Cole expecting backlash from Arsenal fans

December 8, 2006

Chelsea defender Ashley Cole expects a torrid time from Arsenal fans when the clubs meet on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

Cole left the Gunners for Jose Mourinho`s champions in acrimonious circumstances following the infamous 'tapping-up' scandal.

'I have to be honest with myself. I think I am going to get booed badly. I am well aware that some fans are very angry. I don`t think I did anything wrong but I know I am never going to win out of this situation,' said Cole in a Shoot magazine article reproduced in the Daily Mirror.

'Some people are going to agree with what I have done and some are not. But I didn't move for money. It was a point of principle. I didn't feel I was wanted.'

Meanwhile Arsene Wenger has hailed Cole's 'fantastic contribution' to Arsenal as the England star prepares to face his old club.

Cole is expected to line up for Chelsea against the Gunners at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann saying Cole must 'expect criticism' from the visiting supporters following his controversial switch on transfer deadline day.

Since then Arsenal supporters have been further enraged by Cole when he declared he had been 'betrayed' by the Gunners' offer of a £55,000-per-week contract in his autobiography 'My Defence'.

But Wenger sought to play down any lingering resentment between Arsenal and Cole, and told Arsenal TV Online: 'He had a difficult time because he was exposed a lot in the media but it finished all right.

'(He made a) fantastic contribution and he is a great player. He is showing that again with Chelsea and we are not surprised to see that. But the fans wanted Ashley Cole here for the rest of his career, it didn't happen for different reasons.

'We do not say now 'is it his fault, is it our fault?'. It's just the way it is and the most important thing is that he makes a great career and that Arsenal has good results.'