PDC Premier League – Week Four Preview
The Premier League moves north to Scotland this week, with the action coming from the GE Oil & Gas Arena in Aberdeen.
Peter Wright sits at the top of the table as the only player with a 100% winning record after three weeks, there are five players close behind on four points, whilst Anderson, Smith and Thornton will all be looking for their first win of the 2016 Premier League season.
Here is the table as it stands complete with some player stats.
Now onto my previews…
Adrian Lewis vs James Wade
- Lewis suffered his first defeat of the 2016 Premier League last week when he went down to a 7-4 defeat against van Gerwen. Lewis did lead 4-3 having just broken the van Gerwen throw but he was broken himself in the next leg and MVG then won 3 legs in a row to get the win.
- Last weekend he lost at the Last 32 stage in both of the UK Open qualifiers he entered. His defeats were against Terry Jenkins and Phil Taylor.
- Only 2 of his last 12 Premier League matches have gone to the 12th and final leg.
- Lewis hasn’t had a checkout of 100 or over during his last 5 Premier League matches.
- After winning his first two Premier League matches of the season Wade has now lost twice in a row. Last week he lost 7-4 to Peter Wright having led 3-1. It was a high quality performance from Wright whose average was over a 104 at the end of the match.
- At the weekend Wade had a good run to the final of the UK Open qualifier played on the Friday, he lost to James Wilson in his first match on the Saturday, rounding off the weekend by reaching the Last 16 on Sunday where he lost to Mervyn King.
- Wade has only won 2 of his last 12 matches in the Premier League.
- Only 3 of Wade’s last 13 Premier League matches have gone to the final leg.
- The highest overall checkouts in Weeks 1, 2 and 3 have all come against James Wade. (MVG:167, Taylor:127, Wright:161).
Head to Head
Wade leads their overall head to head record 26 wins to 16 (they have also drawn 3 times). Perhaps surprisingly their most recent meeting was in the Premier League last year. Lewis won this match 7-4 and is unbeaten in his last 4 matches against Wade. Overall in the Premier League Wade has won 6, Lewis has won 3 and they have drawn 3 times.
There used to be a very tasty rivalry between Lewis and Wade, they met in a couple of World Matchplay semi-finals, a famous World Championship semi-final when Wade let a big lead slip. They haven’t played in as many high profile matches in the last couple of years and the rivalry has mellowed a bit. Although Wade has a big lead in head to head wins the fact more recently things have been more even (Lewis, as mentioned is actually unbeaten in their last 4 encounters) means there won’t be a big psychological edge.
Although both players are on 4 points (Wade has played a game more), they are coming into the match on the back of defeats so will want to ensure they get back to winning ways. I think Lewis is playing the better darts than Wade at the moment and think he will come out on top winning 7-4.
In terms of betting I think Wade highest checkout and Wade over 95.5 checkout are both worth looking at.
Gary Anderson vs Raymond van Barneveld
- Anderson has started his Premier League campaign with 2 consecutive defeats, though in fairness those defeats have been against van Gerwen and Taylor. His performance against Taylor last week when he averaged 93.38 was below his level when he lost to van Gerwen Week Two.
- Last weekend he ended his run of 4 straight defeats since winning the World Championship title by winning 7 matches in a row to win the UK Open qualifier played on the Friday. The following day he lost to Phil Taylor in the Last 16, rounding off his weekend on Sunday with a first game defeat against John Henderson.
- He is aiming to stop a run of 3 Premier League consecutive defeats occurring; he has had a run of losing more than 2 games in a row on 3 occasions during his time in the Premier League
- Barney bounced straight back from his defeat against Peter Wright in Week Two with a 7-5 win against Robert Thornton last week when he averaged 102.6
- He entered just two of the UK Open qualifiers at the weekend and lost in his first match on both days, the defeats were 6-5 to Cullen on Friday and 6-1 to Ronny Huybrechts on Saturday.
