Premier League Darts: Michael van Gerwen versus Phil Taylor will be a high-scoring tussle
And Robert Thornton can beat Raymond van Barneveld on home turf
By Rod Harrington
Last Updated: 15/04/14 3:52pm
Michael van Gerwen renews acquaintances with Phil Taylor in the Premier League on Thursday and Sky Sports pundit Rod Harrington is expecting an absolute belter.
Rod also feels that Adrian Lewis could endure a tough evening in Aberdeen but is tipping a Scot at the bottom of the standings to spring a surprise against ‘Barney’…
GARY ANDERSON v ADRIAN LEWIS
Gary’s form is better than Aidy’s at the minute, with him winning two of his last three games in this competition and Aidy taking three draws and a defeat in his last four and looking tired. Lewis needs to up his level, especially this week, as he plays Michael van Gerwen after his match with Gary. If Aidy can get four points in Aberdeen he will be right in the play-off mix – he is currently sixth – but if he loses both of them, which is quite possible, I think the top four is out of the question. Both of these players are heavy scorers and there should be a lot of 180s but I think Anderson will nick it. He is probably playing his best darts for several years – he has won four events in 2014, including the German Darts Championship – and if Aidy doesn’t step it up, Gary will outscore him.
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN v PHIL TAYLOR
Phil will remember his 7-0 drubbing to Michael in Week One of the Premier League and the fact Van Gerwen has taken his World No 1 ranking and world title, so he will come out firing on Thursday night. If Phil loses to Van Gerwen everyone will say that Michael has now got the upper hand and Taylor doesn’t want that at all so he will be so up for this. His darts are still not right – some of them are drifting into the five – so he has to put that right, but Van Gerwen has little lulls in games and Phil is brilliant at taking advantage when his opponents do that, so it is going to be a close game. I think Michael may just nick it but it wouldn’t surprise me if what I expect to be a real high-scoring game ended in a draw and if I had a bet that’s what I would go for.
PETER WRIGHT v DAVE CHISNALL
The thing with the Premier League is that you are playing a brilliant player every Thursday and I think that’s where Chisnall has found it a little bit tough. His consistency is not good enough to make the top four of the Premier League. He is brilliant enough and has loads of ability but he can’t do it week in, week out, whereas someone like Wright can. However, after losing to Anderson and Raymond van Barneveld in Sheffield last week, Peter is now on the verge of dropping out of the top four so he must do something this week. He won’t have a better chance than against Chisnall and if he keeps on not making mistakes I think he will win. You never know with Dave, as he could get on the oche and win 7-0, but the form book says Wright will come out on top.
ROBERT THORNTON v RAYMOND VAN BARNEVELD
You saw what playing with no fear can do for you when relegated Simon Whitlock played great and got a 6-6 draw with Van Gerwen in Cardiff and probably should have won the game. Thornton can do the same against Barney as he is eighth in the table, but he also won a Players Championship event in Wigan at the weekend and, as myself, Eric Bristow and Wayne Mardle were discussing on the golf course recently, he is one of the toughest players to play. Robert has got a lot of bottle and if you take him lightly he will beat you – and I think he might beat Barney. Barney was a little bit lucky against Chisnall and Wright last week as while he won both games they could have gone either way - and if Robert gets at him early he won’t let up, so I reckon the Scot will nick it.
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN v ADRIAN LEWIS
I think the crowd may play a big part in Aidy’s performances in Aberdeen as for some reason they tend to have a go at him, despite him being one of the nicest kids you will ever meet and not deserving it. The crowd will be against him in his match with Scottish player Anderson but if he beats him I think they will give him support against Van Gerwen. If he loses, however, I think he will be up against it crowd-wise against the Dutchman. This match, though, will be fast and furious as players with this ability feed off each other and if one starts hitting 180s, you know the other will. They don’t have time to think and stand back because as soon as they reach the end of the stage, they are throwing again. That will happen on Thursday – but I think Michael edge it.
Watch Premier League Darts, 7pm, Thursday, Sky Sports 1.