Premier League Darts- Week 7 Preview: Big guns collide in Glasgow!

MvG PT
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

This week, the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow hosts a huge week of Premier League action. Michael van Gerwen and Phil Taylor collide in a battle for top spot, whilst Gary Anderson faces a defining night on home soil.

Firstly, the reigning Premier League champion takes on Adrian Lewis in a repeat of this year’s World Championship final, before he completes the evening’s action with a clash against his compatriot Peter Wright.

Elsewhere, Raymond van Barneveld and Dave Chisnall lock horns in a crucial contest, whilst James Wade goes in search of his third straight win against Robert Thornton, who has yet to register a Premier League victory in 2016 so far.

Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis

Gary Anderson takes on Adrian Lewis to kick off proceedings in Glasgow, in a repeat of the 2016 World Championship final. It’s a huge night for Anderson, who doubles up against Lewis and Wright, to make up for his absence in week one due to a viral infection.

The pair contested a controversial tussle in Glasgow a few years ago, and hopefully the crowd don’t play such an instrumental role on this occasion. Adrian often receives a rough ride in Scotland and I’m not sure why. Gary and Adrian are very good friends and Jackpot is one of the most unassuming players on the circuit. He doesn’t deserve the abuse.

Lewis performed magnificently in Nottingham, averaging 108 as he dismantled Peter Wright 7-3. This leaves Adrian strongly placed, with four wins from six matches. However, it has been revealed that Adrian’s wife, Sarah, is currently in and out of hospital with kidney problems, and that will inevitably take its toll on the two-time world champion.

With Peter Wright to face in the evening’s curtain-raiser, ‘The Flying Scotsman’ will be keen to maintain his momentum. After enduring a difficult start to his campaign, Anderson has reeled off three successive victories and he was clinical against his protege Michael Smith seven days ago.

This is a tough one to call. Both are mercurial talents and if one player fires from the outset, it could be rather one-sided. However, I think it’s imperative that Lewis starts strongly. He could be forgiven for being somewhat distracted, and the crowd will have a greater influence the longer the game progresses. That’s why I’m edging towards Ando.

Prediction: Anderson 7-5 Lewis

James Wade v Robert Thornton

Robert Thornton is a man very low on confidence at present. ‘The Thorn’ suffered a 7-0 whitewash at the hands of Phil Taylor last week; his second of this year’s event, after losing 7-0 to Dave Chisnall in the opening week. Thornton’s tournament average of 86.35 illustrates the severity of his plight, and he looks an odds-on certainty for relegation.

In contrast, James Wade is riding the crest of a wave. ‘The Machine’ fended off an inspired comeback from Raymond van Barneveld last week to secure his second-straight win, which catapulted him inside the play-off places.

Wade’s notorious for being proficient in the finishing department and he demonstrated his ruthless edge against van Barneveld last week, hitting a marvellous 63% on the doubles. However, James’ scoring has also improved immeasurably; he has already hit 20 maximums in this year’s event; only four players have posted more.

Wade’s current mindset is very strong  and he’s throwing with tremendous rhythm and ease. Thornton has been hampered by his recurring foot problem, which is compounded by the chest infection he suffered a month or so ago. There’s a chance the Glasgow crowd could revitalise the World Grand-Prix champion, but I can’t back against Wade here.

Prediction: Wade 7-3 Thornton

Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor

This is arguably one of the most highly-anticipated Premier League clashes in history. The world number one, in an irrepressible vein of form, against the greatest of all time. What makes this match extra-special is that they’re both locked on ten points, so the incentive could not be greater.

Phil Taylor had an extremely disappointing 2015 by his exceptionally high-standards, although he’s made a strong start to 2016 and already looks a virtual certainty to seal a Premier League play-off place. Since losing to Raymond van Barneveld on the opening night, he’s won five successive matches, for the loss of just 11 legs.

However, this is the acid test. Michael van Gerwen is playing darts from another stratosphere at the moment. His last three Premier League averages have been 123.40, 116.67 and 113.47. He’s won 9 of his last 10 meetings against ‘The Power’ and even if Taylor performs at the peak of his powers, it may not be enough to thwart ‘The Green Machine’.

