PDC Premier League – Week Nine Preview
It’s week nine of the PDC Premier League and it’s a crucial night for Thornton, Smith and Chisnall with the two out of the three facing elimination from the competition.
Here is the league table as it stands (along with some player stats).
Judgement Night – March 31
Motopoint Arena, Cardiff
James Wade v Gary Anderson
- Wade was without a game last week due to the fact he played twice in week two. His last match was a 7-4 win over Robert Thornton in week 7 which was also his 3rd consecutive win following successes against Chisnall and van Barneveld.
- Wade has averaged over 100 in each of his last 3 matches; he has averaged over 100 in 4 consecutive Premier League matches before but that was back in 2008 in his debut season.
- Wade has only failed to have a checkout of 100 or more in 2 of the 8 matches he has played so far. In his last 4 matches he has had a total of 8 three figure checkouts.
- At the weekend he suffered a defeat in his first match at the German Darts Masters, losing 6-4 to eventual semi-finalist Joe Cullen.
- Anderson made it 6 wins in a row when he defeated Chisnall 7-4 last week. It was another consistent performance from him with his scoring being the impressive feature, his cover shots in particular working very well.
- The run of 6 wins in a row is the best Anderson has ever had in the Premier League and means he has now won 10 of his last 12 matches in the competition.
- Anderson had the highest weekly checkout last week with a 144 finish, this was the first time he had the highest weekly checkout since April 2014 and meant he was the 7th different player to have the highest weekly checkout from the opening 8 weeks.
- In the Euro Tour event last weekend he averaged over 106 in beating Gurney 6-1, then followed this up with a 101.66 average in the defeat of O’Connor. But he surprisingly exited in the quarter-finals when he was whitewashed 6-0 by Joe Cullen having only averaged 79.17.
Head to Head
Anderson has a big lead in their head to head win record having won 26 and lost 11 (they have also drawn once). Wade has failed to win in his last 10 matches against Anderson and has lost 9 of those matches. The last 4 matches have all seen Anderson pick up comfortable wins with Wade winning a combined total of 10 legs to Anderson’s 36.
Recent meetings between Anderson and Wade have been very much in favour of Anderson and it’s hard to ignore these facts when analysing this match. There is no doubt Wade is capable of beating Anderson but it’s how much he believes it after such a run that may be a factor.
I think Anderson will edge this game, my betting preferences are: Anderson to win with Wade winning at least 4 legs and also Wade to have a checkout of over 96.5 during the match.
Michael Smith v Phil Taylor
- Smith sits at the bottom of the table following his 7-5 defeat to Robert Thornton last week. Smith trailed 5-2 in that match but managed to haul himself level at 5-5. He then had a dart at a double to take a point but Thornton stepped in and hit the winning double to take the crucial two points.
- Smith has to win or draw to keep alive his chances of avoiding elimination, his fate though is really out of his own hands as if both Chisnall and Thornton win whatever Smith does in his game doesn’t matter.
- He managed to hit 4x 180s last week for the third time in this year’s Premier League, during his first 4 matches he managed a total of 7x 180s in his last 4 matches he has managed a total of 14.
- Smith had a good run to the semi-finals at the German Darts Masters at the weekend; he defeated de Graaf, Wilson and White before losing to Peter Wright. It was the furthest he has progressed in a ranking tournament since reaching the Grand Slam semis last November.
- Last week Taylor drew his second match in a row, his 6-6 draw against Wright extended his unbeaten run to 7 matches and he is level on points with van Gerwen and Anderson at the top of the table. Whilst Taylor will have been relieved to take a draw against MVG in week 6 he will have been disappointed to let the lead slip against Wright having led 6-4 he missed 4 darts to seal a 7-4 win before Wright took the final 2 legs.
- Taylor posted another average of over 100 last week which was the seventh week in a row he has done so. Overall he has had an average of over 100 in 11 of his last 12 Premier League matches.
