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Roma struggle for goals and form

Published: Monday 23 December 2002, 0.30CET's mid-term report on Fabio Capello's AS Roma, who have struggled to hit top form this season.
Published: Monday 23 December 2002, 0.30CET

Roma struggle for goals and form's mid-term report on Fabio Capello's AS Roma, who have struggled to hit top form this season.

With the UEFA Champions League on its winter break, will publish mid-term reports on the 16 remaining sides in the competition every day until 31 December. Today we look at Fabio Capello's AS Roma who have struggled in Europe since ending their 18-year Serie A title drought in 2000/01.

Story so far
Roma have the most problems of all the Italian sides in the UEFA Champions League’s second group stage. In Serie A, the Giallorossi are struggling well behind city rivals S.S. Lazio so the pressure is on them in Europe. However, after losing 3-1 at the Stadio Olimpico against Arsenal in the first match of the second group stage and then losing 2-1 to AFC Ajax, the way to the quarter-finals looks all but impossible. In Serie A their defensive record is amongst the poorest in the league, although they are scoring freely. In Europe, they are struggling on both fronts despite coming up against relative minnows in AEK Athens and KRC Genk, as well as an out-of-form Real Madrid CF, in the first group stage. The situation has left experienced coach Fabio Capello with a number of problems that are not too simple to solve.

After the winter break coach Capello will at least be able to count on Italian international Marco Delvecchio, who missed the first part of the season with a knee injury. Delvecchio is an important player for Capello because he is the only forward in Roma's squad who consistently helps out at both ends of the pitch. With Delvecchio playing Vincent Candela and Cafu have more freedom to attack on the flanks and get into dangerous positions.

Roma are having problems scoring goals in Europe, and only just slipped their way through the first group stage, scoring a paltry three goals in six games. The main reason is that the team has barely changed in the three years since the Giallorossi
won the Scudetto in 2000 and strikers Gabriel Batistuta and Vincenzo Montella are struggling for form. Indeed, youngster Antonio Cassano is Roma's leading scorer in the competition with two goals.

Key man - Francesco Totti
Talismanic captain Francesco Totti is arguably Roma’s best player and they missed him when he was out with injury at the beginning of the season. The 26-year-old forward is currently playing his eleventh season at the club and scored the decisive goal in Roma's 1-0 win over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu Stadium in the first group stage.

Best moment so far
After losing 3-0 against Parma AC and then going down  3-1 at home to Arsenal three days later, Capello was forced to call a meeting with his players. He got the reaction he was looking for in the next match against Juventus FC, a 2-2 home draw, but unfortunately they have been unable to keep that form up since.

Last updated: 23/12/02 10.54CET

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