When Modibo Maiga moved from Sochaux to West Ham, there was great belief the frontman from Mali could be a decent addition to the Hammers squad. However, his career now seems to have hit a slump and Maiga has made only 22 appearances since he joined in the summer of 2012, scoring only two goals. The question seems to be, why can he not replicate the form that he showed in France?
After the 2010-2011 season in France (where Maiga scored 15 goals in a 30-goal partnership upfront that season) he stated he wanted to leave Sochaux, because he wanted to move to the Premier League.
Maiga made his way back into the picture in Ligue 1. However, he and teammate Kevin Anin were refused moves away from the club, and critical supporters withdrew their support for the two of them. Maiga failed to replicate his scoring form of the season before and failed a medical with Newcastle United in December.
A move to West Ham saw a potential new lease of life under Sam Allardyce. Maiga is good in the air with a strong leap and it seemed that he would be a good addition to the squad. However, Maiga was pushed down the pecking order behind Carlton Cole and Andy Carroll, receiving very little match time.
When Maiga scored one of his two Premier League goals at Southampton, his almost defiant celebration spoke volumes. He would feature very little for the remainder of the season, which saw West Ham clinch an impressive top 10 finish. In the summer, Maiga was close to moving back to Ligue 1, but the fact that West Ham had only two senior strikers meant that the move fell through.
Lack of game time and a constant struggle to try and break the Carroll dependence for West Ham has definitely affected Maiga’s ability to perform with enthusiasm and 100% effort. His chance finally arrived at the start of this season, with Carroll out injured and Mladen Petric desperately seeking to regain match fitness. However, dreary performances with poor touches have just increased fans frustration at the current striker situation.
West Ham employed an audacious 4-6-0 formation on Sunday at White Hart Lane, notably leaving Maiga on the bench. This worked wonders and seemed to provide the Hammers with a crucial 'plan B' to break their need for a target man up front.
Maiga seems to lack confidence in himself and, most importantly, Big Sam. Being shut out for a whole season is a bad experience no matter what level you’re playing at, and Modibo just can’t seem to get himself going.
If he were to have scored a few goals at the back end of last season or at the beginning of this one, then he may have had more belief that he belonged at West Ham and that he had a role to play. Instead Maiga has been a flop, particularly considering the price that David Gold and David Sullivan paid for the Mali international. When he actually gets on the pitch, sauntering up front and failing to close down on numerous occasions doesn’t sit well with the Hammers faithful and it seems that it is only a matter of counting down the days to January before Maiga leaves Chadwell Heath for the last time.
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