PDC Premier League – Week Eight Preview

It’s week eight in the Premier League and this week the darting action comes from Liverpool. Here is my usually weekly preview which covers all five matches.

This is how the league table currently looks (complete with some player stats).

PL Table Week 8

Now onto the matches…

Michael Smith v Robert Thornton

Smith

  • Smith wasn’t in action last week due to him playing twice on the opening night through Gary Anderson being unable to play through illness. His last match 2 weeks ago was a 7-3 defeat against Anderson, Smith played pretty well in that game, at 4-3 down he was averaging around 103 and although he went on to lose the final 3 legs he could hold his head high at the end with how he competed.
  • This is really a must win game for Smith if he is to avoid elimination after week nine. He is scheduled to face Phil Taylor next week, a defeat against Thornton would put Thornton level on points with him whereas a win for Smith would move him 4 points ahead of Thornton.
  • After hitting a total of 3x 180’s across his opening 3 matches, Smith has now hit at least 3x 180’s in each of his last 4 Premier league matches.

Thornton

  • Last week Thornton put in his best performance in this year’s Premier League but was still left searching for his first win after he went down to a 7-4 win against James Wade. Thornton was averaging 108 after 6 legs when they were level at 3-3. A mixture of him fading and Wade raising his game led to Wade winning 4 of the next 5 legs to take the 2 points.
  • Thornton remains rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table with 1 point from 6 matches. This week he plays twice, playing catch-up from missing week two due to illness, his second match this evening is against Michael van Gerwen.
  • His average of 101.35 last week was by far his highest of the Premier League season, surpassing his previous high of 91.98.
  • Thornton has only won 2 of his last 25 matches in the Premier League and is without a win in his last 11 TV matches.

Head to Head

Smith and Thornton have played each other 8 times previously with 4 wins apiece. Smith has won each of the last 3 times they have played, the most recent being in February 2015 in a UK Open qualifier. Thornton’s last win against Smith came in 2011. This is their first ever meeting on the TV stage.

Verdict

This is a massive game for two players who are involved in a battle to avoid elimination and realistically need to win this match. Recent matches have seen more encouraging performances from both players, notably Smith getting his first win and Thornton averaging over 101. I find it hard to predict who will come out on top in this one, Smith has the recent advantage on their head to head record but they haven’t met under these conditions and more of their encounters weren’t recent ones. I’m sitting on the fence and predicting a draw.

 

Gary Anderson v Dave Chisnall

 Anderson

  • Last week was an excellent one for Anderson as he picked up 2 wins in the same evening to take his winning Premier League run to 5 consecutive wins. In his opening match last week he defeated Adrian Lewis 7-4 and then backed it up with a 7-5 win over Wright in the final match of the night.
  • His run of 5 consecutive wins is a record for him in the Premier League. Altogether he has now won 9 of his last 11 matches in the Premier League.
  • Prior to his match against Peter Wright he had only had two checkouts of 100+ in the 2016 Premier League, he had checkouts of 101 and 100 against Wright to double that tally.

Chisnall

  • Chisnall is now 6 games without a win in the Premier League following his 7-4 defeat against van Barneveld last week which was Chisnall’s 4th defeat in a row. In his match against Barney he led 3-2 with a break of throw but Barney proceeded to play some superb darts, this combined with Chisnall fading led to Barney winning 5 of the next 6 legs.
  • If he suffers a defeat here it will be the second time he has lost 5 consecutive matches in the Premier League, the previous time was in 2014 during his debut Premier League season.
  • Prior to week 2 he had averaged a 100 or more in 8 of this previous 10 Premier League matches, since then he has failed to average over 97 in 4 of his last 5 matches in the Premier League.

Head to Head

Anderson holds a 10-3 win record against Chisnall in their previous meetings and has won each of the last 4 matches they have played, including at the UK Open earlier this month when he won 9-7 in their Last 64 encounter. Two of Chisnall’s three wins against Anderson came in last year’s Premier League; he defeated Anderson 7-2 and 7-3 in the league phase before losing narrowly 10-9 to Anderson in the play-offs.

Verdict

Anderson looked in good shape last week as he took 4 points from 2 games and is now only a point behind van Gerwen and Taylor in the table, his confidence should be excellent and I would expect another strong performance from him. Chisnall qualified for the play-offs last year but this year he is battling to avoid elimination and really needs to dig out a positive result here. He has shown glimpses of his quality in recent matches but not enough consistency to compete with some strong performances against him.

I think Anderson might just edge this game and I have a small betting preference for Anderson to win with Chisnall winning at least 4 legs.

 

Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld

Lewis

  • Last week Lewis lost 7-4 to Gary Anderson in what was a below par performance from him, his throw was broken in the 2nd leg of the match when he missed 5 darts at a double and he never looked likely to break back having never created an opportunity to have a dart at double on the Anderson throw in the whole match.
  • He hit 4x 180’s in the match against Anderson which was the 5th time in his last 6 matches that he has had 4 or more 180’s in a Premier League match.
  • Lewis has lost 3 of his last 5 matches in the Premier League, those defeats all came against the current top 3 in the table, van Gerwen, Taylor and Anderson.

van Barneveld

  • Last week Barney ended a run of 3 consecutive defeats with a 7-4 win over Dave Chisnall, it was an excellent performance from van Barneveld as he responded perfectly from just being broken when the score was at 2-2 to win the next 3 legs (all 3 won in 12 dart legs), he had checkouts of 161, 152 and 121 and finished with a match average of 104.9.
  • His average of 104.9 was his highest Premier League average for 37 matches (since February 2014).
  • His total of 3 checkouts of over 100 last week was the second week in a row that he had done so.

