PDC Premier League – Week Three Preview
Week Three of the PDC Premier League comes from the 3Arena in Dublin.
There are again some eye-catching matches, notably Michael van Gerwen facing Adrian Lewis and Phil Taylor against Gary Anderson.
Here’s how the league table looks, complete with some player stats.
Now onto the previews.
Peter Wright vs James Wade
- Wright heads into this week with two wins from his two matches played in this year’s Premier League. For the majority of last week’s match against van Barneveld it looked like Wright would be heading for defeat. Having somewhat surprisingly changed his darts for the match Wright struggled to find consistency and was grateful for Barney’s missed 3 darts at a double to go 5-2 ahead, to be fair Wright did improve from then on but Barney also faded.
- In the Dutch Darts Masters at the weekend Wright exited the tournament at the Last 16 stage to the eventual runner-up Daryl Gurney, Wright had defeated Stephen Bunting in the previous round.
- The only time previously in the Premier League when he has won back to back matches was early in the 2014 competition when he beat Lewis and Taylor in consecutive games. In his last 9 Premier League matches he has only been beaten twice (one of those defeats was against Wade).
- Wade unexpectedly played twice last week due to Thornton being unable to compete due to illness. In his first match of the night Wade defeated Michael Smith 7-4, but in his second match against Phil Taylor he was on the receiving end of some inspired darts from Taylor who averaged over 111 giving Wade little chance.
- Wade also made an exit at the Last 16 stage at the Dutch Darts Masters; he was defeated 6-1 by Benito van de Pas who gave an excellent display of darts.
- His last four defeats in the Premier League have been 7-1, 7-1, 7-0 and 7-1, in those matches his opponents have averaged 116, 114, 108 and 111 which shows the standard he has been up against.
Head to Head
Wade has won 13 of their 18 previous meetings which is a very healthy head to head advantage, but things have been a lot more even in recent matches. Since Wright stopped an 8 match losing run against Wade last May he has now won 3 of their last 5 encounters. Their most recent meeting was at the World Series of Darts Finals at the back end of 2015 when Wright won 10-6 in the quarter-finals.
Both players have won twice so far in the league (although Wade has played one more match) and realistically should be contenders for a top 4 finish at the end of the campaign. Wright’s performance suffered from tinkering with the darts last week and he said in his interview that he made the wrong choice, even though he did get away with it and won the match. Wade won’t be too downhearted from his heavy defeat against Taylor, he actually performed well despite the score showing a drubbing.
I don’t expect there to be a lot separating these two at the end of the match and think this could end in a 6-6 draw. I would recommend a small bet on the draw and also a bet on over 11.5 legs. I also think Wade over 96.5 checkout is worth looking at.
Dave Chisnall vs Michael Smith
- Chisnall was beaten 7-4 by Adrian Lewis in a good quality match in Week Two. Chisnall was averaging 104 when Lewis stormed into a 6-1 lead, although he managed to claw some legs back he was left with too much to do.
- At the weekend he reached the quarter-finals of the Dutch Darts Masters where he ran into the eventual winner Michael van Gerwen and succumbed to a 6-3 defeat.
- His defeat against Lewis last week was only his third defeat in eleven Premier League matches (excluding play-offs).
- Smith’s tough Premier League baptism continued last week with a third straight defeat, this time at the hands of James Wade. There were some better signs early on as he went 3-2 up with a break of throw and he was averaging 106 at the time, he proceeded to miss 8 darts at a double to go 4-2 ahead and then won only 1 of the remaining 5 legs to suffer a 7-4 defeat.
- He was defeated in a last leg decider by Mensur Suljovic in the Last 16 of the Dutch Darts Masters last weekend. In the previous round he had won 6-3 against Gerwyn Price but only averaged in the mid 80’s.
Head to Head
There isn’t a lot to separate Chisnall and Smith on their head to head wins, with Chisnall just having the advantage with 6 wins to 5. Smith had lost 4 in a row against Chisnall until he won 10-7 in their Last 16 match at the 2015 Grand Slam. Smith averaged over 104 in that match and hit 9x 180’s.
Michael Smith needs to get a win or at least a point on the board soon as the pressure will be mounting with every match that he fails to do so. He is capable of much better than his performances have shown so far in the Premier League but he needs to produce it. Last week Chisnall just came up against a player in excellent form, he has the experience in the Premier League not to panic over a defeat and I would expect a good performance from him here.
I think Chisnall will come out on top in this match, as much as Smith has the ability to win the match, he will be feeling more pressure and his confidence may have taken a dent having started with 3 defeats. My prediction is a 7-4 win for Chizzy.
Phil Taylor vs Gary Anderson
- Taylor produced an outstanding performance against James Wade last week to provide the perfect response to his poor Week One display against Barney. In the 7-1 win against Wade he averaged over 111 with 70% success rate on his double attempts.
- He didn’t enter the Dutch Darts Masters so wasn’t in action last weekend.
- The last time Taylor won back to back matches in the Premier League was exactly at this stage of last year’s Premier League, having lost in his first match he won back to back in weeks 2 and 3.
