Tactically Speaking

The Official Website takes an in-depth look at how Crystal Palace could line up in Tuesday evening's Barclays Premier League London derby at Selhurst Park, as well as James Tomkins' outstanding defensive form.

West Ham United

James Tomkins

West Ham United head into their second successive London derby on the back of the impressive 3-0 dispatching of Fulham and WhoScored.com have been analysing the stats ahead of the trip to Crystal Palace.

The Hammers have enjoyed relative success in encounters against their capital Premier League counterparts of late, having won two of their last three London derbies, and manager Sam Allardyce will undoubtedly draw on the confidence of that form for this fixture. Palace, on the other hand, have won only four of their 24 Premier League London derbies on home soil and West Ham will be out to ensure that poor run continues on Tuesday.

The last time these two sides met in the Premier League was way back in 1998, a 3-3 draw at Selhurst Palace. On that day the goal scorers for West Ham were Frank Lampard and Manny Omoyinmi (two).

Having won just two and scored only seven goals in their 13 league games so far, the Eagles' worrying form leaves them languishing at the foot of the table. This is likely to benefit a West Ham side that has defended resolutely on the road this term, highlighted in the four clean sheets they've kept in their six away games.

Losing defensive lynchpin Winston Reid to an ankle injury came as a blow to the east London outfit, but this has allowed James Tomkins to flourish in the back four. The 24-year-old turned in a highly influential performance in the victory against Fulham at the weekend, securing a WhoScored.com rating of 9.3 - only man of the match Mohamed Diamé scored higher (9.4) of all Premier League players this weekend.

His display at the heart of the defence ensured Fulham did not have a single shot on target in the 90 minutes, while his amazing 21 clearances meant any real danger posed to the West Ham goal was swiftly dealt with. Tomkins also won a total of 14-headed battles in the win, reinforcing his statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of 'aerial duels' and highlighting how he comfortably repelled any Fulham aerial attack that may have developed into a goalscoring opportunity.

Up against a Palace side that has won 56.8% of their aerial duels this season (only Stoke City with 60.1% and Chelsea with 57.2% have fared bettered in the air) this heading ability will be key on Tuesday. However, with the centre-back averaging 4.5 aerial duels won per game, the Englishman should be up to the task in Tony Pulis' first home match in charge of the south London outfit.

On the back of the commanding display against Fulham on Saturday, Tomkins' average rating now sits at an impressive 7.4. Only Reid (7.52) has scored higher of every West Ham player, and with Palace's goalscoring woes, there's every chance that this figure will have risen come full-time at Selhurst Park.

*WhoScored.com is a website and one of the fastest growing in the sports industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Follow @WhoScored on Twitter.

Crystal Palace

Probable starting XI


Ward  Gabbidon  Delaney  Moxey

Puncheon  Dikgacoi  Jedinak  Bannan



Crystal Palace will contest their first home game since Tony Pulis was confirmed as the Eagles' new manager, meaning his team selection is difficult to predict.

The Welshman opted for a 4-4-1-1 formation at Norwich City on Saturday, setting up two compact banks of four behind deep-lying forward Marouane Chamakh and central striker Cameron Jerome.

As he did as Stoke City boss, Pulis asked his team to press high and work hard when out of possession at Carrow Road. When they had the ball, it was the two wingers Jason Puncheon and Barry Bannan who presented the biggest threat to the opposition - Puncheon with his direct running and Bannan with his penetrative range of passing.

Perhaps predictably, Palace opted for a more direct style under Pulis than they had under predecessor Ian Holloway, with longer balls aimed at Chamakh and Jerome and an emphasis on winning possession and set pieces in the attacking third.

While Palace were defeated 1-0 at Norwich, they have conceded just once in their last three league matches, they remained in the game until the final whistle and could easily have taken a point had they converted one of the chances they created.

Personnel-wise, Julian Speroni has been Palace's No1 goalkeeper for more than six seasons now. The Argentine is not the biggest glovesman in the world, so can be put under pressure by high balls into the penalty area, but he is a decent shot-stopper and can distribute the ball accurately with his hands or feet.

At right-back, Joel Ward is a defensively-minded full-back who started his career at centre-half with Portsmouth before moving to Palace in 2012. Ward will look to play diagonal balls up for Chamakh and Jerome to challenge for.

On the other flank, Dean Moxey is a more traditional full-back in terms of his physical appearance and his approach to the game. More willing to get forward than Ward, Moxey possesses quality with his left foot and is willing to overlap his winger at times.

Should Pulis choose to make changes, Norway international Jonathan Parr is an athletic, attack-minded full-back who can play on either flank. However, Parr has yet to feature in the Barclays Premier League this season after being ruled out earlier this term by an ankle ligament injury.

In the centre, Danny Gabbidon is well-known to West Ham United supporters, having spent six seasons at the Boleyn Ground between 2005 and 2011. The Welshman is a defend-first centre-back who moves smoothly to close down the opposition, and has made more clearances (97) than any other Palace player.

Alongside him, Irishman Damien Delaney is a big, strong and committed centre-back who organises the back four well and dominates his own penalty area. Delaney is also a threat from attacking set pieces.

The third senior centre-back in Pulis' squad is former Watford captain Adrian Mariappa, who is an athletic and strong defender who is willing to put his body on the line for the cause.

In central midfield, South African Kagisho Dikgacoi is a defensively-minded player who works hard to close down the opposition and uses the ball simply when in possession.

Australian left-footer Mile Jedinak is a strong, determined and well-organised central midfield player who is also Palace's captain and most-important player. He has made more passes (561), tackles (48) and interceptions (48) than any other Palace player. Jedinak's main attacking threat comes from his powerful presence at set plays.

Should Pulis make changes in his engine room, he could call upon Spaniard Jose Campana, who joined the Eagles in the summer from Sevilla, or former Southend United youngster Stuart O'Keefe.

On the wings, Puncheon is a solid and speedy all-round winger who will not hesitate to run at his full-back. He is hard to push off the ball. Playing on the right, Puncheon likes to cut inside on his stronger left foot and shoot or lay the ball off to team-mates.

Bannan is a more cultured and patient presence on the left. The Scotland international is a diminutive, nippy and energetic player who has excellent vision and the ability to pick a pass with his left foot.

Fans can expect to see Puncheon and Bannan switch flanks during the course of the game.

If Pulis opts to replace either winger, then two-footed youngster Jonathan Williams or the direct and athletic Jimmy Kebe could be drafted into the starting XI. Yannick Bolasie is suspended.

Up front, another former Hammer is set to start behind the central striker in Chamakh. The Moroccan possesses decent strength, good movement and the ability to both hold the ball up and create chances for himself on his right foot.

Stoke loanee Jerome is a physical player who is not afraid to bounce off defenders and hold up play using his strength. Capable of scoring spectacular goals, he is dangerous running at defenders and also in the air due to his athleticism.

Options for Pulis in the attacking positions include club-record signing and leading scorer Dwight Gayle, who is a willing runner and hard-working striker, and the vastly-experienced Kevin Phillips, who still possesses intelligent movement and clinical finishing ability at the age of 40.