Dennis and Dessers dominate Nigeria power rankings for November

November featured such a glut of outstanding performances for Nigerian players around the world that it was a pretty tough to decide who to leave out.

There was a jostling for top spot, where a battle raged between Watford‘s Emmanuel Dennis and Feyenoord’s Cyriel Dessers, while last month’s top man Taiwo Awoniyi dropped out of the top 10 completely.

1 Emanuel Dennis, Watford/ENG

Not many players come into the Premier League from a league like Denmark and get off to the sort of flying start that Dennis has made.

The Nigeria international announced himself early in the season with a goal and assist to help Watford to a 3-2 win over Aston Villa, and then cooled off a bit. But in November, he was back to his early tricks, scoring one goal and adding two assists in a Man of the Match performance as Watford stunned Manchester United 4-1.

He followed that up with a goal the next game in a losing effort at Leicester City, but it was enough to put the Nigerian in elite company, as the only player with more goal contributions in the Premier League is Mohammed Salah.

Beyond the goals, the Nigerian’s power and pace, along with his direct running, balance, and a bit of twinkle toes, have been a big worry for opposition defenders so far in the Premier League.

2 Cyriel Dessers, Feyenoord/NED

Dessers could just as easily been top of this list, that is how fine the margins were this past month. The forward scored four goals, mainly playing as an impact sub, and what an impact he made.

Three goals in the UEFA Conference League and one in the Eredivisie, and all with very limited minutes on the pitch, a grand total of 106. That is a remarkable average of 26.5 minutes per goal.

As if that weren’t enough, the forward went on to hit four goals in a friendly against NEC during the International break.

This has definitely been something of a rebirth for the striker, who is still in the process of finding his feet since moving to the Eredivisie from Belgium.

Victor Osimhen, Napoli/ITA

A fractured cheekbone and surgery will keep Victor Osimhen out of football for at least the next three months, which will be a big miss for the Super Eagles as they head into the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

But before he left, Osimhen made his mark in November, scoring twice for the Super Eagles to help them advance to the World Cup playoff round.

He was on target and won a penalty against Sierra Leone in a 2-0 road win, and then scored again in the final game at home in Lagos in the 1-1 draw against Cape Verde that sealed the Eagles’ place.

No other Nigeria striker is as prolific as the Napoli man and Gernot Rohr, or whoever replaces him if he gets sacked soon, will rue the loss of such a key piece.

Wilfred Ndidi, Leicester City/ENG

Defensive midfielders don’t score often, and they are not expected to. So it is a bit special when they do.

Wilfred Ndidi returned to action in October after a month-long injury layoff and slotted in seamlessly back into his usual effective role of shielding the Leicester City back four.

And just to announce that it was not all grunt work he was good for, the midfielder rose highest to head in against Legia Warsaw in the UEFA Europa League for a 3-1 win.

5 Ezekiel Henty, Slovan Bratislava/SVK

Henty is currently top of the Slovakian league scorer’s chart, with nine goals after 16 rounds of matches.

Only one of those goals, plus one of his two assists, came in the month of November and it came in a vital 2-1 road win at Zemplin Michalovce to help Bratislava extend their lead at the top of the table to eight points over Spsartak Trnava.

The 28-year-old has been a force of nature for the runaway league leaders, and that, in addition to his goals, is what has seen him retain his fifth place spot on this month’s rankings.

Frank OnyekaBrentford/ENG

Onyeka, who only moved to the Premier league this year, has become a key fixture with Brentford, and this November he showed just why.

Two games in a row the 23-year-old defensive midfielder proved decisive. First, his deflected shot helped Brentford to a 3-3 draw against Newcastle, a goal that should have been given to the Nigerian but was not.

And then he ventured upfront the very next game to win a penalty kick against Everton that saw his side win 1-0.

7 Akinkunmi Amoo, Hammarby/NOR

Thirteen goals already this season is proof positive that Nigeria junior international Akinknumi Amoo is a man on fire.

The 19-year-old only weighed in with one goal in November, but seeing as it was against fierce rivals Orebro SK and led to a 3-2 win, Amoo deservedly earned plaudits.

8 Joe Aribo, Rangers/SCO

Aribo did not exactly light up the grounds in Nigeria’s two World Cup qualifiers in November, but with Rangers, he continues to be a shining light.

In the 4-2 win against Ross County, the midfielder was on target with a superb glancing header to tie the score after the visitors had gone ahead. He then set up the assist to get his side ahead, and should have been credited with a second assist if a defender had not got a touch to deflect the ball into the net for an own goal.

He went ahead to claim a goal in a 3-1 win at Livingstone.

David Okereke, Venezia/ITA

Former under 23 international David Okereke has flown under the radar for the last few years. But four goals and one assist in 13 Serie A games this season is enough to grab some very measure of attention.

Two of those four goals came this November, the first an exquisite winner against AS Roma in a 3-2 win. The 24-year-old raced onto a counter and sold the goalkeeper a dummy before slotting home.

One game later, Bologna were the recipients of his next goal, the Nigerian popping up in the box to poke home from close range and give the newly-promoted team the win.

10 Anthony Nwakaeme, Trabzonspor/TUR

The Trabzonspor forward has five goals and five assists so far from 13 games this season. Three of those assists were in the period under review and helped extend their 14-game unbeaten streak, and seven wins in a row.

That run has had them open up a 10-point lead at the top of the table over Konyaspor.

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