Ashley Cole to be benched after crashing Arsenal Christmas party

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Ashely Cole will return to his former club Arsenal on Monday but is set to watch the game from the bench.

The left-back has been unable to work his way in to the Chelsea team in recent weeks having been dropped from the squad following the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle at the start of November.

Cole usually relishes returning to his former club Arsenal and even turned up to the Gunners' Christmas party earlier this week after Jose Mourinho cancelled the Blues bash following their defeat to Sunderland.

"I have my opinion but I keep it for myself," said Mourinho in his pre-match press conference.

"It was a free day for them. I’m not a father, I’m a manager and I can’t control what they do when they’re not with me.

"I don’t want to comment, I have my opinion. Not even to Ashley Cole I give my opinion because I don’t have to, it’s history.

"We trained in the afternoon the next day so I have no right to have a comment, I just have my opinion and I keep it to myself."

Although seemingly not particularly angered by Cole's antics, going to the Arsenal party has done Cole no favours in the eyes of Mourinho, who confirmed the England international will remain on the bench for the crunch clash at the Emirates Stadium.

"From the beginning Ashley’s not playing," Mourinho added.

"I play [Branislav] Ivanovic right-back and I play [Cesar] Azpilicueta left back. John Terry plays centre-back, then I have to make a decision between [Gary] Cahill and David Luiz."

Cole left Arsenal for Chelsea in controversial circumstances in 2006. Following a "tapping-up" scandal, Cole eventually forced his way out of north London in a £5m deal that also included William Gallas in exchange.

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