PDC Premier League – Week Five Preview

This week the Premier League goes south to Exeter where the action comes from the Westpoint Arena.

Last week’s standard will take some topping as we saw a record TV average of 123.4 from van Gerwen followed by very high quality darts from Taylor (115+) and Chisnall (109+).

Here is the table as it stands (along with some player stats).

PL Table Week 5

Now onto my match previews.

Phil Taylor v Adrian Lewis

 Taylor

  • Taylor was in excellent form against Chisnall last week, averaging over 115 in a 7-5 win against an opponent who was also playing top class darts. Taylor recovered from 3-1 behind to win 6 of the remaining 8 legs. He outscored Chisnall on the 180 count 7x 180’s to 6 and twice hit 2x 180’s in the same leg.
  • Last week’s win was Taylor’s third in a row, moving him onto 6 points and level with 3 other players who are just a point behind the league leader Peter Wright.
  • His 180 count last week of 7 was the 6th time from his last 10 Premier League matches that he has scored 4 or more 180’s.
  • Taylor has had a checkout of at least 100 in all 4 weeks of this year’s Premier League. None of his opponents have managed a 3 figure checkout.

Lewis

  • Lewis was involved in a good quality match against James Wade last week, coming from 5-3 down to snatch the win in a last leg that saw a combined total of 16 missed darts at a double between both players. The last leg brought their averages down from 106 (Lewis) and 103 (Wade) after the 11th leg to under a 100 at the end of the match.
  • The win over Wade made it 3 wins from 4 matches giving him a total of 6 points after 4 games which is his best ever start to a Premier League season.
  • He has hit at least 4x 180’s in 5 of his last 6 Premier League matches.
  • Lewis had the highest checkout of any player during Week 4; it was the first time since Week 4 of the 2015 Premier League that he had done this.

Head to Head

Taylor dominates their overall head to head record of 50 wins to 15 but bear in mind he did win 29 of their first 31 meetings. They have already played 3 times in 2016 with Lewis winning twice (all 3 matches were in UK Open qualifiers). Taylor won their last meeting thus ending a run of 4 straight wins for Lewis.

Verdict

Both of these players have started the season in good form and are level on 6 points after 4 matches. Taylor has posted 2 averages of over 110 in the last 3 weeks and has really looked hungry to prove he is a main contender. Lewis ended 2015 well and has carried his good standard across to 2016; he hasn’t always had a great record in the Premier League but looks in good shape this year.

The bookies make Taylor the favourite and I would also give him the slight edge, but I certainly wouldn’t rule out this going to a deciding leg and them taking away a point each. My betting preference on this game is over 6.5 180’s in the match, both have been hitting a good number over the last couple of weeks and I think they can cover that line.

 

Dave Chisnall v James Wade

Chisnall

  • Chisnall only just lost out 7-5 to Phil Taylor in a very high calibre match last week. He averaged over 109 but saw his opponent top 115. Chisnall did also have 2 darts at a double to rescue a point against Taylor.
  • Defeat against Taylor means Chisnall is without a win in the Premier League since week one when he beat Thornton 7-0. Overall he has won 3 of his last 10 Premier League matches, prior to that run he had lost only 2 of his previous 11 matches.
  • Chisnall has hit a total of 15 180’s over his last 3 matches averaging 5 a game, but surprisingly enough he has actually been outscored in the 180 count by his opponents in two of those matches.

Wade

  • Wade was involved in an entertaining match against Adrian Lewis last week and was perhaps unfortunate not to pick up a point from it. Wade led the match 5-3 but ended up losing 7-5 having missed 8 darts at a double in the final leg to earn a draw. Lewis himself missed 8 darts at a double before finally seeing the match out.
  • He has now lost his last 3 matches in the Premier League, to be fair his opponents have played to a high standard in those games but Wade will be disappointed especially in the games against Wright and Lewis where he was the first player to break throw in both matches.
  • The 142 finish from Lewis against Wade was the highest overall checkout last week, that means in all 4 weeks Wade has had the highest weekly checkout against him.
  • Overall Wade has won just 2 of his last 13 Premier League matches.
  • His haul of 5 180’s against Lewis last week was the second time in this year’s competition that he has done so.

Head to Head

Wade leads their head to head record 9-6, though he has won only 1 of their last 5 meetings. They last played in the semi-finals at the Masters earlier this year when Chisnall won 11-6. Last year in the Premier League they drew their first match, in the second game Chisnall won 7-1 and averaged 114.

Verdict

Both of these players could do with a win having gone 3 matches without doing so, I don’t think either should be panicking as they have been playing well but they need to turn the performances into wins. Chisnall has won their last couple of meetings on TV and I do give him a slight edge in this match. I have a small betting preference for Chisnall to win with Wade to win at least 4 legs.

 

Robert Thornton v Gary Anderson

Thornton

  • Thornton picked up his first point of this seasons Premier League with a 6-6 draw against Peter Wright. He actually led 6-4, and missed a dart at a double to break the Wright throw in the 11th leg and win the match. He then had the throw in the final leg but was broken in 14 darts by Wright.
  • Overall he has only won 2 of his last 22 matches in the Premier League.