Taylor led Van Gerwen 4-1 in the UK Open semi-finals a fortnight ago; missing one dart at D14 for a 5-1 cushion. The 16-time world champion averaged 105 and this figure didn’t fluctuate much throughout the contest. Nevertheless, Van Gerwen clinched 9 of the final 11 legs to seal a routine 10-6 victory.

Michael’s scoring power is unparalleled, but week one apart, his finishing has also been absolutely magnificent; whether it be combination-finishes or one dart at double, MvG has delivered. Taylor will be absolutely desperate to send out a message to the chasing pack and Van Gerwen himself, but I cannot see Phil prevailing in Glasgow.

Prediction: Van Gerwen 7-3 Taylor

Raymond van Barneveld v Dave Chisnall

Van Barneveld and Chisnall have both performed far better than their results suggest. Chisnall is without a win since the opening week of action, whilst van Barneveld has lost his last three matches. The loser of this contest may be looking over their shoulder heading into the final weeks ahead of Judgement Night.

Van Barneveld was beaten 7-5 by James Wade last week, after missing 3 darts to secure a point. Raymond fought back superbly from 5-1 down with some fine scoring and tremendous ton-plus finishes, but he was unable to salvage a point in the decider.

Chisnall was beaten by a rampant Michael van Gerwen in Nottingham. Van Gerwen averaged over 113 and stormed to a 7-2 win, and there was very little ‘Chizzy’ could do. Both men competed in the opening weekend of Players Championship action, and van Barneveld performed the better out of the two, reaching the last 16 on Saturday.

Raymond is throwing well without getting his just rewards at present, but I can’t see it continuing for too much longer. The five-time world champion has an incredible record in Glasgow, winning seven times there, which is more than any other player. The support of the partisan Scottish crowd could drive him over the line against Chisnall.

Prediction: Van Barneveld 7-4 Chisnall

Gary Anderson v Peter Wright

Peter Wright has been extremely unfortunate in the last two weeks of Premier League action. A fortnight ago, Snakebite was beaten 7-3 by Michael van Gerwen, despite averaging 108. History virtually repeated itself in Nottingham, as Wright averaged 107 yet succumbed to a 7-3 defeat against an inspired Adrian Lewis.

However, Wright was rewarded for his consistency in Barnsley over the weekend. He won Saturday’s opening Players Championship event, before reaching the semi-finals the following day, meaning that he tops the Players Championship Order of Merit as it stands.

Gary Anderson reached the semi-finals of Saturday’s Players Championship opener, and he heads to Glasgow full of confidence. Yet, this game could hinge on Gary’s opening clash against Adrian Lewis. If he can overcome Jackpot he’ll be full of confidence against Wright, but defeat could leave Gary edgy in front of his expectant home crowd.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the all-Scottish clash would divide the Glasgow crowd, although I believe that they’ll be firmly in Anderson’s corner. Gary flourished in Aberdeen against Raymond van Barneveld and I think the world champion will star again on Scottish soil. However, if Wright maintains his current level of performance, he’ll be tough to beat.

Prediction: Anderson 6-6 Wright

Night Seven – March 17
The SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis
James Wade v Robert Thornton
Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor
Raymond van Barneveld v Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson v Peter Wright

2016 Betway Premier League- Latest League Table

Following Night Six

P

W

D

L

+/-

LWAT

Pts

Michael van Gerwen

6

5

0

1

+20

17

10

Phil Taylor

6

5

0

1

+19

14

10

Adrian Lewis

6

4

0

2

+6

15

8

James Wade

7

4

0

3

0

15

8

Peter Wright

6

3

1

2

+1

9

7

Gary Anderson

5

3

0

2

+4

10

6

Raymond van Barneveld

6

2

0

4

-3

10

4

Dave Chisnall

6

1

1

4

-6

12

3

Michael Smith

7

1

1

5

-22

12

3

Robert Thornton

5

0

1

4

-19

2

1

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