For 18 months the guy has looked pretty bloody hopeless but, following his match winning goal against Spurs and sparkling all round performance after coming off the bench, there is the hope that he may be about to deliver.
True it was only against Spurs, and even Vaz Te and Jarvis can score against Spurs this season, and true one goal does not a Premiership striker make, but confidence is such a key commodity and, for some time now, Maiga's confidence tank has been running on empty; so now with that goal injection, who knows what may happen?
Take a positive view and the guy has been getting better. True he has missed a stack of chances, but that means the old cliché applies, "You can't score if you don't get into positions to score", so let's be positive and say that Maiga has been getting into the box and getting on the end of things. And give him his due, even when in unlikely scoring positions, he has still let fly; well let float if we are honest but let's not quibble over the credibility nor velocity of his attempts!
What was really encouraging against Spurs was not only that he scored that goal - and he rose superbly and connected brilliantly to do so - but also that he hit the bar with a rasping shot full of vim, seizing on his chance in a flash and actually looking like a striker as he did so. Had that one gone in, I fancy it would have broken the net!
There's still the worry that he doesn't think like a striker because he is always that split second behind the play, chasing down a cross after it has been delivered, or running headless chicken style into the six yard box when a clever striker would check back and so create an opportunity, but maybe that is down to confidence too. Allardyce has presumably seen something on the training field because he keeps giving him a start.
Of course there's also a problem with timing - he could have picked a better game to score his first goal, given we have Manchester United and Arsenal coming up - because if Maiga's goals are going to come along like proverbial London buses, then, allowing for the quality of the opposition, he must be much much tastier than any of us have ever given him credit for!
So is he the real deal? Let's hope so! For now, I'm happy to admit that he is more useful on the pitch than a square football - marginally - but after all the negative things I have said about him, boy would I love Mogadon to prove me massively wrong between now and Carroll returning!