Three Lions set to win without drama
A rejuvenated Foden to feature strongly
A poor Malta backline their own worst enemy
An impressive win over Italy secured England safe passage to next summer's Euros. Now only one point is needed against either Malta or North Macedonia to guarantee top spot in Group C, a nation that has only beaten San Marino competitively since September 2021.
A number of withdrawals has not helped Gareth Southgate's cause, but still a routine victory surely awaits, especially if the following four step up.
In-form and full of confidence, they will likely be the difference-makers at Wembley this Friday evening.
Having become a punching bag and a punchline in recent seasons it is to Maguire's enormous credit that he has turned his fortunes around, re-establishing himself in Manchester United's back-line and putting in a series of highly impressive displays.
Against Fulham a week last Saturday he was a one-man rampart, winning 10 ground duels, eight aerial duels, and completing nine clearances. It was a similar story at home to Luton last weekend, with nine ball recoveries and nine completed long passes standing out.
As his team descend into crisis and calamity, he has passed them on their way down.
His struggles on the international stage were less severe of course, with Gareth Southgate retaining faith in him and Maguire typically responding to that. In his last 1000 minutes in an England jersey, the Three Lions have conceded just five goals. Post-Qatar they have faced only 1.2 shots on target per 90.
With Malta very likely limited to the occasional half-chance, an eighth clean sheet in 13 for the hosts - with Maguire at the heart of proceedings - feels nailed on.
With Jude Bellingham injured and Kalvin Phillips not joining the group until later this week, a starting spot should be afforded to Gallagher who has been a model of consistency amidst all of the turmoil and silliness at Stamford Bridge this term.
No other player across Europe's big five leagues has won possession more in the attacking third, a stat that epitomizes his endeavour and whole commitment. In just shy of a third of his outings the midfielder has exceeded 12km covered.
Only Joao Palhinha and Yves Bissouma have completed more tackles and interceptions combined in the top-flight.
Moreover, as well as belatedly transferring his Crystal Palace form across London, Gallagher has cleaned up his act, receiving just the single caution to date. Last season he saw yellow nine times.
Lastly, and pertinently, his four league assists put him on a par with Saka and Salah.
With Haaland hogging the headlines, and Rodri getting long-overdue acclaim, it seems to have passed many by that after a period in the relative doldrums, Philip Walter Foden is back to his scintillating best.
The stats back this up naturally, with 2.3 chances created per 90, but more than facts and figures, it's there for all to see in his sharper movement and self-assured risk-taking.
Since the last international break no other player has been more impactful in sky-blue, with Foden netting in three straight Premier League games prior to the madness at Stamford Bridge last Sunday.
It's an obvious shout but if we're highlighting players who are currently bang in form how can we possibly overlook a forward who has scored 17 league goals in 11 this season, taking the Bundesliga by storm in the process.
Nobody expected Kane to have to acclimatize to German football but frankly his immediate impact has bordered on the ridiculous. Add in assists for Bayern and it amounts to a direct goal involvement every 48 minutes in 2023/24.
For England too he is of course consistently prolific, firing 27 in his last 28 starts, and against a nation he has previously put three past it is entirely conceivable he will fill his boots again. The 11/102.11 available on Kane scoring two or more tempts.
What particularly intrigues however is that five of his last nine international goals have been converted from the spot and with Malta defensively prone to disarray don't discount history repeating itself.
One of those five was at Malta's expense back in June.
Shots naturally appeal too with Kane.