PDC Premier League – Week Eleven Preview
Premier League Week 11 – The SSE Arena, Belfast
Robert Thornton v Peter Wright
- Thornton is 3 points adrift at the foot of the table following his 7-5 defeat against Michael van Gerwen last week.
- It was a very spirited performance from Thornton having recovered from 5-1 down to take the match into the final leg.
- He recorded his highest average in this year’s Premier League in that match against van Gerwen, the average of 104.23 was the 5th time overall that he has managed an average of over 104 in the Premier League.
- His total of 5x 180’s was the most he has managed in a 2016 PL match taking his total to 17 in his last 5 matches, he managed just 6 in his opening 5 matches.
- Wright sits in 6th place in the league but is only 2 points behind Lewis who is in 3rd
- His 6-6 draw against Lewis last week was his third draw this season; only van Gerwen has drawn as many games (MVG has also drawn 3 times).
- Against Lewis he led 6-5 and missed 5 darts at a double to win the match. The draw stretched his unbeaten run to 3 matches but he has only won 1 of his last 7 PL fixtures.
- His average of 93.43 against Lewis was his 2nd lowest average in this year’s competition.
Head to Head
Wright has a 9-4 advantage in their past head to head meetings (they have also drawn twice, including their meeting earlier in this years PL). Overall Wright is unbeaten in his last 8 matches against Thornton and hasn’t lost to him since 2013. In the draw they played out earlier this season Thornton had missed a dart at a double to win the match 7-4.
Thornton is just playing for pride and as was shown last week against van Gerwen he won’t end the league with a whimper. Wright has plenty to play for in terms of trying to make the top 4 and he ideally needs to win this match to keep in touch with the players ahead of him. If you were to judge the players on their last performances you would say Thornton would be the favourite but we all know Wright has quality and is likely to perform a lot better this week.
I think this match can go the full 12 legs and another 6-6 draw is my prediction.
Raymond van Barneveld v Phil Taylor
- Barney is 6 points off the play-off places following his 7-4 defeat against James Wade last week.
- The match against Wade went with throw for the opening 9 legs before van Barneveld missed 3 darts at double to draw level at 5-5, Wade stepped in to break throw with a 13 dart leg and sealed the match in the very next leg.
- That defeat meant van Barneveld has only won 1 of his last 7 Premier League matches.
- Taylor remains top of the Premier League table having recorded back to back wins last week against Anderson and Wade when he played twice in the same evening. He is 3 points ahead of van Gerwen who has a game in hand.
- He has averaged under 100 in his last 3 matches, it’s the first time he has averaged under 100 in 3 consecutive Premier League matches in the same season since 2010.
- Taylor is now unbeaten in his last 10 Premier League fixtures, his last defeat came in week one against van Barneveld.
- He averaged 3.5 180’s per match during his opening 6 matches; over his last 5 matches he has only averaged 2 180’s per match.
Head to Head
Taylor has a big lead in their overall head to head record but perhaps more significant is their recent Premier League record with van Barneveld winning their last 4 meetings and is unbeaten in his last 6 PL matches against Taylor (league and knockout matches). When they met earlier in the season it was a comprehensive 7-2 win for Barney. Taylor did win their most recent match though which was a 9-3 win in the Last 32 of the UK Open.
Taylor has certainly been in the better form of the two players, unbeaten since he played van Barneveld in week one and top of the table. The performance from Taylor against Barney in that match was his worst of the campaign and Barney’s finishing was almost perfect. I have to make Taylor the favourite for the match but I don’t think Barney can be written off, his recent PL record against Taylor shows how he can raise his level and don’t rule out him putting in a strong display here but Taylor will also be determined to end Barney’s good run against him. I am tipping a Taylor 7-5 win.
James Wade v Adrian Lewis
- Wade is in 5th place in the table, level on points with Anderson and Lewis who are above him on leg difference only.
- Last week he played twice in the same evening beating Barney 7-4 in the opening game before his 5 match unbeaten run was ended in a 7-4 defeat against Taylor.
- He recorded ton plus finishes in both of his matches last week meaning he has only failed to do so in 3 of his 11 matches this season.