- Anderson made his first appearance of the 2016 Premier League last week having missed the opening week through illness. He ran into an on form Michael van Gerwen who was outstanding in averaging over 111, Anderson himself played to a very high standard and averaged over 106 during the entire match.
- He suffered an early exit at the Dutch Darts Masters last weekend, losing 6-4 in his first match to Mervyn King.
- His average of 106.23 in the defeat against van Gerwen was his highest losing average in the Premier League.
Head to Head
In their previous head to head matches Taylor has won 32 matches to Anderson’s 13, although many of these wins did come between 2007 and 2013 when Taylor only lost 2 of 25 matches against Anderson. More recently things have been a lot closer, Anderson has actually won their last 3 meetings in TV ranking events and won both of their Premier League matches last season (both by a 7-5 score).
This is a very enticing match between two of the best players in the World which will hopefully live up to expectations. Taylor again showed last week he can’t be written off and Anderson didn’t look to be suffering any effects of his illness lay off, looking sharp against MVG despite losing the game. There is plenty of pride and bragging rights at stake not to mention the league points and I think this will be a match not to be missed.
I’m finding it hard to pick a winner as I really do think this could go either way. I’m not recommending over 11.5 legs either as one player might just reel off 3 or 4 legs in 12 darts or less to surge away.
Michael van Gerwen vs Adrian Lewis
- Michael van Gerwen certainly put the disappointment of defeat in week one behind him when he produced an awesome performance to beat Gary Anderson 7-3 last week. He finished with an average of around a 112 against an opponent who average a 106.
- At the weekend he won the opening Euro Tour event of the season the Dutch Darts Masters, again averaging around a 112 in the final against Daryl Gurney.
- He has now averaged over 110 in 4 of his last 6 Premier League matches (excluding play-off matches).
- Lewis takes a 100% record into the match having won both of his matches in the Premier League this season. Although his end of match average last week against Chisnall was lower than when he beat Smith in week one his performance was more impressive, it certainly was when he went 6-1 up averaging around a 106, though his level did dip after that and he finished the match with an average of 98.92.
- Last weekend he was beaten in the quarter-finals of the Dutch Darts Masters by the eventual runner-up Daryl Gurney, it wasn’t a bad performance from Lewis but Gurney was outstanding averaging just under a 107 and also hitting 9x 180’s in just 11 legs.
- A win here would give Lewis his best ever start to a Premier League season with 3 wins in a row. He did win 2 in a row at the start of the 2014 season but then lost 7-2 to Newton in week 3.
Head to Head
MVG has a 25-11 lead in previous head to head wins against Lewis, with Lewis only winning 2 of their last 19 matches. Their last meeting came in a UK Open qualifier earlier this month when van Gerwen won 6-1. In last year’s Premier League Lewis was unbeaten against van Gerwen, drawing once and winning 7-5 (averaging nearly 109 in the process).
This is another match not to be missed; both players have started the season in good form away from the TV screens with Lewis winning a UK Open qualifier and MVG adding a Euro Tour tournament triumph to his own UK Open qualifier win. MVG has an excellent recent record against Lewis, but as was shown in last year’s Premier League, Lewis is more than capable of turning it on against van Gerwen. I just feel that MVG may do to Lewis what he did to Anderson last week, stepping up a level at the right time and I am tipping MVG to win 7-4 or 7-5.
My betting preferences for this game are all on 180’s: van Gerwen over 3.5, Lewis over 3.5 and over 7.5 in the match.
Robert Thornton vs Raymond van Barneveld
- Thornton returns to action in the Premier League after missing last week due to an illness which also kept him out of last weekend’s Dutch Darts Masters.
- He will be looking for a big improvement from his opening week display when he lost 7-0 to Chisnall, only averaging 75.68 in the process with just one attempt at a double all match.
- In his last 20 Premier League matches Thornton has won only 2 matches. Those wins came against Anderson and Chisnall.
- During his match last week against Wright, Barney looked on the way to making it two wins from two matches; he led 4-2 but missed 3 darts to make it 5-2 and this proved crucial as Wright stepped in winning that leg and then going on to win 4 out of the next 5 legs to take the match 7-5.
- He wasn’t in action at the Dutch Darts Masters over last weekend having failed to make it through the qualifiers back in January.
- The defeat last week ended a run of 9 Premier League matches (excluding play-offs) without defeat.
Head to Head
Thornton and van Barneveld have met 14 times previously, Thornton has 3 wins, van Barneveld has 9 wins and they have drawn twice. Thornton failed to beat van Barneveld in their first 7 meetings but since then things have been a lot more even, with 3 wins each from their last 7 meetings. In the Premier League they have played 4 times with Barney winning twice and the other 2 matches ended in a draw.
It’s a big game for Thornton following his disastrous week one display where he failed to win a leg. He needs the confidence of a good performance, even if he isn’t to win the match. Raymond van Barneveld showed what he can do in week one but followed it up with an inconsistent performance last week, I don’t expect him losing to affect his confidence.
A confident Thornton would have a decent chance of winning this game but there are no real signs he has the game at the moment to get the better of van Barneveld on the TV stage. I think Barney will win this match and I’ll go for a 7-4 leg score.