Anderson

  • Anderson won his first match of the 2016 Premier League season last week with a 7-3 victory over van Barneveld. It was a mixed performance from Anderson he did improve as the match progressed though and his final average was 103.34.
  • His 180 count last week was 4 (all in consecutive legs); this was an improvement after hitting just 3 180s during his first two matches.

Head to Head

There isn’t too much to separate the players on their head to head record, Anderson just shades it 13-11 (with 1 drawn match). This is actually the first time they have faced each other since June 2014. They have met 3 times in the Premier League and Thornton is unbeaten with 2 wins and a draw, both of the Thornton wins were dominant 7-2 wins (he averaged 109 and 105 in those matches).

Verdict

Both players will have been pleased to pick up their first points of the Premier League season last week, though they have only played 3 matches each. Anderson has had a very tough schedule to start the season having already played van Gerwen, Taylor and van Barneveld. Thornton’s confidence will have improved following his draw with Wright last week, though as mentioned he could have won that match.

What may be interesting is the fact that Thornton has had some excellent results and performances against Anderson in the Premier League, though they were back in 2013 and 2014. If he can produce a similar standard he would trouble the World Champion but I’m just not sure he can at the moment. I think Anderson will win this game but have no betting preferences on the match.

 

Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen

Wright

  • Wright remains as the only unbeaten player after 4 weeks of the Premier League following his 6-6 draw against Robert Thornton last week. Wright had to come back from 6-4 to rescue a point against Thornton. In each of the last 3 matches he has recovered having been the first player to have his throw broken.
  • In total Wright has lost only 2 of his last 11 Premier League matches. He has averaged over 100 in only one of those matches.

van Gerwen

  • Michael van Gerwen was outstanding in averaging 123.4 in his 7-1 win against Michael Smith last week. The average posted by van Gerwen is the highest ever recorded in a TV match; he actually averaged around 137 after 6 legs of the match.
  • The win against Smith was his third in a row and puts him a point behind table topper Peter Wright.
  • He has recorded a match average of over 110 in 5 of his last 10 Premier League matches.
  • MVG has only failed to have a checkout out of 100 or more in 2 of his last 10 Premier League matches.

Head to Head

Michael van Gerwen leads their head to head record 30-8 (they have also drawn once). Wright has only won 1 of their last 14 meetings. In the Premier League all 3 of their previous encounters have gone to a final leg, they drew 6-6 last season, van Gerwen won 7-5 twice in 2014.

Verdict

Wright has started the campaign well, remaining unbeaten after 4 weeks but this is his first match against a player in the top 4 of the PDC rankings. MVG was unstoppable last week against Michael Smith, he was looking in irrepressible form before the match but took things to a whole new level during it and he will be brimming with confidence and belief.

Wright has troubled van Gerwen before and as mentioned above has run him close every time they have met in the Premier League, the van Gerwen of last week was a whole different animal though and in current form it is hard to see anyone stopping him though he is unlikely to produce another World Record average this week.

I think van Gerwen will make it 4 Premier League wins in a row despite a spirited performance from Wright. I like the look of MVG to win combined with him scoring the most 180’s and also might have a small bet on van Gerwen to win with Wright to win 4 legs or more.

 

Michael Smith v Raymond van Barneveld

Smith

  • Smith was on the receiving end of a darting masterclass last week as he succumbed to a 7-1 defeat against Michael van Gerwen who set a record TV average of 123.4. Smith was 6-0 down against a player averaging around 137 before he managed to have a shot at a double, he impressively took out 116 to get a leg on the board but it was only delaying the inevitable.
  • Smith only has 1 point from his opening 5 Premier League matches and faces a massive task to avoid elimination after 9 weeks, especially as he still has to face Gary Anderson and Phil Taylor.

van Barneveld

  • Raymond van Barneveld lost 7-3 to reigning champion Gary Anderson last week, the game was finely poised at 2-2 when Barney had a dart at double to break the Anderson throw and go 3-2 ahead, he failed to take the chance and Anderson went onto win that leg and then took 4 of the next 5 to seal the win.
  • He sits in the middle of the table with 4 points from his 4 matches played so far, last year he had only 6 points from his opening 9 matches and went on to make the play-offs.

Head to Head

Smith and van Barneveld have played 10 times previously with van Barneveld winning 6 times compared to the 4 wins Smith has registered. Barney won their first 5 meetings, meaning Smith has won 4 out of their last 5 encounters. They last met at the end of January at the Masters when Smith won 10-7, gaining some revenge for the 5-4 (in sets) defeat in the World Championships quarter-finals earlier in January.

Verdict

It’s a big game for Smith as he needs a win to get points on the board with matches running out before week 9 and elimination looming. He has had some success against Barney recently and will know he is capable of beating him. Barney has had a steady start to the Premier League season, his performances have overall been good and he perhaps should have been on 6 points having failed to defeat Wright when he was on top.

I find this quite a hard match to call and think it has the potential to go the distance. I actually think backing Smith to win with Barney to get at least 4 legs and a bet of Barney to win with Smith to get at least 4 legs might be worth looking at, as for either player to win 7-5 or 7-4 it would return a profit.

 

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