Calm filters amid worrying numbers: Maignan hoping for an upturn in form

By Oliver Fisher -

Mike Maignan has certainly earned AC Milan more points than he has cost them since his arrival from Lille, but his underlying numbers this season are perhaps a tad on the worrying side.

Having arrived from the Ligue 1 club as the replacement for Gianluigi Donnarumma in the summer of 2021, Maignan quickly earned the nickname ‘Magic Mike’ for his incredible interventions.

He was a big part of the Scudetto win that came in that campaign, and he has even shown himself to have a knack for playmaking given his assists record.

However, a couple of things have happened recently which have made Maignan appear less like the unbeatable figure we have become accustomed to.

Cracks in the wall

Mazzitelli’s goal in Frosinone left a lasting impression on everyone because it was quite a weak goal for a keeper of Maignan’s level to conceded, given it went in from a narrow angle and it seemed to go through the ex-Lille man.

Maignan had conceded a similar one from Joshua Zirkzee seven days earlier. In that case it was a tougher save, mainly because the ball took a slight deviation that was nonetheless enough to get through his legs.

Against Frosinone after about 40 seconds he also missed an easy pass to Yacine Adli which could have cost him very dearly (thankfully Soulé wasted the chance), and then it has been a while since a penalty save too.

Mike has often been a nightmare for those who shoot from the spot, but his last spot kick stopped dates back to April 2023 (on Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, in the Champions League), which was followed by seven penalties he did not stop.

The stats

There are numbers to measure how effective a goalkeeper is at stopping shots, which remove the context of a team’s defending – something that Maignan could use as an alibi – and isolate the quality of shots face.

PsxG in simple terms is the xG (quality) of a shot on target which is more useful in assessment of goalkeepers. Subtracting the goals conceded from the PsxG we get PsxG-GA.

If the number is positive it means the goalkeeper is over-performing and if it’s negative then they are not performing as per expectation.

This season, Maignan is on -3 which means he’s conceded from very poor shots. In comparison, looking at the discussion over who is the best in the world, Alisson is on +2.3 which means he saved more goals than he should have conceded despite high quality shots.

The season Milan won the Scudetto, Maignan’s PsxG-GA number was +4.7 and that – combined with a much better defensive record in general – was one of the big factors in the title win.

The human element

Of course, it must be mentioned that players are not robots but rather human beings, so dips in form can be expected especially after Maignan was left shaken by the racism incident in Udine.

The reason that some of the goals conceded recently seem strange is precisely because Maignan had become accustomed to perfection and instead with the performance of the last few games he comes back to earth a bit.

Today Il Giornale (via MilanNews) writer Franco Ordine provided some reassurances that came directly from Stefano Pioli’s staff, regarding the goalkeeper.

“He is calm and serene after the incident in Udine,” the article states. After all, it is more likely than not that Mike returns to the level we all know he is capable of.


Tags AC Milan Mike Maignan


  1. Just for comparison because a lot of people think Maignan is irreplaceable,
    last 4 seasons Mike numbers are + 7.8 final season at Lille,
    + 4.3 scudetto season at Milan, – 0.7 last season, – 3 this season.
    Di Gregorio from Monza last 4 seasons are + 5.8, + 3.6, + 0.7, and this season + 7.5.

    Based on his contract situation, the money he wants, his injury problems and obvious drop of form for a 2nd year in a row, Milan should sell Maignan for 50-60 mil , use 20 to buy De Grigorio and the other 30-40 to buy Boungiorno.
    You have just as good if not better shot stopper, lose a little bit in the ball distribution, but you gain a pretty good center back.

    1. We’ll have plenty of money from Leao’s sale. Hopefully Bayern still want Mike, then we’ll have even more money to strengthen the team.

  2. I remember there was a poster who, after the Udinese game, used the same stats to give Mike a “0” and try to say that the current dip in Milan’s performance is entierly Mike’s fault.
    Nevertheless, it’s clear that Maignan this season is a pale copy of the one we had in 2021/22 and aside from Udinese’s game has conceided goals he should normally be able to save. My theory is that his contract renewal or possible departure is influencing his game performance (which is not an excuse btw). The same thing happened to Kessie in the early games of the scudetto season where he was poor compared to 2020/21 (for example the game against Atletico and the first derby).
    With that said, it should be noted that the PSxG this season is already almost as high as during the scudetto season despite dozens of games remaining, so it’s also clear that we are allowing more shots to go through than we should.

    1. That was me.
      This article is a virtual copy and paste of all the stats I pointed out in this series of posts starting here:

      Which is fine, it was only my wish that the writers of this website started to look at Mike’s numbers, which had CLEARLY dropped off, and yet nobody was acknowledging that perhaps this was a major factor in Milan being in third place and struggling, and instead everybody on the forum kept blaming Pioli, and the website’s editors kept posting all these ridiculous speculative articles about firing Pioli and who his possible replacements might be.

      I addressed the high PSxG issue in that series of posts. Evidently you didn’t read what I wrote.
      Here is a copy and paste from that exchange:

      ….you totally mis-understand the PSxG-GA. Yes, a bad defense will concede more PSxG. But a great goalkeeper WILL STOP THOSE SHOTS, AND THE PSxG-GA WILL COME UP POSITIVE, not in the negative range.

