles over the last year or so and now, his efforts have been recognised by the CIES Football Observatory.
The independent football analysis site has looked into the general performance levels of defenders across English football’s top tier and uncovered the fact that Tomkins and Huddersfield’s Christopher Schindler have been the two best performing individuals outside the top six during the 2017/18 campaign so far.
Whilst the bigger club’s players will always benefit from the number of clean sheets they manage to keep throughout the season, Tomkins achievement deserves highlighting given the struggles we’ve endured as a team since August. After failing to gain a point or score a single goal in our opening seven games, Roy Hodgson has now dragged the club out of the relegation zone ahead of the final stretch, with Tomkins having been a pivotal player for us throughout.
Thanks to the injuries sustained by Dann, Sakho and Martin Kelly since the turn of the year, the former West Ham man’s presence at the heart of the Palace back four has become all the more important, giving the side a sense of stability when it would have been easy for us to lose our collective heads.
Whilst he may not have become an instant fan favourite at Selhurst Park following his move from east London in the summer of 2016, this term Tomkins has really worked his way into the hearts of the Palace faithful thanks to displays which have demonstrated passion and quality in equal measure.
Comfortable on the ball and clearly a fantastic reader of the game, James is now showing his true potential in SE25, prompting plenty of West Ham fans to wonder aloud as to why the club ever took the decision to let him leave in the first place.
With Sakho supposedly ready and raring to go ahead of our game against Spurs next Sunday, you would hope that he and Tomkins bond together to halt the likes of Kane, Alli and Eriksen from running riot. I’ve certainly got faith in them as a pairing and based on the analysis referred to at the top of the page, I’d say we all have reason to feel confident.