The Latics lacked cut and thrust going forwards in the absence of Maloney last month as the former Celtic player had to sit out through injury.
Since his return, the Scotland international has been in good form and that has not gone un-noticed by Roberto Martinez.
In particular Martinez singled out Maloney's display against his former club, Aston Villa, at the weekend.
"Shaun Maloney is one of the most gifted players you can see in this league," said Martinez. "He has a good eye for a pass but other than that he has moved to a different level.
"His performance against Villa was of the highest, highest level. This season is a reflection of what he did last season. I hope he gets a lot of recognition as he deserves all the credit.
"Maloney is a fine professional and a massive asset to Wigan."
It was Maloney's goal last season that separated the Latics and Manchester United at the DW Stadium and a repeat on New Year's Day would be very much appreciated amongst the Latics supporters.