Ashley Cole raised a few eyebrows with his selection for the best combined XI, comprising of his former Arsenal and Chelsea teammates.
Former Arsenal and Chelsea defender Ashley Cole made a few interesting picks in his best combined XI featuring players from the legendary Arsenal Invincibles side of 2003-04 and Chelsea’s 2009-10 title-winning side on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
The 38-year-old defender spent some of his finest years in the game with Arsenal and Chelsea, winning a combined three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups, one League Cup, the Europa League and the Champions League with the London sides during his career.
Cole was part of the all-conquering Invincibles’ side with Arsenal in the 2003-04 season and was a key member of the Chelsea team that lifted the Premier League in 2009-10 under Carlo Ancelotti.
Appearing on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, where he also made an interesting comment over the best manager he has played under, Cole was presented with both teams and asked to merge them into the best possible XI. And the defender, who recently returned to English football with Championship side Derby County last month, chose to go with Petr Cech in goal over Arsenal’s Jens Lehmann, while choosing himself at left-back.
The 38-year-old had difficulty deciding the right-back, picking between Lauren and Branislav Ivanovic, but decided to go with the latter over the Gunners’ former full-back.
Explaining his decision, Cole said (h/t Daily Mail), “This is a tough one because Lauren was such a good player, scored vital goals for us. But the same with Ivanovic so I’m going to put Ivanovic right back. I’d probably say Lauren was a better defender but Ivanovic scored and turned up at more important times of the season.”
Former Chelsea captain John Terry got the nod in defence alongside Arsenal’s Sol Campbell, ahead of Ricardo Carvalho and Kolo Toure. The left-back then went on to name Frank Lampard, who happens to be his manager now at Derby County, in midfield, along with the captain of the Invincibles side Patrick Vieira.
Cole decided to go with Florent Malouda on the right flank in his combined XI, having enjoyed a successful partnership with the Frenchman during his stint at Chelsea. “I’m going to put Malouda on the right, cutting in, because me and him had such good chemistry,” Cole said. On the left-side of the midfield was Arsenal legend Robert Pires.
With the two strikers’ slots left to be filled, Cole had some tough decisions to make, having played with some elite forwards during his stint with Chelsea and Arsenal.
The 107-time capped former England international had to choose among Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba. And he decided to go with the duo of Henry and Drogba, leaving Anelka and Bergkamp out of his combined XI.
“He’s definitely one of the best players I’ve ever played with,” Cole said of Bergkamp before adding, “He’s a great guy but I’ve got to leave him out. The reason is I don’t think I played with him long enough week in, week out for him to be in front of Drogba. If it wasn’t for Drogba I wouldn’t have a Champions League medal around my neck.”
Some interesting inclusions as well as some unlucky ones who missed out. But, having been a part of two great Premier League sides, a few were bound to miss out in the Combined XI.