Premier League Power Rankings: Soyuncu has Leicester City forgetting about Maguire; Liverpool remains No. 1

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We're past the first-third of the Premier League season and we've been gifted with plenty of improbable storylines, none bigger than Leicester City's rapid rise back to the top four of the table. The Foxes have been absolutely incredible and look like the 2016 team when it comes to that dominance and confidence that caught the world by storm. 

With Brendan Rodgers in charge, prognosticators didn't envision this team to sniff the top six, which is obviously a hard task for teams not named Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham. 

It didn't help matters when the club sold star defender Harry Maguire to Manchester United. Turns out that transaction has been one of the keys to this team's resurgence, boasting the best defense in the league despite losing its perceived best defender. The Foxes have conceded just nine goals in 14 games, and its replacement is a big reason why. 

Little did those on the outside know that Leicester didn't need to invest in a new star defender this season because they had one waiting in the wings who is on the verge of stardom. Turkish central defender Caglar Soyuncu joined the Foxes just before last season from SC Freiburg and played only eight games last season in all competitions, but he slid into the starting XI this season and has been absolutely fantastic. 

Great in the air and patient in defense, the 23-year-old does a sensational job of keeping his attacker in front of him and forcing him to take a shot that isn't the ideal one. He fits Leicester's style of play perfectly by enjoying possession, playing with flair and offering an attractive style of soccer. 

One could argue that he's been better than Maguire so far this season, and that's great news for Leicester in a season where it has realistic dreams of winning a trophy. Nobody should be surprised with the reports in England already linking Soyuncu with Manchester City. If his fine performances continue, his price will continue to sky-rocket. 

Take a look at his numbers compared to Maguire:


Caglar Soyuncu, Leicester City




Harry Maguire, Manchester United




Keep in mind Maguire has had more to do defensively with United's poor possession and defensive ability in the middle, meaning Soyuncu has had less overall defending to do but has been much more efficient. Soyuncu has a monster defensive midfielder in front of him in Wilfred Ndidi and is still putting on a masterclass defensively, making Foxes fans forget about Maguire's departure just before the season. 

Soyuncu is a big reason why Leicester continues to rise in the table and in our power rankings. 

1. Liverpool (--): They always seem to find a way, but can they weather the storm without Fabinho? Don't look now, but this may be the season the Reds win the Premier League for the first time in the modern era. They must remain focused, especially with City slipping.

2. Leicester City (+1): Find a coach who has done a better job with less than Brendan Rodgers. Don't be shocked if Arsenal goes reaches out to him after firing Unai Emery. He's got the Foxes feeling like it's 2016 all over again with a simply dominant defense.

3. Manchester City (-1): This team is letting points surprisingly slip, but it can fall 15 points back and still have a chance. We all know this team can string together a 10 consecutive wins at some point during the season and push Liverpool to the brink. 

4. Chelsea (--): Back-to-back Premier League defeats but still six points clear in the top four, which goes to show just how good this team has been. With a young squad and nearing a spot in the Champions League round of 16, Frank Lampard has done quite the job so far. 

5. Tottenham (+9): Jose Mourinho is 3-0-0 since returning in all competitions and has won both of the Premier League contests he's coached with Spurs. Next, revenge against Manchester United as the club continues to improve.

6. Sheffield United (-1): One of the best defenses in the league, Sheffield United has gone five unbeaten and is only a point back of the top six. For a team expected to be in relegation contention, they are currently seven points clear. 

7. Wolves (+2): Nuno Espirito Santo deserves a ton of credit for what he's done, especially after a really ugly start to the season. Nine unbeaten has them in the top six and hitting their stride. 

8. Arsenal (-2): The Gunners haven't won a Premier League game in nearly two months, and they should consider themselves lucky to still be only in eighth place. That defense has to be address come January, or they won't even sniff the top six.

9. Burnley (+7): The Clarets feel a bit like Bournemouth in the sense of a team with underrated quality that you expect to be able to stay up as long as it continues playing as a unit. A touch stretch is coming to close the calendar year, but they are capable of finishing in the top 10.

10. Crystal Palace (-2): Before Saturday's win at Burnley, Palace hadn't won any of its previous five. But fans shouldn't be concerned when you consider those were against Manchester City, Arsenal, Leicester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. Now comes a favorable stretch.

11. Newcastle (+1): Finding their footing now, but it's crazy to think former Atlanta United star Miguel Almiron has yet to score for the club. The move just hasn't worked out as most envisioned it would, but it's still early. He did get an assist against Manchester City, so there is something to build on. 

12. Bournemouth (-1): Three straight defeats to end November with the big concern being what they'll do defensively in the middle moving forward. When you let a team like Newcastle create over 20 shots, there's a reason to be super concerned. They likely have more than enough to survive though.

13. Manchester United (-3): One would figure that at this point Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hanging on by a thread. With Tottenham and Manchester City next, logic says he'll need at least three points from those two, if not more, to keep his job. Time to call Mauricio Pochettino. 

14. West Ham (+1): Boy did they need that win at Chelsea, and where in the world did it come from? It wasn't so much a great defensive performance as it was an off day for the Blues. Sebastien Haller is now on a six-game streak without a goal. 

15. Brighton (-8): Three straight losses has them in a bit of trouble, but to be fair those games came against the top two teams in the league in Liverpool and Leicester City, and the other against Manchester United. But it's the holes they keep digging themselves that are concerning. 

16. Aston Villa (-3): Had a win at United within its grasp before the defense fell asleep. It's just not good enough. Don't be shocked to see them fall into the relegation zone. Jack Grealish needs more help.

17. Southampton (+1): The comeback win over Watford probably saved the job of coach Ralph Hasenhuttl. Now it's about using that performance to get past Norwich. The Saints always seems to do enough come season's end, but relegation survival is earned now, not later. 

18. Norwich City (+1): Four points to close the month has them believing they can do enough to survive. Wednesday's match against Southampton could be huge come season's end, and a draw does nothing for either. Teemu Pukki may just be finding his form.

19. Everton (-2): How Marco Silva still has a job just baffles me. This team has won just one of its last five games, is averaging just a goal a game and is in danger of slipping into the relegation zone. Silva's face after Leicester City's winner said it all:

20. Watford (--): Now looking for their third manager of the season, it's only early December and relegation seems like a certainty at this point. Time to dig deep and limit the ridiculous mistakes that has caused them a handful of points already.

CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

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