Clarets clicking with positive new approach
A 2-0 defeat away at bottom club, Norwich, was the final straw for the Burnley board and, after almost 10 years at the helm, Sean Dyche was shown the door. Michael Jackson was installed as the Clarets' interim boss, and they haven't looked back since.
Jackson oversaw a hard-fought 1-1 draw away in his first game in charge and, after back-to-back home wins, 2-0 against Southampton and 1-0 versus Wolves, Burnley came from behind to secure all three points at Watford last Saturday (2-1), with goals from Jack Cork and Josh Brownhill in the last 10 minutes.
That win has almost certainly relegated Watford back to the Championship and it's also sucked Leeds and Everton closer to the drop.
Having been matched at a low of just 1.282/7 to be relegated, the Clarets are now out to 3.814/5 and Leeds are now the most likely to join Norwich and Watford, according to the market. The Whites are currently trading at 2.3611/8 with Everton available to back at a shade over 2/1.
Under Jackson, Burnley have played more expansive football with the midfielders and attackers being encouraged to run with the ball, and they're playing with more verve and confidence.
Cork averaged only 3.01 ball carries under Dyche but so far the player has averaged 7.21 under Jackson. The team average has increased from 65.3 per match to as high as 89.8 under the interim gaffer.
As a result, Burnley's xG in their four matches under Jackson has almost doubled, going from 1.1 under Dyche to exactly 2 and they're averaging 4.5 shots as opposed to just 3 under Dyche.
This new positive approach is really paying off and Burnley are looking to secure their fourth consecutive Premier League victory for the first time since April 2018 (a run of five). Their tally of 10 points in their four games under Jackson is as many as they amassed in their previous 10 games under Dyche.
Stuttering Villa hard to assess and tough to fancy
It's been something of a stop-start campaign since Steve Gerrard took over from Dean Smith at Aston Villa back in November.
The Villains won four of their first six games under the new boss, losing only to Manchester City and Liverpool. But after winning 2-0 at Norwich just before Christmas, Gerrard's charges won just one of eight in all competitions (1-0 at Everton).
Villa looked to have picked up again after a dreadful home defeat to Watford, when they won three in-a-row - sandwiching a 4-0 home win against Southampton in the first week of March with a 2-0 win at Brighton and a 3-0 victory away to Leeds - but that impressive little spell was followed by five straight Premier League defeats.
A 0-0 draw at Leicester on April 23 stopped the rot and Gerrard's side returned to winning ways last week when they relegated their old boss Dean Smith's Norwich with a 2-0 win at Villa Park.
They were far from impressive last week though. Only a 90th minute Danny Ings goal secured the points and Gerrard had this to say after the game:
"We've played better this season and haven't got results. We weren't at our best, but I'm still pleased with the three points."
Buoyant Burnley to bag the points again
Although more than half of Villa's away game's this season have produced at least three goals (53%), under 2.5 goals is trading at a shade of odds-on. So it should, given that only two of Burnley's last 11 Premier League games have seen three or more scored.
No is trading at around 1.910/11 in the Both Teams to Score market and that bet would have obliged in 65% of Burnley's home games this season and in 59% of Villa's away matches in the Premier League. It's hard to disagree with the market but I'm keeping things simple and backing the hosts in the outright market.
Turf Moor hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Villa and they've won just one of their last 26 away league games against Burnley (D6 L19), winning 2-1 in January 2020.
Burnley beat Villa in this fixture 3-2 last season, they're in search of their fourth Premier League home win in-a-row and at odds in excess of 2/1, they're value to achieve the feat.
Burnley were underestimated at a shade under 2/1 at Watford last week and that looks to be the case again at a shade over here.
Lennon leads Bet Builder
Despite not playing a full 90 minutes under Jackson, Aaron Lennon is enjoying the interim manager's tenure. He was an unused sub in Jackson's first game against West Ham before coming on for about 20 minutes against Southampton and Wolves, but he was one of the bright sparks when starting last week at Watford.
Lennon averaged just 2.34 touches in the opponent's box under Dyche but with a licence to get forward, he's averaged 8.86 under Jackson. With Cornet still an injury doubt, another start for Lennon, followed by either an assist or goal is a distinct possibility.
Lennon to score or assist is 16/5 on the Sportsbook and that bet coupled with a Burnley win on the Bet Builder pays a juicy 7.06.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter