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Mauricio for Maresca: Chelsea's Latest Manager Appointed

When looking at the direction of Chelsea Football Club since BlueCo took over in May 2022, it’s safe to say that there hasn’t exactly been much stability. Most of the first-team squad has been replaced by untested youth, and only now are the rewards of that move starting to show. Over €1.0802 billion has been shelled out on players - and the club has only avoided breaching Financial Fair Play rules due to some tricky accounting. Perhaps the statistic that stands out the most, however, is that Chelsea has had six managers in the last two years. It’s the kind of turnover that tells you something just isn’t working for the club up to this point.

Despite the six managers in such a short span, the manager for the 23/24 season was allowed an entire season to implement his strategies. Mauricio Pochettino took the club from struggling in the midtable to finishing the season in sixth place, with a place in the Europa Conference League giving the club another chance to bring home silverware next season. Pochettino left the club by mutual consent at the end of the season despite a run-in that saw Chelsea destroying their competition in a way that showed that with his starters healthy, his tactics could compete with any team in the Premier League. The decision to leave for Poch likely also had to do with the board wanting control over sporting operations. They’ve been looking for a manager who is happy playing the head coach role, and Chelsea’s manager seems to be an ideal fit.

So now, a sixth manager has been appointed. Enzo Maresca, fresh off a Championship title that saw Leicester City immediately promoted back to the Premier League, has officially signed a lengthy five-year contract to be Chelsea’s manager for the foreseeable future. Of course, only time will tell if that lasts.

Maresca had a long career as a midfielder, with some of his notable clubs including Juventus, Olympiacos, and Sevilla. Since his start in coaching in 2020, he has spent time with Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad, a year as manager at Parma before being sacked, and a year as an assistant coach under Pep Guardiola, where he won a Premier League title.

Chelsea will pose a different kind of challenge, but one that should excite him. Per The Athletic, Maresca spent time studying chess and finding a teacher in Palermo, where he became quite accomplished. “Anyone strolling around the library at Coverciano, the Italian Football Federation’s coaching school on the outskirts of Florence, which is to UEFA Pro Licences what Harvard Business School is to MBAs, can pull down his thesis and read about how the hypermodern Nimzo-Indian defense used by every world chess champion since Jose Raul ‘The Human Chess Machine’ Capablanca relates to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City sides.” His understanding of chess influences his coaching style, and any chess player would be thrilled to have pieces like he will have next season.

His tactical understanding means we should see some interesting formations and styles of play from Chelsea next year. With players like Cole Palmer, Niko Jackson, Moises Caicedo, and Conor Gallagher, we can reasonably assume that Maresca will allow his team the fluidity to tap into their individual strengths.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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