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Article: Premier League Preview

Premier League Preview

Having finally caught our collective breaths after last week’s ridiculous darts, we thought we’d take a look at what’s in store this week.  The 3 Arena in Dublin will host the penultimate night with all 10 players competing, before the bottom two players are ejected.  As it stands, there are 7 darting aces that could suffer that fate.  With every position in the table so tenuous, it really is all to play for in week 8 of the PDC Premier League.

Adrian Lewis v Dave Chisnall

Two of the sport’s biggest scorers open proceedings on Thursday, with Adrian Lewis in desperate need of a win following last week’s draw with James Wade.  As things stand, Lewis would be dumped out of the tournament on leg difference, so 2 points here would be invaluable to the Stoke-born dartist.  Dave Chisnall will avoid the split, but is by no means guaranteed a top 4 spot come finals night in May.  He has lost his last two Premier League matches, and a return to winning ways is not just desirable but essential if he’s going to keep his head above the top-four water line.  

Our Prediction: Adrian Lewis 6 - 6 Dave Chisnall

Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting

Stephen Bunting is rather enjoying himself in the Premier League at the moment.  With 7 points from his last 3 matches, it’s fair to say that The Bullet is definitely firing.  He faces a daunting prospect in Gary Anderson this week, who currently resides in 2nd place having seen off his last two Premier League opponents.  The Flying Scotsman will feel this is a fixture he should be profiting from, but I don’t expect Bunting to be so charitable.  In many respects, Bunting resembles the Gary Anderson of old.  A great scorer, but fatally shaky on his doubles.  If he starts hitting the outer ring with some consistency we could be in for a treat, but I think the World Champion will don his bullet-proof vest and emerge victorious.

Our Prediction:  Gary Anderson 7 - 2 Stephen Bunting

Peter Wright v James Wade

This is a really tough one to call, and you’ll forgive me for being a little on the fence with it.  Peter Wright has shown us glimmers of the player we know he can be during this tournament, but only faint glimmers.  He, like so many other players this year, needs to find a vein of consistent form.  And fast.  If he does, he’ll win this match.  James Wade, meanwhile, has had a very solid tournament so far.  His style is reminiscent of an on-form Andy Hamilton: nothing too exceptional, but solid, steady scoring and reasonably good finishing.  As such, he has never been "thrashed” - always taking a respectable amount of legs from each match, and often some accompanying points.  I don’t think either player has the fire-power needed to break their opponent’s throw more than once, so I expect this to be close whichever way it goes.

Our Prediction:  Peter Wright 6 - 6 James Wade

Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld

This all-Dutch pairing has the potential to be a classic if Barney can find another performance like last week’s.  The 5 times world champion is treading water above the elimination zone at the moment, with only 5 points to his name.  With only two matches left, he needs to start winning.  His performance in one of the best Premier League matches of all time last week was a great start, with the big dutchman managing to overcome a 115 average from a hard-done-by Phil Taylor to emerge with the 2 points.  But Michael van Gerwen is almost unstoppable at the moment.  The 25 year old is yet to taste defeat in the Premier League, and comes into this match on the back of another European Tour win in Gibraltar last weekend.  Two great players, but Mighty Mike is the obvious favourite here.

Our Prediction:  Michael van Gerwen 7 - 4 Raymond van Barneveld

Phil Taylor v Kim Huybrechts

Despite a string of consistently respectable performances, it seems Kim Huybrechts is doomed for elimination, sitting at the foot of the table with 2 points separating him from the rest of the pack.  The Power, who registered the highest ever losing average last week with 115, will feel that he is due a win, and I expect him to get one at the expense of the unfortunate Belgian if he plays anything like he did against Barney.

Our Prediction:  Phil Taylor 7 - 3 Kim Huybrechts

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