      Take a look at Mike’s 2018-2019 season at Lille.
      PSxG = 39.0 PSxG-GA of +6.0
      That was Mike’s first fantastic season at Lille. Despite the large number of shots conceded by Lille that year, he turned out a great, positive PSxG-GA number, because he made some great saves that year.

      The PSxG of 39.0 that season is close to double the current PSxG of 19.7 that it is currently at the halfway point of the current season with Milan.
      So, had Mike stayed every bit as good as he was before, he’d still be able to produce a positive PSxG-GA and keep Milan much, much closer to the top of Serie A than it is right now.

      1. I have absolutely no idea why Mike’s performance has been on a steady decline since the scudetto season.
        But I’ve seen this happen before.

        Back when I was following Pulisic at Chelsea, Chelsea had discovered a gem of a goalkeeper at Rennes – Edouard Mendy, another one of the many, many GREAT black goalkeepers that play in Ligue Un, all seemingly from the same mold – tall with very long arms and enormous reach, and tremendous reflexes, and incredibly hungry for success, coming from an impoverished background.

        There is absolutely 100% no doubt that Mendy had a FANTASTIC couple of seasons at Chelsea, and that his arrival, together with Tuchel’s arrival during the winter were the key factors that turned their 2020-2021 season around into a Champions League Championship (Pulisic helped a lot also).

        Mendy made some absolutely stunning saves in Champions League, including one at full stretch of a shot on goal by Karim Benzema. An ordinary goalkeeper, one maybe just an inch shorter than the 6 foot 4 inch tall Mendy, would not have made that save, and Real Madrid might have had a chance to beat Chelsea in their semifinal matches. Mendy tied a record for most clean sheets during that Champions League campaign by Chelsea.

        Well, Mendy went on to further success with Senegal at AFCON in 2022, where he and Sadio Mane combined to win the AFCON championship for Senegal for the first time. He won Best Goalkeeper at AFCON, and then FIFA Best Goalkeeper in 2022.

        Something happened to him after that. Before, he had been humble and just glad to finally be able to get a chance to show the world his abilities. He started talking more arrogantly in news stories about how great he was, and then contract talks with Chelsea broke down. Chelsea had gotten him from Rennes at one of the lowest salaries on the team – he wasn’t paid much more than one of their top Academy players, and this must have just ate at him.

        He started to visibly get chunkier and more heavy set, and this seemed to slow him down. He made fewer and fewer of those fantastic leaping, diving saves that had characterized the Champions League season.

        Never great with the ball at his feet, he made a huge howler early in the 2022-2023 season in a match against Leeds, allowing Brendon Aaronson to strip him of the ball right at the goal line for an easy tap in goal. Mendy then got injured and lost his starting job.

        Instead of a big new contract renewal at Chelsea, Mend ended up sold by Chelsea for dirt cheap to the Saudi Pro League.

        So yeah, considering that so much of goalkeeping is MENTAL, Mendy’s problems were mental – he got too full of himself and got out of shape and he stopped working at being the best he could be.

        Anyway, if you guys look on fbref through the Ligue Un goalkeepers, there are quite a few of these Mendy-Maignon type of tall rangy black goalkeepers, who are currently doing way better than either of these two guys, and would be a nice fit for Milan.

      2. “….you totally mis-understand the PSxG-GA”
        No I didn’t misundestood PSxG-GA, and I conceided time and time again than Mike should have stopped many of the goals he conceided.
        But that still is not the only explanation for Milan conceiding so many goals to begin with.
        Even with a scudetto shape Milan, we would have still lost to inter, juve, psg and dortmund the same way we did.

  3. He’s the best player we can have as GK .
    If we can find a better one or in the same level as Maignan we are gonna have to pay twice or more that we got Maignan from Lille Which is 30m+ and I really doubt our broke management would pay that much for any player we have to get to be competitive

  4. He’ll get back to his usual form and people will be back to singing his praises. There was one person on here who wanted to sell Maignan, and then sign De Gea and I’m still laughing lol.

    Na, we have a great keeper and keepers really don’t peak until much later in their careers.

  5. His dip in form is palpable. Apparently his near post is his weakness so I’m guessing our opposition players will study that and take more near post shots.

    But the problem is also with the defensive setup that doesn’t work but one that Pioli keeps using. I mean…………. 🙄

  6. Here’s an up and coming star that Milan could get for dirt cheap – Nigeria’s Stanley Nwabali.
    He saved two penalties at AFCON to beat South Africa, in South Africa, to send Nigeria to the finals, and has had an outstanding AFCON.
    He’s 6’5″ tall and used to play as a striker, so should be good with the ball at his feet.
    One of the many, many up and coming African-origin goalkeepers from that mold. Many are in Ligue Un already. Stanley Nwabali still plays in Nigeria, but is almost certain to get a contract somewhere in Europe after this performance.
    Milan would be incredibly stupid to sign Mike Maignan to a huge contract when there are so many other goalkeepers doing far better than him right now. Better to sell him before people realize just how bad he’s gotten

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