PREVIEW: SAINT ETIENNE - AUXERRE
The increasingly tight and compact Ligue 1 returns to action this weekend with Carlos Bocanegra and Saint Etienne hosting Auxerre.
Bocanegra is now fully recuperated from a neck injury that sidelined him for almost a month and is expected to be in the Saint Etienne starting lineup on Saturday at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
It will be the first match in 10 days for the hosts who have not taken the field since a midweek Coupe de La Ligue loss to this weekend's foe.
Saint Etienne's match last weekend at Valenciennes was postponed due to heavy rains in the local area.
Bocanegra and company could only watch helplessly as they fell from sixth to tenth in the Ligue 1 standings with their postponement.
No other league in Europe this season is experiencing more parity than in France where first place and 19th place are separated by just eight points.
Points are at a premium so Saint Etienne will be looking to claim all three versus the current Champions League participants who also face Ajax just days later.
Saint Etienne will be without Yoann Andreu, Loic Perrin and Boubacar Sanogo while Cedric Hengbart appears to be the only absence for Auxerre.