Head to Head

As you might expect there have been plenty of previous encounters between Lewis and van Barneveld. In total Barney has won 27 matches with Lewis winning 19 (they have drawn twice also). Lewis has won each of their last 4 meetings, including in the semi-finals at the World Championships at the start of the year. Barney has a good record against Lewis in the Premier League having won 10 compared to 4 wins for Lewis.

Verdict

Both Lewis and van Barneveld have shown flashes of their class in this year’s Premier League but not on a regular enough basis. Lewis averaged 107.93 against Wright two weeks ago but failed to back it up last week, Barney was superb against Chisnall last week but he needs to follow it up in this match. If they are both on form and flowing this would be a great match to watch but I’m not will they both show up playing at a high level?

I think over 11.5 legs in the match looks a reasonable bet; I also like the look of over 6.5 180’s as well as a checkout of over 97.5 for van Barneveld.

 

Phil Taylor v Peter Wright

 Taylor

  • Taylor rescued a point last week from what looked likely to be a defeat against van Gerwen. He trailed 5-1 against MVG at one point but then managed to claw back to 5-4, van Gerwen proceeded to hit a 170 check out on the Taylor throw to lead 6-4 and missed 3 darts to win the match, Taylor punished those missed darts at double and won the last two legs to earn a 6-6 draw.
  • The draw last week took his unbeaten run to 6 matches since he lost on the opening night to van Barneveld. In each of the last 6 weeks Taylor has averaged over 100.
  • Taylor hasn’t recorded the highest weekly match average in any of the Premier League weeks this year and in fact it has been 15 weekly rounds since he did have the highest match average on a Premier League night.

Wright

  • Last week Wright lost his 3rd Premier League match in a row when he was defeated 7-5 by Gary Anderson. It wasn’t a poor performance from Wright with him averaging over 100 all through the match. He led 4-3 following haven broken Anderson’s throw in the seventh leg only for his opponent to win 4 of the next 5 legs to consign Wright to defeat for the third week running.
  • Currently without a win in his last 4 Premier League matches he has actually won only 4 of his last 19 Premier League matches.
  • He posted an average of over 100 last week for the fourth time in five matches.

Head to Head

Taylor has a big lead in their head to head win record with 16 wins to 5 (they have also drawn twice). The recent encounters between them both have been close though with 2 wins each from their past 4 meetings. Taylor just edged Wright out 10-9 in the quarter-finals of the Masters earlier this year, prior to that Wright won a tight game at the World Series of Darts finals last November. Interestingly in their 3 matches in the Premier League Wright is unbeaten having won once and they have drawn the other two games.

Verdict

Wright had an excellent start to the league with 3 wins in a row but since then he has gone 4 matches without a win, it isn’t really a case of him playing badly, especially in his last 3 matches as he has faced opponents in good form. His task doesn’t get any easier this week though with Taylor unbeaten in his last 6 Premier League matches and last week’s draw against MVG will have definitely felt like a win for ‘The Power’. Wright and Taylor have had some good tussles recently and this has the makings of another excellent quality game. I think this could in a draw which would also be the third time in a row they have shared the points in a Premier League match.

 

Michael van Gerwen v Robert Thornton

van Gerwen

  • Michael van Gerwen couldn’t quite extend his run of consecutive wins to 6 when he was held to a draw by Phil Taylor last week. MVG led 5-1, Taylor clawed it back to 5-4 only for van Gerwen to hit a 170 finish against the throw to lead 6-4 and he had the throw in the eleventh leg to take the points, MVG missed 3 darts at a double to seal a 7-4 win and was punished by Taylor who won the last 2 legs to snatch a draw.
  • His average of 107.35 last week was the sixth match in a row that he has averaged over 106 in the Premier League. Overall he has averaged above 105 in 11 of his last 13 Premier League matches.
  • His 170 finish against Taylor was the first 170 finish in this year’s Premier League. He has taken out a 3 figure checkout in 6 of the 7 matches he has played in the 2016 Premier League.

Thornton

  • Thornton will be competing in his second match of the evening having already faced Michael Smith in the opening game. The bullet points below for Thornton are the same as for his preview against Smith.
  • Last week Thornton put in his best performance in this year’s Premier League but was still left searching for his first win after he went down to a 7-4 win against James Wade. Thornton was averaging 108 after 6 legs when they were level at 3-3. A mixture of him fading and Wade raising his game led to Wade winning 4 of the next 5 legs to take the 2 points.
  • Thornton remains rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table with 1 point from 6 matches. This week he plays twice, playing catch-up from missing week two due to illness, his second match this evening is against Michael van Gerwen.
  • His average of 101.35 was by far his highest of the Premier League season, surpassing his previous high of 91.98.
  • Thornton has only won 2 of his last 25 matches in the Premier League and is without a win in his last 11 TV matches.

Head to Head

MVG has won 8 of his last 9 matches against Thornton going back to 2013. The one win Thornton did have over van Gerwen in this period was very notable as it came in the final of the World Grand Prix last October. In the Premier League they have met 4 times with van Gerwen winning 3 times and the other game ended in a draw. Three of those four Premier League encounters went to a final leg.

Verdict

It was definitely a much better performance from Thornton last week and although he ended up without a point he can take some confidence in how he competed. Coming into this game he will have already faced Michael Smith earlier in the evening, his result against Smith will have an impact on his mind-set in this game which is something to bear in mind. Michael van Gerwen will have been disappointed to let his lead slip against Taylor last week but I think that will only make him even more determined to get a win in this game.

I think van Gerwen will prove to be too strong for Thornton and I am predicting a 7-3 win for him.

 

 

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