Nigeria Power Rankings: Awoniyi takes top spot as unknowns break in

The Super Eagles have a glut of in-form talent in the striking department -- and they were up to their tricks again in October.

There were some familiar names hitting the net, of course, although Victor Osimhen was not one of them as the Napoli forward suffered a slump in form.

Taiwo Awoniyi and veteran returnee Odion Ighalo top the list, but some relatively unkown player also stepped out of the shadows with their own goalscoring heroics.

Not to be outdone, defenders also weighed in on the action, with Rangers' Leon Balogun ensuring those at the other end were not left out of the fun.

1. Taiwo Awoniyi - Union Berlin, Germany

There is no question about who claims the top spot in this month's rankings. Awoniyi has been a man on fire since sealing a permanent move from Liverpool. It's almost as if leaving the Anfield giants for good unleashed his inner goalscoring superpowers.

The forward is on 12 goals from 17 appearances across all competitions so far this season -- and half of those goals came in the period under review.

Awoniyi's month started with a brace against his former club FSV Mainz. He struck twice to help Union come back from behind to win 2-1. His first goal was a fearsome display of power, pace, strength and precision.

He went on to add two more league goals, only failing to score in one league game, in addition to hitting the consolation goal in Union's 3-1 loss at Feyenoord in the UEFA Europa Conference League. He added another in a 3-1 win over Waldhorf Mannheim in the DFB-Pokal.

His reward was a call-up to the Nigeria squad and he came within a hair's breath of scoring on international debut, but for desperate goal-line defending from Central African Republic in a game that the Super Eagles ultimately went down to a shock home defeat against the 124t-ranked team.

2. Stephen Odey - Randers, Denmark

Odey has had a bit of a roundabout journey in Europe since joining FC Zurich from MFM FC in Lagos. But he is beginning to find his feet at Randers in Norway and this October saw him firing on all blazing-hot cylinders.

Six goals across all competitions for the small club in the Danish Superligaen was enough to earn him a first-time entry into the top 10 and all the way up to number two.

Odey opened with a goal against Danish giants Brondby early in the month as his side drew 1-1 and finished with the consolation in a 1-3 defeat to Midjtylland. In between, he scored a brace in the UEFA Europa Conference League.

3. Odion Ighalo - Al-Shabab, Saudi Arabia

Scoring goals is what Ighalo does best and since leaving Manchester United for Al-Shabab in Saudi Arabia, that is exactly what he has been doing.

His tally so far for the season is nine goals in 10 games, with the last four coming in his final five games in October.

In that spell, Al-Shabab have won all five games, outscoring the opposition 20-1 with the Nigerian accounting for 40% of the strikes.

It makes it easy to see why Gernot Rohr is so desperate to drag the forward out of international retirement.

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4. Leon Balogun - Rangers, Scotland

This was a month that started somewhat disastrously for one half of Nigeria's Oyinbo Wall. Balogun and his centreback partner William Troost-Ekong got into a bit of a muddle in Nigeria's World Cup qualifier against Central African Republic, allowing the 124th-ranked team to run away from Lagos with a stunning upset win.

But the defender shook off the error and, days later, not only opened the scoring as Nigeria came away with a 2-0 win, but also masterminded a cleansheet. As if that was not enough, he went back to Rangers and helped himself to another goal in the Europa League.

5. Ezekiel Henty - Slovan Bratislava, Slovakia

Henty could be wondering what else he has to do to catch the attention of Nigeria's coaches. The 28-year-old has been on fire all season, not just in the league in Slovakia, but also in European competition.

His 14 goals and counting so far this season include eight league goals and two each in UEFA Champions League qualifying, the Europa League and Europa Conference League.

He scored five league goals in October, including a pair of braces, as Bratislava went on a five-game winning streak dating back to the end of September.

6. Chidera Ejuke - CSKA Moscow, Russia

Few players are as unpredictable as Ejuke in form and full flow.

Four goals and two assists so far in 13 games this season do not tell the full story of Ejuke's impact at CSKA Moscow. The tricky winger has become a big challenge to opposing wide defenders in the Russian league.

Not only did he score two goals in October, he also won a man of the match award. His introduction into the Nigeria side brought an unpredictability not seen since the likes of Emmanuel Amunike on the flanks.

7. Ayobami Amoo - Hammarby, Sweden

Youngster Amoo is yet to make his senior bow, but the 19-year-old is tearing it up in Sweden, scooping two man of th ematch accolades in October alone.

Like Ejuke, his two goals and one assist in October do not do justice to the threat he carries for his Swedish club. If he carries on like this, it should not be long before he will be receiving a phone call from Rohr.

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8. Emmanuel Dennis - Watford, England

Making the English Premier League Team of the Week is no joke and Denis has made it twice in three months.

His goal and two assists in a 5-2 win at Everton helped in no small measure. But his overall cutting-edge play and penetration also played a big part. It appears Dennis plays well in spurts and this month was one of them.

9. Victor Osimhen - Napoli, Italy

It was a bit of a dry month for Osimhen, as the forward only scored twice for Napoli -- one in Serie A and the other in the Europa League. But his strong running, powerful play and physical domination of defenders is part of what has propelled Napoli to an unbeaten start to the season and top of the log.

In his typical fashion of averaging nearly a goal a game for Nigeria, the forward was on target in the Super Eagles' 2-0 win at CAR to somewhat make up for the embarrassment of losing at home to one of Africa's true minnows.

10. William Troost-Ekong - Watford, England

It is not often Troost-Ekong is involved in a an error for the Super Eagles, but he and his partner Balogun combined to do just that and hand CAR a famous win in Lagos.

Just like Leon made amends by scoring the opener, Troost-Ekong did the the same, setting up Osimhen with a greaet, low cross to seal the game.

He has also been an essential part of Watford's season, holding down a regular place at the back for the English Premier League side.