Never really understood the title phrase because frankly the thought of it is gross, but you have to believe that was what Allegri was thinking on Sunday when Rino pulled up lame, Nesta popped his shoulder, and suddenly there was not a healthy midfielder in the bunch. He did admirably well though moving Silva into the midfield and dropped Yepes into defense and the team was in order, albeit a bit disjointed, but in order nonetheless. Sure you can argue that Antonini to LM and Silva to LB would have been the smarter option, but with the result secure you can’t question Allegri all that much.
So basically what happens, when well the unthinkable happens? Other than a moment of brief panic you have to make do with what you have which is why depth and versatility are two extremely attributes to a successful team. Over the past few season Milan have had players who were/are very compartmentalized, DM, LW, CM, Striker or RB; but the summer and the January window have brought some new faces and some new versatility to the fold. Robinho has proved an asset simply because he can play in every facet of the attack, much like Cassano, so right away you have new found versatility. The midfield has KPB and Merkel both capable of playing behind strikers or in the three man midfield line. Not to mention defenders like Bonera and Zambro can play either flank, for better or for worse.
Now this is not as beneficial when injuries strike because these players are not always available (KPB and Zambro) so the addition of more versatility in Emanuelson and Van Bommel makes this transfer window a success. Adding a LB who could also play LM, say Criscito, would make this one of the single most intelligent and beneficial January windows I can remember as a Milan fan, but it hasn’t happened yet so fingers crossed. As for Emanuelson, he is a left footed player who is very versatile, better attacking than defending, but can be used at any spot on the flank. Van Bommel brings desperately needed depth in the grit positions occupied most often by Ambro and Rino and instantly makes Milan more competitive on the three fronts. Van Bommel can also play behind strikers if absolutely needed to, but his attributes are far better suited to destruct than to create.
Adding two players to the depth sheet on the most demanding position in Allegri’s formation should go a long way. With these buys Allegri doesn’t need to worry about who to sub and when any longer because he has options now on the bench for almost every scenario both winning and losing while giving Milan the squad depth to be a real contender. He also won’t waste much time in getting these guys into a match based on the call-ups for tomorrow:
Abbiati, Di Fabio, Roma, Abate, Antonini, Ely (no. 53), Jankulovski, Oddo, Papastathopoulos, Thiago Silva, Yepes, Calvano (no. 54), Emanuelson (no. 28), Merkel, Van Bommel (no. 4), Cassano, Ibrahimovic, Oduamadi, Pato, Robinho.
Unavailable: Amelia, Bonera, Nesta, Zambrotta, Ambrosini, Boateng, Flamini, Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf, Strasser, Inzaghi.
From the looks of it both new boys will start in the midfield, and I would roll out something like this:
Roma; Abate, Silva, Yepes, Ants; MVB, Merkel, Emanuelson; Robinho; Pato, Oduamadi (only to give Zlatan a break!)
This lineup assures some continuity and relationship building in defense with Yepes and Silva, and rewards Merkel for his class performance on the weekend. I can’t help but feel Zlatan needs a break which is why I chose Odu. See you tomorrow for the match!