With Manchester United star Wayne Rooney and West Ham’s on-loan Liverpool striker Andy Carroll both ruled out through injury England are in desperate need of someone to spearhead their attack in Friday’s World Cup 2014 qualifying opener in Moldova.
That man could well go by the name of Danny Welbeck. Ten Premier League goals, established as a key part of the country’s biggest team and a star for the Three Lions at Euro 2012 – last season was undoubtedly a breakout campaign for the 21-year-old.
However, the arrival of Robin van Persie at Old Trafford has limited his opportunities to push on at club level in the opening few weeks of this term, so the clash with the Moldovans couldn’t come at a better time.
Welbeck is almost certain to start in a game where England are 13/50 favourites in bwin’s 3Way football betting odds.
If he is the lone striker in Roy Hodgson’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation then odds of 11/10 for Welbeck to score at any time can provide a solid return.
But for those looking for more value it could be worth backing the former Sunderland loanee at 4/1 to get the opening goal, as 40% of his career United strikes to date have been deadlock-breakers.
New customers using the free £20 bet they receive when registering with bwin could win £126 if Welbeck sends England on the way to victory.
Should a lack of match fitness catch up with Welbeck, then England have many other options with more than enough quality to break down a Moldova side ranked 141 in the world.
Hodgson recently admitted he would remain reliant on senior players for the near future and no current squad member has a better goalscoring record than Frank Lampard’s 23 strikes in 91 appearances for the Three Lions.
The Chelsea man is 9/5 to score at any time, with long-time midfield cohort Steven Gerrard 17/10 to claim his 20th England goal.
If the visitors are still struggling late on, then Hodgson can always turn to an in-form Jermain Defoe, who has two goals in three games for Tottenham this season and is 7/2 to claim the game’s final goal.
An upset remains highly unlikely but early-season internationals can create surprises, so it might be worth backing Igor Picusceacu at 4/1 to add to his two goals for Moldova if you’re worried about England’s Euro 2012 hangover.
Read a full betting preview of Moldova v England here.
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