- His highest checkout last week of 141 was his highest in this year’s competition and it was in fact his highest Premier League checkout since week three last year.
- Taylor wasn’t in action at the weekend, he didn’t enter the tournament, haven chosen to skip both of the opening two Euro events.
Head to Head
In their past meetings Taylor has won 9 matches with Smith winning 3 times. Five of their encounters have been on the TV stage with Taylor winning 4 of these, Smith’s most famous win over Taylor came at the World Championships in December 2013.
This is a crucial match for Smith as he needs to pick up a positive result to keep alive his hopes of staying in the league, the task ahead of him is very difficult though with Taylor on a 7 match unbeaten run in the league and he has averaged over 100 in each of those 7 matches, Smith’s highest league average has been in the mid 90’s so he will need Taylor to regress or he will have to improve.
I expect Taylor to be too strong for Smith and I am predicting a 7-3 or 7-4 win which will end Smith’s participation in this year’s Premier League though I am sure he will be back in the future.
Dave Chisnall v Peter Wright
- Chisnall is without a win since the opening week and has now lost each of his last 5 matches following a 7-4 defeat to Gary Anderson last week. Chisnall’s average against Anderson was 100.01 but missed doubles proved costly as he finished with a checkout percentage of 21%.
- In each of the last 5 weeks his opponents have averaged over 102 and his opponents have hit a combined total of 11 three figure checkouts in those matches.
- This is the second time he has lost 5 Premier League matches in a row; he lost 5 in a row during the 2014 season.
- The fate of Chisnall is out of his hands as if Thornton wins his match even a win for Chisnall wouldn’t be enough. But on the other hand if Smith was to lose or draw and if Thornton loses a draw for Chisnall would be enough to take him through. So all Chisnall can do is try and win and hope results work in his favour.
- Chisnall lost in the Last 16 at the German Darts Masters last weekend. He was defeat 6-4 by the unseeded Chris Dobey, it was a below par performance from Chizzy as he averaged 89.68 but his opponent was very impressive averaging over 102 and hitting 7x 180’s.
- Wright ended a run of 3 consecutive defeats with his 6-6 draw against Phil Taylor last week, though he is still without a win in his 5 matches. It certainly must have felt like a point gained against Taylor, he was 6-4 down and was grateful that Taylor missed 4 darts to win 7-4, Wright took out a 111 checkout to take the game to a final leg and went out in 13 darts in that final leg to snatch a point.
- He has averaged over 100 in each of his last 4 matches in the Premier League, this is the best run of averages he has had since he made his Premier League debut in 2014.
- In total Wright has only won 4 of his last 20 matches in the Premier League.
- Wright reached the final at the German Darts Masters last weekend. He came up against van Gerwen in the final and lost 6-4 having led 3-1 and 4-2.
Head to Head
Chisnall leads their head to head win record with 9 wins to 5 (they have also drawn once). In their last 6 matches he has won 4 and lost 2 and he is also unbeaten in their 3 matches in the Premier League. Wright did win their last meeting which was at the World Championships back in December; it was a very tight game going to a final set with not much at all to separate the two players.
Chisnall is facing elimination and knows that even a win might not be enough to save him but all he can do is try and win and hope things fall in his favour. Chisnall has lost his last 5 Premier League matches, all his opponents have averaged over 102 in those matches which show what he has been up against but he hasn’t been at his best and he didn’t play well in defeat at the weekend. Wright is without a win in 5 Premier League matches and has been up against opponents in fine form too but I believe he has still been playing to a higher level than Chisnall and make Wright the favourite to win this match.
My betting preference is for Wright to win with Chisnall winning 4 or more legs.
Robert Thornton v Adrian Lewis
- Thornton gave himself a lifeline of avoiding elimination when he picked up 3 points from his 2 matches last week. He started the night with a tight 7-5 win over Michael Smith (which was his first win in this year’s Premier League), and then he defied the odds to hold Michael van Gerwen to a draw, MVG wasn’t at his best but take nothing away from Thornton who battled hard and pressured MVG throughout.
