Ben McAleer

Editorial Assistant,

Editorial Assistant,

Player Focus: Is James McCarthy Now Everton's Most Valuable Player?

The former Wigan star has emerged as one of Everton's most important players since joining last September. His injury was felt on Sunday and the Toffees need McCarthy fighting fit sooner rather than later if they are to mount a serious challenge for a top four finish.
04/12/2014 20:54 GMT

Player Focus: Kane's Spurs Displays Giving Pochettino Selection Headache

Having developed statistically calculated strengths of 'finishing', 'dribbling' and 'holding on to the ball', Kane boasts the necessary attributes to link the midfield and attack. While he is unlikely to reach Ronaldo levels of excellence, as per Vertonghen's suggestion, Kane has started to realise his potential under Pochettino after rising to the fore under Tim Sherwood.
27/11/2014 16:37 GMT

Player Focus: Playmaker Payet Takes Over the Creative Reins at Marseille

The Marseille star has played more key passes (54) than any other player in Europe's top 5 leagues this season and it helps that Payet has bought into Bielsa's philosophy instantly. Part of his fine form is down to his excellent vision when in possession and clever movement off the ball to find space in order to receive a pass from his teammates, enabling him to create chances.
27/11/2014 14:59 GMT

Player Focus: Blind's Absence Likely to Dent United's Top Four Hopes

While he perhaps does not receive the acclaim some feel he deserves, Blind is one of United's most important players at present and with the hectic festive period looming, the midfielder's absence is likely to seriously dent their chances of returning to Europe's elite competition.
21/11/2014 17:12 GMT

Player Focus: Hodgson Wrong to Ignore Austin's Powers

If he can prolong the level of consistency he has shown over the last 4 games for the foreseeable future, QPR have a much better chance of staving off relegation. From a personal perspective, though, Austin will look to maintain his good form in order to force his way into Hodgson's next England squad, having arguably been harshly overlooked this time around.
17/11/2014 12:15 GMT

Player Focus: Neymar Discovering His Goalscoring Touch in Spain

Four goals for Brazil at the 2014 World Cup convinced the world that Neymar can carry the goalscoring burden for his country and it's evident that his absence in the eventual 7-1 defeat to Germany affected his teammates. The pressure that comes with shouldering such a responsibility is enough to see any player crumble, but Neymar did so effortlessly...
16/11/2014 20:09 GMT

Team Focus: First Win a False Dawn For Beleaguered Burnley

Dyche has ample time now to work out a system that will help his side overcome Stoke later this month as they aim to climb up the table. However, unless Burnley improve after the international break, the win over Hull may be nothing more than a false dawn in what could be a long season for the Clarets.
14/11/2014 17:15 GMT

Player Focus: Dusan Tadic - The Jewel in Koeman's Summer Signings' Crown

Raiding the Eredivisie for talent is a risk - see the likes of Afonso Alves and Mateja Kezman - but is one that can pay off. With Saints flying high in England's top tier, Tadic can be considered one of the signings of the summer and with winnable fixtures like Leicester and Aston Villa approaching, there is no reason why he cannot continue his fine form.
10/11/2014 01:18 GMT

Player Focus: The Ballon d'WhoScored 2014

At this time of year, the focus turns to the Ballon d'Or and with the 23-man list released earlier today, discussion is rife on social media as to who should and should not be up for nomination for the individual awards event of the year. The nominees will always spark debate...
04/11/2014 22:38 GMT

Player Focus: Diamé's Bright Start to Life at Hull

The summer signing has proven his goalscoring exploits and allowing him a license to press forward has aided Hull significantly this term. An example of this was to drag Hull level against Arsenal on Saturday, which came about from one of his runs from midfield, something that has become synonymous with the midfielder.
26/10/2014 17:59 GMT

Player Focus: Confident Berahino Firing West Brom Up The Table

Against a Crystal Palace side that has conceded in each of their four league games away from Selhurst Park this season, Berahino is presented with the perfect opportunity to continue his goalscoring run this weekend. With morale high, one would be foolish to bet against the youngster adding to his six league goals when the Eagles travel to the Midlands.
24/10/2014 17:13 BST

Team Focus: How Dortmund Have Regressed Since Their 2012 Title Win

With just two wins from the opening seven games, Dortmund desperately need to turn their form around as soon as possible. However, the personnel at Klopp's disposal must help in their quest to shorten the 10-point gap between themselves and Bayern, starting with Ramos and Immobile...
20/10/2014 00:19 BST

League Focus: The Increase in the Use of a 4-3-1-2 Formation

While not a carbon copy of Mourinho's 4-1-2-1-2, Manchester United, West Ham United, Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool have all, at one point or another deployed a diamond midfield in the 2014/15 campaign. The 4-3-1-2 allows teams to maintain numbers in the middle of the park, but means managers can field a creator in between the midfield and attack.
16/10/2014 17:22 BST

Player Focus: Could Di Natale Still Succeed on the International Stage?

With Mario Balotelli misfiring and Giuseppe Rossi out for the foreseeable future with yet another knee problem, Conte's top quality options up front are somewhat limited. Di Natele's goalscoring exploits are unrivaled in Serie A and there would be little doubt that he could transfer this form onto the international stage.
14/10/2014 16:36 BST

Team Focus: Athletic Floundering in the Wake of Herrera's Departure

Losing your best player will always have an adverse effect on a team. Liverpool have struggled this season following the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, while Tottenham failed to sufficiently replace Gareth Bale after his record breaking move to Real Madrid. Athletic Club are following suit having floundered through the first 6 weeks of the campaign on the back of Ander Herrera's big money move to Manchester United.
03/10/2014 11:00 BST

Player Focus: Etienne Capoue Vital in Pochettino's New Look Spurs

After being linked with a move to Napoli in January, followed by a potential return to France over the summer, Capoue is establishing himself as a first team regular at White Hart Lane this term. Pochettino has placed a lot of faith in the midfielder and now fans are seeing the best of the 26-year-old as he shines in front of the back four and if Spurs are to enjoy some long-awaited success this season; Capoue may play a crucial role in this dream becoming reality.
02/10/2014 11:52 BST

Team Focus: Koeman's Saints Flying High after Summer of Uncertainty

Major squad overhauls usually have an adverse effect on the team - take Spurs' season in the wake of Bale's multi-million pound move to Real Madrid - but Koeman has taken everything in his stride and built a side capable of matching Pochettino's from last season.
26/09/2014 16:48 BST

Player Focus: Lethal Ulloa Proving His Early Doubters Wrong

Ulloa's aerial ability means he has developed a statistically calculated strength of 'headed attempts', and with Riyad Mahrez and Jeffrey Schlupp breaking down either flank, the aim is to put the ball into the danger zone where the striker can maximise this facet of this game.
24/09/2014 17:12 BST