Premier League Darts – Week 3 Preview
The Premier League Darts heads into the third week of action this Thursday when the top 10 players in the world head to the 3Arena in Dublin. Yet again, five fantastic fixtures are in line.
Peter Wright v James Wade
The first match of the evening is a tight one to call, both Wright and Wade have had positive starts to the Premier League. ‘Snakebite’ is currently sitting pretty after a brace of wins from the opening two weeks- beating Michael Smith and Raymond van Barneveld. The latter victory was remarkable after struggling to find any real form, seemingly because of a change in darts. However, the Scotsman still managed to grind out a 7-5 win- showing a good knack for finding a way to get a result. Wade beat Michael van Gerwen in the first week, before getting his second win in week two against Smith. He had to play twice last week though due to Thornton’s absence in Newcastle- resultantly seeing him also get comprehensively beaten 7-1 by Phil Taylor. Here, Wright has to be the slight favourite to come out on top. He’s been hitting plenty of maximums of late whilst showing composure to seal close games. Of course, Wade has been playing great darts too- meaning that this is a great match-up to start with.
Dave Chisnall v Michael Smith
The second match of the evening sees two playing from St Helens face-up on the Premier League stage. Expect plenty of 180’s in this match as these two high scorers bounce off of one another. Smith will be desperate to get his first points on the board in Ireland this week after losing three games on the trot in his debut campaign. He’s also played one more game than most as he had to play two fixtures on the opening night of the season. Because of this, Smith will only have five fixtures remaining after this match in order to accumulate enough points to avoid elimination after week nine. ‘Chizzy’ though has been in fine form, and despite losing to Adrian Lewis last week- he heads into this match the favourite, as he looks to steal a march on others in chasing down a play-off place like he did last season.
Phil Taylor v Gary Anderson
Third up is the resurgent 16 time World Champion against the reigning World Champ’ in what is sure to be a blockbuster clash. Taylor has shown real signs of improvement in the turn of the year, with his new darts fulfilling him with confidence. However, he did blow seven match darts against rival van Gerwen to reach the Masters final before being dealt a 7-2 thrashing by van Barneveld in the first week of the Premier League. Since then though a UK Open qualifier win in Wigan and a thrashing of Wade will see him looking forward to this clash. Anderson was beaten by van Gerwen last week in what was his first match of the Premier League season after missing the first week through illness. The Scot will look to gain his first points against ‘the Power’ this week.
Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis
Van Gerwen will be firm favourite heading into this encounter. ‘The Green Machine’ won the Dutch Darts Masters this weekend in Venray, acting as excellent preparation for this match. Van Gerwen also recorded a fabulous win against World Champion Anderson last week, which was an excellent response to being victim to defeat against Wade in week one. Lewis though has had an excellent start to the Premier League, beating both Smith and Chisnall so far. ‘Jackpot’ will be keen to stay unbeaten and stay above van Gerwen in the table. This match is sure to be a thrilling battle between two form players.
Robert Thornton v Raymond van Barneveld
The final match of the evening sees Robert Thornton return after missing last week, and he faces five time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld. ‘Barney’ has been playing some fantastic darts recently, particularly in beating his old-adversary Phil Taylor convincingly in the first week. A setback for the Dutchman was losing to Wright last week when seemingly in complete control, but a big opportunity to get two more points on the board is on offer in Ireland. Thornton has been having a tough time of it lately, with Dave Chisnall being the main contributor to Robert’s struggle. First, ‘The Thorn’ led 8-0 in the last 16 of the Masters only to lose 10-9 against ‘Chizzy’. It was always going to be hard to get over, and it proved to be a hard one to shake off when it was followed by a loss the first match of the Premier League against the same man without scoring a single leg. This now bodes for an intriguing game to conclude the proceedings at the 3Arena.
By Aaron Woodruff