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.
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.