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We simulated Enzo Maresca's first season as Chelsea manager and this is what happened

Enzo Maresca at the end of the Championship match between Leicester City and Millwall
-Credit: (Image: Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)


Leicester City manager Enzo Maresca is set to become the new head coach at Chelsea following the departure of Mauricio Pochettino.

After just one season with Chelsea, Pochettino left by mutual consent ahead of the upcoming campaign, despite the Blues' improvement in the second half of the season that saw them lose just one of their last 15 league games and finish sixth in the Premier League. A few managers have been linked with the vacancy at Chelsea, but an agreement is now in place for Maresca to take charge in the Stamford Bridge dugout.

The Spanish manager left his role as assistant manager at Manchester City to join Leicester City last summer, with the 44-year-old leading the Foxes back to the Premier League as they won the Championship. football.london understands that Maresca will join Chelsea on a five-year deal.

So, how could Chelsea perform next season with Maresca in charge? Let's take a look.

Chelsea's 2023/24 season simulated with Enzo Maresca

To set up this simulation, we used Football Manager 2024 to move Enzo Maresca to Chelsea before simulating the 2024/25 season. This is what happened.

Maresca's first order of business was the summer transfer window, with two players joining the club - Crystal Palace's Michael Olise, and Leicester City's Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. Conor Gallagher departed the club for Spurs after Maresca's arrival, but the Englishman wasn't a big miss.

Chelsea's best players from the 2024/25 season
Chelsea's best players from the 2024/25 season -Credit:Football Manager 24

Dewsbury-Hall proved a fantastic signing, with the midfielder making the fourth most appearances in the 2024/25 season simulation. Cole Palmer was the most capped as he grabbed 17 goals and seven assists across all competitions, while Olise and Reece James also starred, with the latter managing to stay fit all season.

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Christopher Nkunku played 37 games for the Blues under Maresca, ending the campaign as the club's top scorer with 18 goals. Enzo Fernandez was the top assister (13), while Olise averaged the best rating per 90 minutes (7.38).

At the end of the season, Football Manager 2024 put together an overall best Chelsea XI based on performances, statistics, and other metrics. This is what it looked like:

Chelsea's best XI from the 2024/25 season
Chelsea's best XI from the 2024/25 season -Credit:Football Manager 24

Full Chelsea best XI: (4-3-3): Petrovic; James, Disasi, Fofana, Chilwell; Caicedo, Fernandez, Dewsbury-Hall; Olise, Nkunku, Palmer.

Maresca's best XI was set up in a 4-3-3, with Palmer playing on the left of the attacking trio to fit Olise in on the right. Dewsbury-Hall joined Fernandez and Moises Caicedo in midfield, while Wesley Fofana and Levi Colwill were the centre-back pairing of choice.

Chelsea started fantastically under Maresca, with a lack of injury issues a big bonus for the Blues. But, a poor end to the season saw the Blues drop some valuable points and miss out on a spot in the Champions League for the following campaign.

Chelsea finished fifth in the Premier League on goal difference
Chelsea finished fifth in the Premier League on goal difference -Credit:Football Manager 24

20 wins, nine draws, and nine defeats saw Chelsea end the season with 69 points, one fewer than Manchester United in fourth. Just one win in their last five saw the Blues drop down the table, meaning they finished in fifth, which is still an improvement on the 2023/24 season.

Maresca's side were knocked out of the Carabao Cup in the third round after a 2-1 loss to Liverpool, and they almost picked up a trophy in his first season, but a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal saw them miss out on the FA Cup in the final.