- van Barneveld has lost just once in his last 11 Premier League matches (excluding play-offs).
Head to Head
Raymond van Barneveld leads their head to head record 14-9 (with 2 matches drawn). Ten of their last sixteen matches dating back to 2011 have actually been in the Premier League which is surprising. Barney has dominated their Premier League meetings (excluding play-offs) with 6 wins to Anderson’s 1, as mentioned they have also drawn twice.
Anderson has had a tough schedule so far in the Premier League facing both MVG and Taylor, although he won’t be panicking yet, starting his campaign with three defeats will give him a lot to do. RVB has performed well so far though did drop 2 points from a winning position against Wright in Week 2, he has an excellent record against Anderson in the Premier League and a very good record of making it through to the play-offs.
I think Anderson will have benefitted from getting a good number of matches under his belt at the weekend, not to mention the confidence from winning a tournament. Barney’s form away from the Premier League has been patchy but he will be the first to admit he focuses a lot more in the Premier League than on the floor tournaments.
I expect this to be a very good match and wouldn’t be surprised to see it end in a 6-6 draw. My betting preferences are: Over 6.5 match 180’s (the 2 matches between them in last year’s PL had a combined total of 20). I also think van Barneveld highest checkout and van Barneveld to have a checkout of over 95.5 both look good value.
Michael van Gerwen vs Michael Smith
- MVG posted an excellent performance in Week 3 when he defeated Adrian Lewis 7-4 averaging over 106 in doing so. He responded perfectly when he fell 4-3 behind after losing his throw by breaking straight back and reeling off the next 3 legs to win the match.
- Last weekend he was victorious in back to back UK Open qualifying tournaments, winning 14 straight matches in doing so.
- He has hit 5 or more 180’s in 4 of his last 6 matches in the Premier League (excluding play-offs).
- His average across his last 21 Premier League matches is over 105.
- Smith earned his first ever Premier League point last week when he drew 6-6 with Dave Chisnall. Smith led 6-5 and had the throw in the final leg but was broken by an 11 dart leg from Chisnall.
- His best effort in the UK Open qualifiers last weekend was on the Friday when he reached the Last 16 before losing to van Gerwen. In both of the remaining two days he lost in his second match (vs Jan Dekker and vs Jeffrey de Graaf).
- Smith has averaged over 100 only twice in his last 15 matches on TV.
Head to Head
MVG has a healthy 14-4 winning record over Smith in their previous meetings. During their last 3 matches MVG has won a combined total of 32 legs to just 9 won by Smith, this included a 6-0 win only last weekend. A positive for Smith is that he has beaten van Gerwen in 2 finals (both on the Euro Tour), the most recent in September last year.
van Gerwen has looked in imperious form during the last 2 weeks in the Premier League beating both Anderson and Lewis in impressive fashion, away from the Premier League he has already won 5 tournaments this season and is looking hungrier than ever. Smith had a tough start to the league suffering 3 straight defeats but his point against Chisnall last week will have given him a bit of encouragement, he still has plenty of improving to do if he is to avoid elimination though.
I think van Gerwen will continue his winning run in this match; Smith will push him at times but as is usually the case MVG will raise his level accordingly and I’m predicting a 7-3 win. I don’t have any strong betting preferences on this match.
Phil Taylor vs Dave Chisnall
- Taylor defeated World Champion and defending Premier League Champion Gary Anderson 7-4 last week to make it back to back wins in the Premier League. Anderson never really hit the high standard he is capable of, but take nothing away from Taylor who averaged over a 100 for the second week in a row.
- Last weekend he entered all 3 of the UK Open qualifying events, losing in the Last 16 to Ian White on Friday and then exiting to van Gerwen on both the Saturday (in the semis) and the Sunday (in the quarters). Taylor did register wins over Gary Anderson and Adrian Lewis during the weekend.
- He has had a checkout of 100 or more in each of the 3 weeks of the 2016 Premier League. Last year he only managed checkouts of 100 of more in 3 of the 16 weeks of the entire league season.
