BREAKING: I Watched Enzo Maresca Win Championship Title And Know Why Chelsea Want Mikel Arteta 2.0

Chelsea are moving quickly to appoint Mauricio Pochettino’s replacement – and it’s fair to say there has been an underwhelming response to the list of names on their shortlist. The club confirmed Pochettino’s exit on Tuesday evening after less than a year at the club. Since then, a host of managers dotted around Europe have been tipped to replace him. football.london understands that Kieran McKenna, Enzo Maresca and Sebastian Hoeness have all been identified as possible replacements....Read The Full Story Here ▶

Other names, such as Ruben Amorim and Michel, have circulated online but it does seem as though, right now, that it’ll be McKenna or Maresca. The former is on Manchester United and Brighton’s radar, but Maresca is growing in stature in his chances of taking over at Stamford Bridge.

The Leicester City boss holds great respect from the club hierarchy after his first full season in charge. After taking over at the King Power Stadium following their relegation to the Championship, the 44-year-old led the club back to the Premier League in impressive fashion.

However, his lack of experience has cast doubts over his ability to manage at a football club the size of Chelsea. After a short stay at Parma in Italy, Maresca’s managerial journey has only experienced one full season.

Despite this, there’s a strong case for Maresca to be given the chance. After watching him lead Leicester to dominate the Championship with a possession-based style of play, the potential is there.

After working with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City during their treble-winning season, Maresca moved to the Championship with a system the league had never experienced. Unlike Vincent Kompany’s ideology at Burnley the season prior, Leicester’s whole game was based around dominating the ball and hurting their opponents in a patient manner.

At times last season, Maresca was often frustrated at his team for their occasional counter-attacking goals. Against Birmingham last season, Leicester scored back-to-back goals on the counter; Enzo wasn’t keen on it. In the 5-0 win over Southampton, Leicester scored three goals in quick succession by capitalising on their opponents pushing men forward; he wasn’t as thrilled as the 32,000 supporters.

Leicester boasted an 86.5% pass completion rate last season, with only Southampton beating them in that metric. Managers often get criticised for refusing to budge from their non-negotiables, but Maresca stuck with his principles when the going did get tough.

The football methods are undoubtedly easy on the eye. The sole basis behind it is to keep the ball, frustrate the opponent, open space, and penetrate through the lines. Technically gifted players are important, but the thought process behind them plays a big part.

Ricardo Pereira, previously an offensive wing-back down the right, established himself as an inverted full-back to join Harry Winks in midfield. Marc Cucurella, under Pochettino, played a similar role towards the end of the season by coming inside to create an overload in the middle of the park.

Lining-up on paper as a 4-3-3, the in-possession shape becomes a 3-2-2-2-1. The other full-back tucks in to create a back three with two attacking midfielders – or number eights – advancing further forward ahead of the holding pair.

Imagine Moises Caicedo and Cucurella (or a better inverted wing-back) in the pivot with Enzo Fernandez and Conor Gallagher – should he stay – further forward. The striker role is important, too.

Jamie Vardy, renowned for his electric pace and darting runs behind the defence, managed to successfully transform his game as a complete forward, joining the play up with the two No.8s and wingers. That sort of play, perhaps, doesn’t suit Nicolas Jackson, but it’s perfect for Victor Osimhen.

Aside from football, the job of a manager is to keep both the players and supporters happy. After replacing Dean Smith, Maresca’s style of play convinced the likes of Wilfred Ndidi, Kelechi Iheanacho and others to stay at the club despite interest from Europe and the Premier League.

After promotion was secured, a group of players made their way to the Italian’s house to celebrate the return to the top flight with beers, wine and cigars. Each player under Maresca has come out and admitted their admiration for his management, and that could be vital for Chelsea.

Arguably one of his biggest problems, if he is appointed, will be getting the fanbase on his side. Through no fault of his own, the Chelsea fans are unhappy with the decision to part ways with Pochettino, and whoever comes in faces the tough task of getting them on side.

The reception for Maresca has already been harsh. However, from watching him as a journalist at Leicester, the Italian goes out of his way to show his appreciation to supporters and build a rapport with them. The clique saying ‘he just gets what it means’ was often passed around Leicester last season, hence the anxiety of what’s to come if he does leave.

It’s certainly a risk. Appointing a manager who has earned promotion from the Championship with the best-assembled set of players the second flight has ever seen comes with its own risks.

However, the experience working with Guardiola does work, and Arsenal have proved that with Mikel Arteta. The Gunners boss replaced Unai Emery in his first managerial role and has built the North Londoners up to the second-best team in the country.

Maresca may not be the headline appointment fans want, but he ticks a lot of boxes for the project that Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital want. If he is the chosen one, then expect to dominate the majority of games with a passionate head coach on the touchline.
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