Injuries have absolutely dominated the Milan landscape since the beginning of the year. New arrivals being integrated, and players returning healthy are never an easy task for any manager and Allegri has had to juggle his lineups and players out of position to put forward a solid winning eleven. The Thiago Silva in midfield was one such experiment, and while he does amazing work in "bossing" the middle of the field the passing void in the midfield is plainly evident. It is ironic however that a fully healthy and potent Milan attack cannot take over a match, but it just goes to show how important link play and a solid spine are to any good attack. You can have the best attack in the World but without proper passing, possession, and build-up they can’t dominate.
Getting Gattuso, Van Bommel, and even Seedorf, yes Seedorf, back is going to make a big difference. Most importantly because it gets Thiago Silva back to the back line where he belongs, but it also provides a midfielder capable of checking to the ball and maintaining possession in the middle of the pitch. Allegri will likely look to make the formation a bit more compact from North to South, but needs to be weary of Genoa’s tendency to attack the wings with pace. This should be manageable, especially if Milan maintains possession, but the outside backs will probably have more defensive responsibilities than in the past few games where they have been able to attack with relative ease.
Every fixture moving forward will continue to bring to the team to full strength as players get healthy, this of course not barring any future injuries. So the team will once again build cohesion and chemistry and lead to Allegri’s ultimate goal, in my opinion, which is to create two solid teams to compete in the CL and Scudetto/Coppa. Should be something when it finally comes to fruition, in the meantime we can keep throwing darts at the roster and pick projected lineups, so here goes nothing:
Abbiati; Oddo, Silva, Yepes, Antonini; Emanuelson, Van Bommel, Gattuso; Robinho; Cassano, Zlatan
With no midweek matches in the upcoming week it will be OK to push Emanuelson, Robinho, and Zlatan; but you could also make a case for Merkel/Cassano at CAM with Robinho and Pato up front. Pato has struggled alongside Zlatan this season and it will be intriguing to see if he can find some sort of form alongside Robinho. It will also make the Genoa backline and our old friend Kaladze nervous to have those guys fly around in the attacking third. Not to mention Zlatan could use a rest both physically and mentally as his frustrations are mounting and you can see it on his face with every poor touch and misplaced pass.
Getting Rino back is a big help just in terms of team spirit, and having Van Bommel function in the Ambro role will be sufficient. Allegri can then keep Seedorf and Flamini on the ready depending on the flow of the match and what is needed. Hopefully he won’t have to use 2 of 3 subs for CB’s but right now all he has left is Sokratis anyway, so here is hoping for no more freak injuries! Milan has been successful in the past against Genoa, and that shouldn’t change this weekend, we were fortunate that Napoli and Roma dropped points, but with Inter seemingly yet to be Leo-fied and now Chivu gets a four game ban, I have to believe they are going to continue to ride their luck! In case you missed past Genoa matches, here is a reminder...