England’s striker crisis has been brought into sharper focus after Danny Welbeck was unfairly cautioned for kicking the ball away in the Three Lions’ 4-0 win against Moldova at Wembley.
Welbeck, who found the back of the net twice after getting booked as the home side made easy work of their lowly opponents, was visibly upset and protested with referee Ivan Kruzliak that he had not heard the whistle after being ruled offside.
That yellow card, allied with the one he picked up for diving in Montenegro when Roy Hodgson’s side should have had a penalty, rules the Manchester United striker out of England’s crunch qualifier with Ukraine.
With Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge already missing due to injuries, the hopes of a nation now rest on the burly shoulders of Rickie Lambert.
The 31-year-old had another fine night in his second international appearance.
Lambert laid on both of Welbeck’s goals and nodded one in himself from close range to put England 2-0 up, following Steven Gerrard’s opener and takes his tally this season to three goals in six games for club and country.
Jermain Defoe is the only other realistic option currently available to Hodgson up front and with the Spurs man frozen out of the starting line-up at White Hart Lane for the moment, Lambert should again get the call.
Bearing that in mind, the 11/2 about Lambert opening the scoring in Kiev is a big price, especially considering Defoe is half a point shorter at 5/1.
And bwin are offering money back on losing first and last goalscorer, correct score, to score two or more goals and to score three or more goals bets if any player nets twice in the game.
Welbeck’s double against Moldova means that eventuality has occurred in four of England’s eight Group H matches so far.