Ashley Cole Won't Play vs. Arsenal After Attending Gunners' Christmas Party

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2013

COBHAM, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Ashley Cole walks out during the Chelsea FC Training session ahead of tomorrow's UEFA Champions League match against FC Steaua Bucuresti on December 10, 2013 in Cobham, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Former Arsenal and current Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole decided to join the Gunners at their annual Christmas party ahead of a crucial match between the two teams, and he was photographed taking part in the festivities.

He may regret that decision, as it took Jose Mourinho out of the holiday spirit. The manager relegated Cole to the bench.

Here are Mourinho's comments, via Gerry Cox of The Telegraph:

I have my opinion but I keep it for myself.

It was a free day for them (the players), so I'm not a father, I'm a manager. I can control what they do when they are with me. I cannot control what they do when they are not with me.

I don't want to comment. I've not even given my opinion to Ashley Cole because I don't have to. It was his free day, his free night. The next morning we didn't train. We only trained in the afternoon, so I have no right to make a comment. I won't. I just have my opinion.

He was a bit blunter when asked where Cole stood for the game against the Gunners on Monday:

On the bench or at home.

I will play Branislav Ivanovic at right-back and [Cesar] Azpilicueta at left-back. From the beginning, Ashley is not playing, unless something happens between now and Monday. Normally, I'll play Azpilicueta at left-back.

While Mourinho managed to convey how he felt about Cole attending Arsenal's Christmas party despite his "no comment" approach, it's unclear if Cole would have started for Chelsea in this game in the first place. 

He has been benched for Chelsea's last six Premier League matches and has remained on the bench in eight of the team's last 10 matches. That's not good news for him in a World Cup year, as he tries to hold off Everton's Leighton Baines as England's first-choice left-back in Brazil.

And it remains to be seen if it will play well with the other veteran members of Chelsea's team, as players such as Frank Lampard and John Terry haven't seen their roles diminished and may feel compelled to stand on Cole's behalf.

As for Cole attending the Arsenal Christmas party, that's something that will probably upset supporters more than it would his teammates. Most players feature for more than one team in their career and relationships don't disappear once they change kits, so it's unlikely Chelsea's players will take issue with Cole's attendance at the party.

Of course, with the Blues and Gunners playing a key match on Monday, the timing could have been a little better.


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