- Lewis sits third in the table following his 6-6 draw against Peter Wright last week, he is just 2 points behind MVG who is in 2nd, but is level on points with 5th placed James Wade.
- His average of 88.68 last week was his lowest Premier League average since 2013.
- Overall he has only averaged above 100 in 1 of his last 9 Premier League matches.
- No player in the tournament has had fewer ton plus checkouts than Lewis, he has only managed a 3 figure checkout in 3 of his 10 matches so far.
Head to Head
Wade leads Lewis 26-17 on their head to head wins (they have shared 3 draws also). It Is Lewis though who has had the upper hand in recent games; winning 4 out of their last 5 matches (the other match was drawn). When they played earlier in the campaign Lewis overturned a 5-3 deficit to win 7-5, they both missed 8 darts to win the 12th and final leg before Lewis hit the double at the ninth attempt.
Both players are level on points in the table (though Wade has played one more match) so there is plenty at stake. I don’t think there is too much to separate them but I think Wade has played slightly more consistently well during the PL season, especially on his finishing. It would surprise me if either player ran away with this match, and I expect it to be competitive right until the end. I think it will go to the 12th leg but I have a feeling one of the players might just nick the two points. Who wins? I just can’t decide but I think backing over 11.5 legs is a reasonable bet.
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
- Michael van Gerwen is 2nd in the table, 3 points behind the leader Phil Taylor with a game in hand.
- Last week he ended a run of 3 successive draws with a 7-5 win over Thornton. van Gerwen had led 5-1 at one stage and missed darts to win the match 7-3 and 7-4.
- His average of 117.95 against Thornton was his 2nd highest ever average in the Premier League, only bettered by his TV record average of 123.4 against Smith earlier in the tournament.
- He has now hit a checkout of 100 or more in 8 of his 10 matches in this year’s Premier League.
- His 180 count of 6 last week equalled his previous best this year of 6 which he hit against Anderson in week 2. Overall he has had 4 or more 180’s in 8 of his 10 matches so far.
- Anderson is in 4th place level on points with both Lewis and Wade on 13 points which is just 2 points behind van Gerwen who is in 2nd
- Last week he suffered a 7-3 defeat to Phil Taylor, Anderson was leading 3-2 until Taylor reeled off five consecutive legs without reply to end Anderson’s unbeaten run which had stretched to 7 matches.
- His average of 92.83 against Taylor was his second lowest average of this year’s Premier League campaign.
Head to Head
Michael van Gerwen leads their head to head record by 20 wins to 11 and he has won each of their last 3 meetings (including a 7-3 win in week 2 of this year’s PL). Most recently they met last weekend in a Players Championship semi-final with van Gerwen coming out on top 6-4.
The top 2 ranked players in the world face off in what is always a very intriguing encounter with plenty of pride at stake for both players. Anderson holds the World and Premier League titles and MVG is determined to show he is the number one. When they met earlier in the season MVG dominated winning 7-3 with a 111.88 average, Anderson himself averaged 106 but was allowed only 4 darts at a double all match.
I’m anticipating a high quality encounter with high averages, I just think van Gerwen will have the extra edge and come out on top. I’m going with a 7-5 win to MVG.
Raymond van Barneveld v Robert Thornton
Head to Head
Raymond van Barneveld has a 10-3 win record against Thornton (they have also drawn twice). Two of Thornton’s 3 wins have come in their last 4 meetings so their encounters have been a lot more even recently. Barney does have an advantage in their Premier League head to head, he hasn’t lost against Thornton in their 5 meetings and came out on top 7-5 earlier in the season. In that match Thornton had a dart to snatch a draw which would have been harsh on Barney who averaged 102.6 compared to the 89.89 of Thornton.
It looks likely that all that is left for van Barneveld and Thornton is to play for pride, they will have both have already played earlier in the evening so the outcome of those earlier games might have some bearing on how this game pans out. I think this is a very hard match to predict anyhow and would be reluctant to get too involved in the game from a betting perspective. I would have a small fancy for them to hit a decent number of 180’s so the 180 markets might be worth exploring.