Power Rankings: A topsy-turvy start to the season for Nigeria's old guard

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Mark Ogden and Alexis Nunes react to the news that Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Manchester United from Juventus. (2:15)

Familiar faces make way for some fresh and emerging talents on the first Nigeria Power Rankings of the new season, with players spread across Europe.

Last season's regular table toppers have made the list, but the top five is dominated by new, or less regular, talents in the Super Eagles' rankings, and feature names from leagues further afield.

1. Taiwo Awoniyi, Union Berlin - Germany

The joys of stability are already paying dividends for this former junior international. In six years on the books at Liverpool, the youngster failed to kick a ball in anger at Anfield.

Instead, he was moved around from team to team to team, country to country, especially in Germany where he has blown mostly hot and but often lukewarm.

Awoniyi sealed a permanent move to FC Union Berlin just before this season began, cementing a spot he secured on loan last season, and the results have been immediate.

Awoniyi opened the season with an assist in the DFB Pokal where Union won 1-0, before breaking out for five goals in his next five Bundesliga and UEFA games.

Those include a brace against KuPS in the UEFA Conference League and others against Bundesliga heavyweights Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Those three league strikes put him just two shy of legendary marksman Robert Lewandowski and equal with Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

2. Ezekiel Henty, Slovan Bratislava - Czech Republic

Like Awoniyi, Henty has got himself off to quite the bubbly start, scoring the same number of goals as his compatriot. He's only nudged out of first place by playing more games [seven to Awoniyi's five].

As if to mimimise the impact of playing in a lesser league, two of Henty's goals came in the UEFA Europa League, including one against Henry Onyekuru's Olympiacos.

But his crowing glory came in his last game of the month when he silenced Zlate Moacvce with a stunning hat-trick as Slovan came from going a goal down to claim a 4-1 win.

Unknown by many at home, Henty is quietly lighting fires from his Czech Republic base and even though he may be a little long in the tooth for Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr's youth-favouring approach [he's 28], nothing says that door might not open at some point if he keeps this up.

3. Chidera Ejuke, CSKA Moscow - Russia

Watching Ejuke's highlights this month is bound to leave one with feelings of tremendous sadness and intense enjoyment.

Sadness for the defenders who are made to look like they lost their way onto a professional football pitch, and joy at seeing such a wildly unpredictable talent weave magic with his feet.

But it is not just about the glitz and glamour, the winger can be efficient too, as his two goals and one assist during the month more than amply demonstrate.

4. Emmanuel Dennis, Watford - England

When you make a splash in your English Premier League debut with a goal and assist and end up featuring in the Premier league highlights roll, you know you have done something right.

It is tough enough to score in the Premier League let alone in your opening match. So while that goal on opening day has not been followed by another, Dennis's loud announcement of his presence will have encouraged defenders to take some serious notice and mark him more studiously.

5. Paul Onuachu, Genk - Belgium

Not many expected to see Onuachu still with Genk at the start of the season. After hitting a record 30+ goals the previous season, there was speculation that the big Nigerian will be taking his talent and going elsewhere.

Instead, we find him at the start of a new season, still with the Belgium champs, and still in excellent form. He has wasted no time proving that all the noise was valid, scoring twice in the league and once in the Champions League

Given a chance, Onuachu would likely move at the snap of a finger, but with this contract still with Genk, he will continue to hit goals for them.

6. Kelechi Iheanacho, Leicester City - England

'Seniorman Kelz' has started from where he left off last season, officially opening his and Leicester City's account in the very first game of the season, and what a big game that was.

Leicester outlasted champions Manchester City to win the Community Shield and it was thanks to the former City forward converting a cold-blooded penalty against his former team to seal a late win.

It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to put away a penalty under those circumstances and in a game like that, and Iheanacho showed that he had not just the ability, but also the ice in his veins to step up and put the kick away despite featuring for only 11 minutes.

7. Moses Simon, Nantes - France

He may not have scored any goals so far, but Moses Simon is as important an asset at Nantes FC as any. He is constantly providing threats and backing it up with assists.

He made a game-high 5 key passes in their loss to Olympique Lyon, and was responsible for two assists and claiming man of the match honours when they beat Metz 2-0, to chalk up three assists in four games.

8. Wilfred Ndidi, Leicester City - England

It is only three games into the English Premier League season, but Ndidi is once again showing that he is one of the best holding midfielders in the world.

The Nigerian was fully involved in the Foxes' 1-0 win over league champions Manchester City in the Community Shield, where he tallied 5 tackles and three interceptions. He looked faded in their defeat to West Ham United before bouncing back strongly against Norwich.

9. Leon Balogun, Rangers - Scotland

Rangers have made a so-so start to the season, getting unceremoniously dumped out by Malmo in the Champions league and losing to Dundee United early on in the league campaign.

But with their backs to the wall, the champions were dogged in a 1-0 win over rivals Celtic, a game where Balogun was played away from his usual centreback position but still showed that at 33, he can still match up to the best.

10. Ahmed Musa, Fatih Karagumruk - Turkey

Nigeria's captain spent most of last season either without a club or playing in the NPFL with Kano Pillars, and there were those who believed he was finished as a result.

But the 28-year-old was having none of that, and after signing for Turkish club Karagumruk, immediately set about putting those doubts to rest with a goal and a man of the match performance on his Super Lig debut, as his side claimed a 3-2 win over Gaziantep FK.