Premier League darts returns to our screens this Thursday night with ten players competing to reach judgement night in Cardiff, on the 31st March.
Current Premier League title holder, and reigning champion Gary Anderson will be back this campaign to defend his crown. He faces an extremely tough opening fixture, a repeat of Alexandra Palace’s World final in January. Adrian Lewis was runner-up back in 2011, but has yet to surpass this achievement in four back to back years amongst the worlds elite. With his form steadily improving in the past few months, this could be Jackpot’s year.
Michael van Gerwen collected the first trophy of the season in Milton Keynes at the weekend, he will look to keep the ball rolling with a win in Leeds. The PDC player of the year was beaten by Anderson in last years final, the Scot is expected to be his main rival this year also. Mr consistency James Wade will look to upset the party in week one, but the short format should give van Gerwen the edge as the players look to gain the early advantage.
The darts world were put into shock as Phil Taylor failed to reach the play-off in 2015, a 7-4 defeat to Raymond van Barneveld, and averaging 115.80 in the process epitomised the 16 time World Champions campaign. We all know that ‘the power’ is darting royalty and has nothing to prove on the big stage, but he will be hungry to add another title to the ever-growing list. It is Barney that stands in his way. The two are impossible to split on recent form, but I believe the un-surpassable experience of Taylor will show, and he will claim victory.
Dave Chisnall began the year with bang on Sunday, reaching the Unibet Masters final in Milton Keynes. Although ‘Chizzy’ came up short on the night, an extraordinary turn-around against Thursday’s opponent Robert Thornton was the story of the tournament. The 35-year-old will hope his does not flop to an 8-0 deficit, by this score the match would be over in the first to seven leg Premier League tie.
Finally, Michael Smith makes his Premier League début in a mouth-watering clash against Peter Wright. Both players are off the boil according to the stats, but has the ability to do special things. The high scoring Smith will take confidence from last years Pro tour performances, while Wright dropped out on judgement day last year. This could be a do or die chance for Wright’s Premier League dreams. Another disappointment at the top level could see him omitted from the 10 man pack.