Premier League Darts- Week 13 Preview

Anderson v Wright.jpg
Photo: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

World champion Gary Anderson and fellow Scot Peter Wright face a defining double-header in the hunt for a Premier League play-off place at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena on Thursday night. Wright faces Phil Taylor whilst Anderson meets Raymond van Barneveld, before the Scots reconvene to face off in the evening’s curtain-raiser.

Elsewhere, Michael van Gerwen will aim to keep up the pressure on Phil Taylor when he faces James Wade, whilst Adrian Lewis meets Robert Thornton, who is five points adrift at the bottom of the table.

Peter Wright v Phil Taylor

Peter Wright’s play-off hopes will surely hinge on this week’s double-header against Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson. In many ways, this year has mirrored Wright’s debut Premier League campaign. Two years ago, Wright sat top of the tree after week eight, but fell away in the second half of the season.

Snakebite was top of the table after  week four; sitting handsomely on 7 points. However since then, the Scot has only accumulated four points from his last eight games, and his solitary victory in this period came against the already eliminated Dave Chisnall. This week, he faces an unenviable task of halting Taylor’s 12-match unbeaten run.

Tayl0r mathematically guaranteed his play-off place by thrashing Robert Thornton 7-2 in Bournemouth last week, although the 16-time world champion posted a miserly 89 average in that contest. He’ll be wary that he must improve if he is to overcome Wright.

Their head-to-head record makes for interesting reading. Taylor is the dominant force, having won 16 of their 24 meetings, with Wright winning just five. However, Wright is unbeaten in their four Premier League clashes, winning one and drawing three.

Despite this, given Wright’s inconsistency and constant tinkering with his equipment, you have to fancy Taylor, particularly given the form and mindset he’s in. The 55-year-old is absolutely desperate to top the table ahead of Michael van Gerwen, and Phil’s first Premier League victory over Wright will go a long way to fulfilling that ambition.

Prediction: Wright 4-7 Taylor

Raymond van Barneveld v Gary Anderson

He couldn’t could he? Raymond van Barneveld defeated Adrian Lewis last week to notch up his second successive victory and keep his slender play-off hopes alive. Van Barneveld must win all three of his remaining games to stand a realistic chance of qualifying for finals night, as he hopes for a repeat of last year’s heroics in Birmingham.

Barney defeated Anderson and Lewis in Birmingham twelve months ago en route to claiming an unlikely play-off place, and Raymond requires a similar outcome against the back-to-back world champion to retain his hopes of qualification. Barney requires results to go in his favour, although he is still retaining his belief and determination.

Gary Anderson is in a strong position as he prepares for a defining night in the Midlands. The Scot is in third place, level on points with Adrian Lewis, but Anderson also meets Peter Wright in the evening’s curtain-raiser. Maximum points for ‘The Flying Scotsman’ could almost confirm his top-four berth.

Anderson contested a high-quality tussle with James Wade in Bournemouth last week, but Gary relinquished a 6-3 lead and was forced to settle for a point after missing six match darts. Any repeat of this profligacy will surely be punished by van Barneveld.

Gary won the pair’s previous meeting 7-3 in Aberdeen in week four, but Gary has won just three of their ten Premier League meetings in total. Barney will be relaxed and with Gary potentially pre-occupied by the prospect of facing Wright later in the evening, I fancy Van Barneveld to shade a nail-biting encounter.

Prediction: Van Barneveld 7-5 Anderson

Adrian Lewis v Robert Thornton

Adrian Lewis endured a hugely frustrating night in Bournemouth, losing to the Dutch duo of Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen. However, Adrian cannot afford to become despondent; he is still in the play-off positions and his fate is most certainly in his own hands.

Robert Thornton has battled tenaciously throughout this campaign and although his play-off hopes ended a considerable time ago, ‘The Thorn’ has still been highly motivated. However, his last two performances have been very underwhelming.

He averaged 88 in a 7-4 loss to Raymond van Barneveld a fortnight ago, whilst he was dispatched 7-2 by Phil Taylor last week, despite Taylor averaging just 89. The inconsistencies that plagued him in the opening weeks have resurfaced and he must rectify them if he is to trouble Jackpot in Birmingham.

Lewis dominates their head-to-head record, having won 19 and lost just four of his meetings with the Scot. Furthermore, Adrian is unbeaten in his last nine against Robert, winning eight of those. The World Grand-Prix champion will certainly battle valiantly, but I expect Lewis to register his eighth win of the season on Thursday.

Prediction: Lewis 7-4 Thornton

James Wade v Michael van Gerwen

Michael van Gerwen cut Phil Taylor’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to just two points with victories against Peter Wright and Adrian Lewis in Bournemouth a week ago. MvG now has ‘The Power’ firmly in his sights as he aims to secure top spot for the fourth consecutive year.

However, the stakes are equally high for James Wade, who maintained his push for the play-offs with a fine comeback against Gary Anderson. ‘The Machine’ trailed 6-3 but won the remaining three legs to snatch a point and move to within just a point of Anderson and Lewis, who currently occupy the last remaining play-off places.

Wade remains the only player to defeat MvG in this year’s competition, after stunning ‘The Green Machine’ 7-4 in the opening week. If the left-hander can repeat these heroics, he will be mightily confident of reaching the O2 Arena on May 12th. However, you have to expect Michael to be desperate for revenge.

The world number one faces Phil Taylor in the final week of league action in Rotterdam in a fortnight’s time and he cannot afford any slip-ups if he is to top the group phase. Wade’s ton-plus finishing in this year’s event has been very impressive, but Van Gerwen’s merciless scoring power could be the difference on this occasion.

Prediction: Wade 3-7 Van Gerwen

Peter Wright v Gary Anderson

It’s always difficult to predict the outcome of double-headers, because so much can depend on how the players fare in their first match. A victory for one player can be galvanising, whilst some may be unable to recover from the disappointment a defeat may bring.

However, if Wright loses to Taylor, his play-off hopes are virtually over, whereas Anderson will have major incentive irrespective of the outcome in his clash with Van Barneveld. Gary edged out Wright 7-5 in Glasgow six weeks ago, despite Snakebite leading 5-4, and that may yet prove to be a defining factor in the play-off race. 

Up until a fortnight ago, Wright’s tournament average was over 100 which is extremely impressive, However, the world number five has since suffered successive 7-2 losses and he’s produced two rather mediocre performances.

Anderson has won 16 of their 27 meetings, whilst Wright has claimed 11 victories. Yet, they’ve only met seven times on TV, with Anderson winning five of these encounters. Peter’s last TV victory against Gary came over two years ago, and given Anderson’s superior scoring power, I can see that run being extended further.

Prediction: Wright 5-7 Anderson

Betway Premier League
Night 13 – April 28
The Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham

Peter Wright v Phil Taylor
Raymond van Barneveld v Gary Anderson
Adrian Lewis v Robert Thornton
James Wade v Michael van Gerwen
Peter Wright v Gary Anderson
Best of 12 legs

League Table

After Night 12

P

W

D

L

+/-

LWAT

Pts

Phil Taylor

13

10

2

1

+35

29

22

Michael van Gerwen

13

8

4

1

+29

31

20

Gary Anderson

12

6

3

3

+8

20

15

Adrian Lewis

13

7

1

5

+5

27

15

James Wade

13

6

2

5

+1

25

14

Raymond van Barneveld

13

5

1

7

-1

22

11

Peter Wright

12

4

3

5

-9

17

11

Robert Thornton

13

2

2

9

-28

10

6

Dave Chisnall (E)

9

1

1

7

-14

17

3

Michael Smith (E)

9

1

1

7

-26

15

3

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