Wayne Mardle previews Premier League Darts in Rotterdam on Wednesday night
Last Updated: 18/04/18 10:49pm
Premier League Darts returns on Wednesday night, live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main Event, featuring Gary Anderson and Rob Cross. Wayne Mardle looks into his crystal ball...
The first of two nights in the Netherlands will see world champion Cross take on Daryl Gurney and Anderson playing Michael Smith, before Cross and Anderson clash in the final match of the night.
Michael van Gerwen tackles Peter Wright in a repeat of last year's final, and Raymond van Barneveld meets Simon Whitlock in the other tie.
Wayne runs the rule over five titanic tungsten contests, live on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm.
Michael Smith v Gary Anderson
Smith beat Anderson first time around but he's playing miles better now. Despite getting beat in the German Darts Open final against Max Hopp on Sunday, I do think this match is a hard one to call. Michael is so hard to beat now. He's just an excellent player, but Gary will want to exact revenge for defeat in their first meeting.
I think Gary gets his revenge purely because if they both play decent I think Gary is better and more proven. This will be a real tight one with Anderson breaking last leg to win 7-5.
Rob Cross v Daryl Gurney
Another close one for me. Cross ground Michael Smith down last week and I know it went to the last leg, but there was never a a moment when anyone thought he wasn't going to win that game. Gurney was a relentless beast against Barney. He didn't miss his doubles and his scoring was constant, so I'm having trouble deciding who is going to win this game.
I'm going to go for Cross to win 7-5 because he's won seven out of his last eight matches and he also has the highest double checkout percentage rate in the Premier League - that's brilliant form but Daryl Gurney hasn't been beaten for a long time. Between them this match is hard to predict.
Raymond van Barneveld v Simon Whitlock
Whitlock is playing better than Barney right now. The Dutchman put out a tweet last week saying sorry to all his followers for letting them down. He's got to get back on the horse and come out fighting this week. If he loses to Whitlock, he's got Michael van Gerwen the next day and he could easily become an also ran for the final run-in. If he can beat Whitlock then I believe he's back in the hunt for a play-off spot.
There is no excuse for last night! But after the big losses last couple of weeks I really wanted to turn up and when I lost to Daryl I felt that it was over.Saw my chances for Play Offs gone up in flames and felt so bad. Tried to fire up but couldn’t. I am sorry to disappoint you— Raymond v Barneveld (@Raybar180) April 13, 2018
This is a massive game for Barney and I'm going for the Dutchman to win it 7-5. He's got to prove to himself that he's still got the guts for it because he bowed out too easily last week.
Peter Wright v Michael van Gerwen
If they both play like they have for the duration of the Premier League then there is only going to be one winner. But we said that first time around and Peter Wright's only win up until last week was against Michael van Gerwen. Wright has got the game to beat absolutely anyone, but I just don't think he's playing particularly well at the moment. If he's off by five per cent then Van Gerwen will have him and he will have him good as well.
I'm going to go for a 7-4 win for Van Gerwen. He will get his revenge because I just think he is playing better than Peter. If he can get into Wright's ribs early then he might panic because he's not playing that great.
Rob Cross v Gary Anderson
I'm conflicted over this; I can't work this game out. Gary had won all their matches they had played together up until their last meeting. Rob looked a bit nervy and edgy in that game, and Gary seems to really bother him.
I don't know how to take this game, so I'm going for a 6-6 draw here. I think both players were so edgy in their first Premier League meeting and Cross felt like he had got away with the win and didn't put his demons to bed. It's a real tough night to call overall.
Wayne Mardle was speaking to Sky Sports' Raz Mirza. The 2018 Premier League heads to Rotterdam Ahoy for a darting double-header this Wednesday and Thursday for weeks 11 & 12. Coverage gets under way from 7pm on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Main Event on Wednesday, with Thursday's action under way from 7pm on Sky Sports Action
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Three weeks of tungsten action will then continue in Manchester, Birmingham, and Aberdeen through to the season's conclusion with the Play-Offs on May 17 at The O2 in London. Keep up to date with the latest darts news, previews, reports, reaction and expert analysis. Get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts- don't forget to use #LoveTheDarts