PREVIEW: WEEKEND FRENCH ACTION
Carlos Bocanegra and surprising Saint Etienne will be out to prove a point versus defending Ligue 1 champions Marseille while Quentin Westberg and Evian hope to make up ground in Ligue 2 when they visit Clermont-Ferrand.
Saint Etienne – Marseille
Carlos Bocanegra and league-leaders Saint-Etienne have a chance to prove their mettle when they play host to the reigning Ligue 1 champions Marseille on Saturday.
Bocanegra started and played the full 90 minutes against another difficult opponent, Lyon, last weekend, putting in a solid shift at left back and helping the defense to their third shutout of the season.
Dimitri Payet will be one to watch on Saturday after the Réunion-born midfielder was called up by Laurent Blanc for France's Euro 2012 qualifiers against Romania and Luxembourg next week.
Payet has scored seven goals in seven games so far, including a stunning free kick that beat Lyon last weekend, a streak that has not gone unnoticed by Didier Deschamp's men.
While Saint-Etienne have been playing with plenty of confidence, Marseille will need to recover quickly from their midweek Champions League loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
After losing their first two games of the season, Marseille have now fought their way back to sixth place after three wins in five games.
Both Christophe Galtier and Didier Deschamps have relatively healthy squads to choose from.
Saint-Etienne will be missing the injured duo of Yoann Andreu and Josuha Guilavogui while Marseille are waiting on the fitness of Fabrice Abriel after the midfielder injured his ankle in training.
Clermont-Ferrand - Evian TG
Quentin Westberg and Evian Thonon-Gaillard travel to face Clermont-Ferrand this Friday with hopes of closing the three-point gap on league-leaders Tours FC.
After making his debut last week against Boulogne, Westberg is expected to start in goal again in the absence of the injured Johann Durand.
Evian TG are without midfielder Jonathan Roufosse and striker Yannick Sagbo, sidelined with calf and achilles tendon injuries, respectively.
Central defender Sasa Cilinsek was dropped by Bernard Casoni after last week's 0-0 tie against Boulogne.
Evian TG are currently fourth with 14 points, but have won only once in their last five games.
Clermont sit in 14th with nine points. The Auvergne-based club have won two of their last five games, scoring eight goals in the process.