A nice little trivia question to start. What was Ki Sung-Yueng the last player to do in a Capital One Cup game on December 17th 2013?
A little clue was that he scored an injury-time winner in Sunderland’s 2-1 victory over Chelsea, something which hasn’t been achieved in ten fixtures since.
For all that Ashley Cole has been frozen out for much of the campaign by Jose Mourinho, this fixture was the last time that the 33-year-old was on the pitch when his club or country conceded a goal.
Cole has played 757 minutes since for Chelsea and England and is on course to start three Blues games in succession for just the second time since October in the second leg of the Champions League semi final with Atletico Madrid.
Chelsea are 5/6 to qualify for the final after their goalless draw in Spain and 7/5 to keep another clean sheet at Stamford Bridge.
However, it is not only Chelsea that may profit from Cole’s defensive nous, Roy Hodgson could well gain from picking the 100-cap veteran for England at the World Cup.
It is widely considered that Leighton Baines is the first choice at left-back, with Cole battling it out with Southampton teenager and Premier League team of the year member Luke Shaw to be his understudy.
Baines’ attacking plus points speak for themselves and he is the most creative defender in the Premier League this season, making 43 chances for teammates despite missing six Premier League games in late 2013 through injury.
But Hodgson is regarded as being more of a cautious and containing manager and not one to embody the philosophy of a full-blooded attacking mentality.
Most important for England in their World Cup Group D opener with Italy is arguably to avoid defeat and therefore it may pay to opt for the stronger defender at full-back over a teammate that prefers to get forward.
This is Cole and should he help England to a positive result, Baines can then be called upon to provide added attacking thrust in the other group matches with Uruguay and Costa Rica.