PREVIEW: WEEKEND FRENCH ACTION
Charlie Davies could be making his much-anticipated return to action this weekend when Sochaux host Bordeaux while Carlos Bocanegra and Saint Etienne welcome in bottom feeders Arles.
Sochaux - Bordeaux
Sunday could very well be the day that American striker Charlie Davies makes his long-awaited return to the Sochaux first team when they host Bordeaux at Stade Auguste-Bonal in Ligue 1 action.
The date was October 3, 2009 when Davies last suited up for Sochaux in France's top flight in what was a 2-1 win over LeMans.
One week later the New Hampshire native played in the US' 3 - 2 win over Honduras that qualified Bob Bradley's squad for this past summer's World Cup in South Africa.
As everyone knows, Davies was critically injured just days after the Honduras match in a fatal car accident in the Washington DC area prior to the US' final CONCACAF qualifying match versus Costa Rica.
His long recovery appears to be nearing an end with a solid run-up of games for the Sochaux reserve squad.
Davies is not expected to start this weekend but might be an option off the bench versus Bordeaux.
Ironically, it was against Bordeaux when Davies had his finest moment last season in Ligue 1 scoring two goals against the club from France's wine country.
On the season, Sochaux currently sit 10th in the very compact league standings with Bordeaux just a point ahead of Davies and company.
Édouard Butin, Frédéric Duplus, Teddy Richert, Yassin Mikari and Vaclav Sverkos are out for Sochaux while Bordeaux will be missing Matthieu Chalme, Marc Planus, Carlos Henrique and Lamine Sane.
Saint Etienne - Arles
Carlos Bocanegra is set to take his usual spot in the Saint Etienne defense on Saturday versus last place Arles at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint Etienne.
Bocanegra's bunch got a big boost last weekend with their 0-2 win at AS Monaco which snapped a seven match Ligue 1 winless streak.
Head coach Christophe Galtier also received some good news this week after the club extended his contract through the 2013-2014 season.
Another three points will be there for the taking against Arles who have been abysmal this season.
While the bulk of the teams in the league have stayed within shouting distance of each other this season, Arles have fallen way off the pack and currently bring up the rear with a paltry seven points.
To boot, Arles have conceded a whopping 16 goals on the road in eight matches and have netted just three times away from the pleasant surroundings of Avignon.
Yoann Andreu and Boubacar Snogo remain injured for Saint Etienne and are unavailable while Arles will be missing Francisco Pavon, Hameur Bouazza, Jonathan and Thomas Ayasse.
Quentin Westberg will be the reserve goalkeeper for Evian who face Troyes this weekend in Ligue 2 action.