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Chelsea must follow Mikel Arteta blueprint at Arsenal as Enzo Maresca makes key four-word demand

Enzo Maresca
-Credit: (Image: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC)


"Just trust the process," a very serious Enzo Maresca asked of Chelsea supporters in some of his final words of his first-ever interview as Blues head coach.

"Trust the idea, be behind the team," Maresca continued. "For sure we are going to enjoy the journey. Like at every club, for every manager, it will not be easy because nothing is easy. But for sure we are going to enjoy the journey."

A smile followed as Maresca had completed the interview; a quick chat where he had told Chelsea supporters all around the world what they can expect from him and a squad that he leads. To be perfectly honest, not many people know what they are going to get from the Italian.

They only really have one season to go off - last time out in the Championship. Maresca led Leicester City straight back to the Premier League as they finished on 97 points to eventually lift the trophy at the King Power Stadium.

Maresca also had a spell at Parma; his first-ever senior managerial job but it turned out to be a disaster. He lasted less than six months back in his homeland and he then returned to Manchester City to continue his development as a coach.

A year later, Maresca joined Leicester and instantly became a favourite at the King Power. His ideology was taken on board by the players almost immediately, with their performances and results at the start of the season seeing the Foxes run away as clear favourites to lift the Championship trophy at the end of the campaign.

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The expectation and consequent pressure were always apparent at Leicester given the squad they had in the second-tier. It will be a different type of pressure, though, at Stamford Bridge with the expectation always sky-high amongst supporters.

It is one, however, that could take some time. When he was appointed last month, many were left shocked by the club handing him a five-year contract with the option of a further 12 months later down the line. For a club with the recent history of Chelsea, when it comes to their ruthlessness and brutality with managers/head coaches, it was unexpected.

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Mauricio Pochettino was handed a two-year deal. And we all know how that ended. It shows, though, that Chelsea are prepared to back Maresca and his "process". Although, as some fans have rightly pointed out, Graham Potter was also handed a five-year deal and he lasted even less time than his successor Pochettino.

Chelsea really do not have to look too far to find the blueprint to success and progress in a long-term project. In fact, they can stay in the same city and look at what has happened in north London.

Mikel Arteta used the term "trust the process" so often during his darkest days as Arsenal manager. It became almost a mantra of his early days at the Emirates Stadium where negative results and performances left some fans questioning whether the Spaniard was the right man to replace Unai Emery.

Arteta was hired by the Gunners in 2019 - and almost five years on from his appointment, he has well established himself as one of the most promising young coaches in world football. In back-to-back seasons, Arsenal have been agonisingly close to the Premier League title; only to be pipped by Manchester City - one of the greatest teams the country has ever seen.

A key to Arsenal's recent success and progress, albeit with very little in the way of trophies to show for it, has been recruitment. They have got so many transfer decisions right in recent years, whereas you look at Chelsea and it is obvious they have got some key ones completely wrong.

Arteta's brand of football has been the route to success for the north Londoners and their scouting team have been using that style to find the right profile of players. Just see what the Gunners did last season after signing Declan Rice, who played in a position/role where very few imagined he could flourish, and Kai Havertz, who looked twice the player he did at Stamford Bridge in the second half of last term especially.

Trusting the process is not always easy, though, as we saw last season with Pochettino. The Argentine was using the term frequently throughout his sole season in SW6 but at times it was difficult for fans to buy into that given the lack of progress on the pitch.

It needs to be a two-way thing. While the supporters should provide patience and a degree of levelheadedness, Maresca should also give the fans something to buy into. Create a connection with the supporters like Pochettino never could. Something we have not seen since the Thomas Tuchel days at Stamford Bridge.

Just trust the process.