- Chisnall drew 6-6 with Michael Smith last week in what was a very topsy-turvy game where the lead changed hands a few times. Chisnall eventually rescued a point with an 11 dart finish against the throw in the last leg of the match.
- Last weekend he failed to get past the Last 32 stage in any of the 3 UK Open qualifying events, his defeats came against Justin Pipe, Mensur Suljovic and Kyle Anderson.
- Chisnall has hit less than 4x 180’s in only 2 of his last 11 Premier League matches.
Head to Head
In their previous encounters Taylor has a 20-8 winning record against Chisnall. They do have a more even recent overall record having both won 3 times during their last 6 meetings. Taylor has won 3 out of their 4 matches in the Premier League.
Taylor has looked sharp enough in his last two matches after what was a sluggish start in week one when he lost to van Barneveld. Away from the TV screens he has plenty of matches under his belt in recent weeks having entered all 6 of the UK Open qualifiers which I think will benefit him. Chisnall is capable of better darts than he has shown over the last 2 weeks, even though he hasn’t played particularly poorly, his match against Smith may be considered a point won in the end having had to win against the throw in the final leg, I don’t think not winning in the last 2 weeks will affect him.
Taylor will be in confident mood due to his two good wins in a row in the Premier League and I expect another good performance from him. There is no doubt Chisnall has the scoring ability to pressure Taylor on the doubles a lot will depend on how quickly Chisnall can find his rhythm and range on the treble 20. I think Taylor might just edge this match, my betting preference is for Chisnall to have the highest checkout, something he managed in both matches against Taylor in last year’s Premier League.
Peter Wright vs Robert Thornton
- Wright is the only player in this year’s Premier League still left with a 100% winning record. Last week he recovered from a slow start when he trailed 2-0 and 3-1 against James Wade to go on and win 7-4 with an average of 104.48 and a 70% success rate on his attempts at a double.
- Wright’s best effort in the UK Open qualifiers last weekend was a quarter-final appearance in the final event on Sunday where he lost to Mark Webster. He didn’t fare very well on the opening two days losing to Yordi Meeuwisse and Mark Walsh in early rounds.
- His run of 3 wins in a row is his best ever sequence of results in the Premier League. Overall he has now just lost 2 of his last 10 Premier League matches.
- Last week’s performance in his defeat to van Barneveld was more encouraging for Thornton but it was still some way below the standard of what he is capable of. He produced some strong legs on his own throw but wasn’t able to compete with RVB enough when the Dutchman threw first. The match highlight for Thornton was an impressive 145 finish.
- Thornton didn’t fare very well at all in the UK Open qualifiers last weekend; he lost in his first match on the first two days and was beaten in the Last 64 on the Sunday.
- Thornton has won just 1 of his last 21 matches in the Premier League and he has now been beaten in his last 4 Premier League matches, a poor run which extends to losing 8 of his last 10 Premier League matches.
Head to Head
Wright leads Thornton 9-4 on their head to head win record (they have also drawn once). Thornton is without a win in his last 7 matches against Wright which stretches back to March 2013. They have played out some very close matches recently with 5 of their last 6 matches going to the final leg.
Wright sits at the top of the table at this early stage of the league with 3 wins from 3, after a dip in performance level in week 2 he was back to form last week in his win over Wade, his scoring was working well and his finishing very efficient. Thornton had a dart at double to rescue an unlikely point against Barney last week, he did show plenty of fight during the match but needs wins to build his confidence and unfortunately he had a poor weekend on the ProTour over the last weekend which won’t help.
This could be another tough night for Thornton against a very good all round player in Wright who has had good success against Thornton in their recent meetings. I’m not saying it will be an easy win for Wright but I do expect him to win. My betting selection is for Wright to win with Thornton to win 4 or more legs.
I hope you find my previews interesting – don’t forget to check me out on twitter @3dartanalyst .
Enjoy the darts!