Enzo Maresca: How Ex Leicester City Boss' Appointment As Chelsea Coach Could Benefit 4 Key Players

Enzo Maresca: How Ex Leicester City Boss' Appointment As Chelsea Coach Could Benefit 4 Key Players

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at June 3, 2024 at 2:34 PM
In this article:
Reece James logo
R. James
Chelsea logoDEngland logo
Noni Madueke logo
N. Madueke
Chelsea logoFEngland logo
Kepa Arrizabalaga logo
Chelsea logoGSpain logo
Chelsea logo
E. Maresca
-MItaly logo
English Premier League logo
ENG Premier League
Leicester City logo
Leicester City
Enzo Jeremias Fernández logo
E. J. Fernández
Chelsea logoMArgentina logo
  • Chelsea have appointed Leicester City boss, Enzo Maresca, as the club's new head coach, replacing Mauricio Pochettino at Stamford Bridge
  • Maresca plays an attractive style of football based on possession and dominance akin to that of mentor and Man City boss Pep Guardiola
  • Following his appointment, Sports Brief looks at the four players who will witness a rejuvenation under the guidance of the Italian

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Former Leicester City manager, Enzo Maresca, has agreed to become Chelsea's new head coach on a five-year contract, with a club option of a further year.

Following Mauricio Pochettino's departure, the west London club swiftly identified Maresca as their top target despite considering several other candidates.

Enzo Maresca, Leicester City, Chelsea, Enzo Fernandez, Reece James, Noni Madueke, benefit, appointment, head coach.
Enzo Maresca gleefully hoists the Championship trophy after guiding Leicester City back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. Photo by Plumb Images.
Source: Getty Images

Maresca, who previously served as Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City, employed a similar tactical approach with Leicester City, guiding them to an impressive 97 points in their Championship campaign.

The 4 players to benefit from Enzo Maresca's appointment

With his move to Chelsea, Sports Brief analyses how the highly-rated Italian manager, known for his Guardiola-inspired methods, could transform the fortunes of four Chelsea stars.

1. Reece James

When fully fit, few fullbacks can match Reece James' quality. However, his struggle to stay healthy has hindered his ascent to greatness.

Nonetheless, Enzo Maresca's appointment could benefit James significantly. Maresca's system typically pushes one fullback, often the right-back, into a midfield role when in possession.

Last season, Mauricio Pochettino used Marc Cucurella in a similar capacity. If Maresca applies this tactic, which he would with James, who is statistically a better passer than Cucurella, it could enhance James' game.

Additionally, this strategy might reduce his injury rate, as he would be required to zero to no overlapping and underlapping runs down the right flank, which demands a lot physically.

2. Enzo Fernandez

Reports indicate that Maresca won over Chelsea with his plan to help their record signing, Enzo Fernandez, reach his full potential after a frustrating start in West London.

Despite making 40 appearances across all competitions, the 2022 World Cup winner has yet to reach the expected heights that greeted his signing.

However, given how Maresca transformed Harry Winks into a deep-lying playmaker reminiscent of Andrea Pirlo, there is great anticipation for what he can achieve with Fernandez, who possesses even higher potential.

Maresca's preferred 4-3-3 formation with an inverted midfield triangle, as seen at Leicester, is expected to feature Fernandez in a deep-lying playmaking role known as Regista (which means director) in Italy.

Here, Fernandez can dictate the game's tempo with his impressive range of passes.

Maresca used Winks as the crucial link between defence and attack, building through the lines and controlling the game. Under Maresca's guidance, Fernandez could thrive in a similar role.

3. Noni Madueke

Like his mentor, Guardiola, and fellow disciple, Mikel Arteta, Maresca employs wingers who excel in one-on-one situations.

Last season, he utilised Stephy Mavididi and Abdul Fatawu, who had the most one-on-one duels in the Championship.

One player who could thrive under this system is Noni Madueke.

The English winger showed signs of rejuvenation during Chelsea's run to a sixth-place finish.

His style of play aligns perfectly with Maresca's approach and could help him regain the form he displayed at PSV Eindhoven, where he terrorised defenders in the Eredivisie.

Madueke managed just eight goals and three assists across all competitions for the Blues last season, according to Transfermarkt.

With Maresca's system, he has the potential to significantly improve these numbers.

4. Kepa Arrizabalaga

One of Maresca's first signings at Leicester City was goalkeeper Mads Hermansen.

As noted by Sky Sports, he quickly established himself as one of the Championship's top shot-stoppers and demonstrated strong footwork.

Maresca's strategy allowed Hermansen to venture out of his goal, adding an extra player in the build-up and forming a back two with Jannik Vestergaard.

This approach could greatly benefit Kepa Arrizabalaga, who is set to return from his season-long loan at Real Madrid after winning the UEFA Champions League on Saturday, June 1.

Like Hermansen, Kepa is very comfortable with the ball at his feet, if not an upgraded version of Leicester City's No. 1 goalkeeper.

The Italian manager's appointment could help Kepa rediscover the form and confidence that led Chelsea to spend a record £72 million on him.

Hazard picks Fabregas as favourite for Chelsea job

Meanwhile, Eden Hazard has weighed in on Chelsea's search for a new head coach following Pochettino's departure, as reported by Sports Brief.

He humorously suggested his former teammate, Cesc Fabregas, as his preferred candidate for the Stamford Bridge role.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.