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Football: Hot Totti a key aspect of Roma's recovery; EUROPEAN FOOTBALL.

Byline: By Dan Childs

IT HAS taken a long time for Roma to play their best football but they have been one of the form teams in Serie A in recent weeks and they are worthy favourites to pick up three points from today's clash away to Chievo.

The Wolves looked set for a relegation scrap after picking up just seven points from their opening nine league games, but last month's glorious 3-1 win at home to Chelsea in the Champions League has proved to be a turning point.

Success over the Blues was the start of an unbeaten run which stretched to six games following last Sunday's 1-0 victory at home to Fiorentina.

Luciano Spalletti's men still have a long way to go, but instead of worrying about Serie A survival the focus has switched to the top of the table.

Just seven points separate Roma from the top four and Spalletti will expect his charges to edge a little closer to the Champions League qualification places this weekend.

With pivotal forward Francesco Totti fully-fit and firing on all cylinders - he has banged in five goals in his last seven appearances - Roma are finally looking like a force to be reckoned with.

And if they play to their potential they should sweep aside Chievo this afternoon.

The Verona-based strugglers remain at the bottom of the table despite last Sunday's remarkable 1-0 victory away to Udinese.

Confidence will have been lifted by that result in Udine, but it is hard to see Chievo claiming a first home victory since August.

Marseille have picked up just two points from their last three league games, but they can bolster their title challenge with a win at home to Nice.

It has been a struggle for Marseille to combine Champions L eague foot ball with Le Championnat, but they have done well to stay within six points of leaders Lyon.

Target man Mamadou Niang and winger Hatem Ben Arfa ensure that there is genuine power and pace about the Marseille attack and their extra firepower should account for Nice, who were flattered by their 1-0 victory at struggling St Etienne a fortnight ago.

Recommendations

Roma

2pts 4-5 Betdirect, Stan James

Marseille

2pts 3-4 general

CAPTION(S):

Inspirational Roma skipper Francesco Totti (right) has taken a lot of stopping in recent weeks after hitting top form
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 6, 2008
Words:392
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