- Thornton could be in a position where he knows he will be safe from elimination by the time he takes to the stage for this match. Should Chisnall and Smith both lose then he will be guaranteed to avoid a bottom two finish. Chisnall and Smith both winning would put pressure on Thornton to get a positive result against Lewis.
- Thornton suffered defeat in his first match at the German Darts Masters last weekend, he lost 6-4 to Chris Dobey, it wasn’t a bad performance from Thornton but he came up against a player on form and averaging over 100.
- Lewis managed to scramble a 7-5 win over van Barneveld last week in a game full of twists and turns. The finishing of Lewis gave him the edge despite van Barneveld outscoring him.
- Lewis failed to average over 100 against van Barneveld; overall he has only averaged over 100 in 4 of his last 17 matches in the Premier League.
- He lost in the Last 16 at the German Darts Masters last weekend. His defeat came against the unseeded James Richardson, Lewis wasn’t at his best but he did also run into a player on fine form.
Head to Head
Lewis has a very good record against Thornton having won 18 of their 23 meetings. Thornton has only won 2 of their last 18 encounters going back to 2009. All four of their Premier League matches have gone to the 12th and final leg. Lewis has won two of these, Thornton has won one and they have drawn once.
It’s a difficult match to predict as Thornton could be under big pressure to get a result or he may know he is safe already and be able to play with some freedom. The head to head stats are certainly very much in favour of Lewis so he will have a big psychological edge over Thornton. There have been enough signs in recent weeks that Thornton’s confidence is returning so he should be able to push Lewis hard and I don’t anticipate either player racing away so we may have another tight Premier League meeting between the pair. I have no strong preference on the match, I think Lewis might just take it 7-5.
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen
- Against Lewis last week Barney suffered his 4th 7-5 defeat of the Premier League season. Barney scored well throughout the match but struggled to win legs when he was in a strong positon to do so and he has now lost 4 of his last 5 Premier League matches.
- On the positive side for van Barneveld he is 1 point better off than he was at this stage of last season’s Premier League and he still went on to make the play-offs but on that occasion he won 6 and drew 2 of his last 8 matches and to repeat that would be some feat.
- van Barneveld wasn’t present at the German Darts Masters last weekend, he failed to qualify for the tournament having lost in the qualifiers back in January.
- van Gerwen drew his 2nd Premier League match in succession last week when he was held to a draw by Robert Thornton. It wasn’t a performance up to the standards he had been producing in recent weeks and his match average was 97.57, his lowest of the season.
- Not only was the 97.57 his lowest average in this year’s Premier League season it was also his lowest for 18 Premier League matches and only the 3rd time he had averaged under 100 in his last 19 matches in the Premier League.
- Last weekend was another weekend with a tournament win for van Gerwen; he won the German Darts Masters defeating Peter Wright in the final. MVG never hit top form throughout the tournament and Wright wasted a good chance to defeat van Gerwen having led 3-1 and 4-2 before van Gerwen ran out a 6-4 winner.
Head to Head
As you would expect there have been plenty of past meetings between van Barneveld and van Gerwen, altogether they have played 39 times with van Gerwen 23-16 ahead on matches won. Barney did win their last encounter which was at the World Championships at the end of last year, and over their last 6 matches they have shared 3 wins each.
Always plenty of pride at stake when these two Dutchmen meet on the big stage. Although van Gerwen does have an advantage on their past meetings Barney has proven he can mix it with MVG and will be motivated to beat him again. MVG hasn’t looked as sharp over the past week or so, although he managed to win the German Darts Masters at the weekend he won’t be as dominant as he has been this year if he plays to that level. I wouldn’t rule out van Barneveld pushing van Gerwen all the way here and snatching a draw.
My betting preferences on the match are over 10.5 legs in the match and van Barneveld with a checkout of over 86.5.