Cole's Eager to Go Down in History Books as a Five-Star Cup Collector ; the Chelsea Defender Will Equal a Record in the FA Cup Which Has Stood for 118 Years If He Can Overcome Everton at Wembley Tomorrow
Collomosse, Tom, The Evening Standard (London, England)
IF Ashley Cole helps Chelsea end their two-year trophy drought by beating Everton in tomorrow's FA Cup Final, the England left-back will equal a record which has stood for years.
Cole has already picked up four winner's medals in the competition, three with Arsenal in and , and also after Chelsea's victory over Manchester United in the first final at the new Wembley Stadium in . Currently, Cole is one of seven players to have won the trophy. four times. His former Arsenal team-mates David Seaman, Patrick Vieira and Ray Parlour are in that group, along with Ryan Giggs and former Manchester United stars Mark Hughes and Roy Keane.
But if Cole and his teammates can outwit Everton, the -year-old will become the first player to claim a fifth winner's medal since Jimmy Forrest , of Blackburn, achieved a quintuple in1891. The only other men to achieve the feat were Charles Wollaston, in1878 , and Arthur Kinnaird, in 1882 .
"If I could get to this milestone, it would be a great thing to achieve," said Cole, who was an extra-time substitute when Chelsea beat United in2007.
"Winning the FA Cup is a big achievement in my life and I would be honoured to have the record."
A place in the history books would be the perfect end to an impressive season for Cole, during which he has finally produced the form he displayed at Arsenal on a consistent basis, following a difficult first two years at Chelsea since his controversial move from Arsenal three years ago.
Chelsea have far more experience of major matches than Everton, who have not reached a big final since winning the FA Cup in , and Cole hopes this extra know-how will give Guus Hiddink's team the edge on the day.
Yet even though Chelsea enter the game as heavy favourites, Cole knows they will find it difficult to overcome David Moyes's well- drilled side, who finished fifth in the Premier League for the second consecutive sea-sonHe said: "Everton work very well as team, which makes them very difficult to play against .
"Louis Saha is an excellent striker, Marouane Fellaini is very threat-ening in the air, and Leon Osman is a very good player. They also have a good base in defence with Joleon Lescott and Joseph Yobo, as well as Leighton Baines at left-back .
"After getting to the final, they will want to go out and win the game but hopefully the longer the game goes on, the more we can gain the upper hand.
"Our players are used to playing in the major matches, so hopefully the occasion will get to Everton more than us."
Even though Moyes does not have the financial power of many of his rivals in the top flight, he has overcome injuries to key players like Mikel Arteta and Yakubu to ensure Everton finished one place outside the top four this term.
Moyes's achievements at Goodison Park have led many to question why the Scot has never been offered a job at one of England's elite clubs.
Although Cole would not be drawn on the possibility of Moyes's managing one of the Big Four, his admiration for the former Preston boss is clear. "He has been brilliant," said Cole. "The way he has got the players working and fighting for each other is great. You look at David and you see that he is one of the managers of the year. He deserves to be seen as that - he has done a great job for Everton. It is almost a pity that we are playing them in the cup final, because I would like to see David win something. He is a manager I rate very highly but, of course, we want to win on the day.
"We drew with Everton twice durinthe season and both were quite boring games. But I don't see this being boring, or . Hopefully, we can have the edge on them."
If Chelsea do prevail, the victory party would still be tinged with some sadness due to the impending departure of Hiddink.
Like so many of his Chelsea teammates, Cole will miss the presence of the Dutchman, who leaves Stamford Bridge to regain full- time control of the Russian national team following a successful spell since he took temporary chargof the Blues in February. …