England without their five-goal Group H top scorer Wayne Rooney are a thoroughly diminished proposition and the 18/5 on Moldova keeping them goalless before half-time cannot be ignored.
Since the 5-0 win when the sides met last September in Chisinau, the Old Trafford star has opened the scoring in three out of five qualifiers and has been the only English presence on the scoresheet in two of those games.
Setting aside the 13-goal home and away thumpings of hapless San Marino, Rooney has been England’s only pre-break goalscorer during that period.
Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge, who has scored five goals in the Reds’ first four games this season, was set to replace Rooney before injury ruled him out until the Ukraine game at the earliest.
Southampton’s Rickie Lambert will be in unfamiliar territory leading the attack on his competitive debut and his international teammates have shown little spark recently.
In the friendly game against Scotland, Hodgson’s boys were only spurred into life once the Tartan Army had gone a goal up through James Morrison’s 11th-minute strike.
They were similarly poor against the Republic of Ireland in May before Shane Long’s early opener was cancelled out by Frank Lampard in the 23rd minute.
With little chance of a wake-up call from Moldova, who have yet to register a first-half away goal in the group, England could take a while to get going at Wembley.
Their opponents have made great strides forward since that mauling in Chisinau this time last year.
They have gone into the changing rooms level at half-time in their last four qualifiers and kept the Ukraine scoreless for 45 minutes in each of their clashes.
Group leaders Montenegro took 78 minutes to get past goalkeeper Serghei Pascenco in March and a concession rate of just six goals in their last five qualifiers suggests that Ion Caras’ side will be no pushovers against a Three Lions team shorn of their top attacking options.