Wayne Mardle previews Premier League Darts in Manchester on Thursday
Last Updated: 28/04/18 1:18pm
Premier League Darts returns on Thursday night, live on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Main Event, featuring a double dose of Michael van Gerwen. Wayne Mardle looks into his crystal ball...
The annual visit to Manchester sees Van Gerwen play twice as he meets Daryl Gurney and Michael Smith, who opens up the night against Peter Wright.
World champion Rob Cross will play Raymond van Barneveld, while Gary Anderson takes on Simon Whitlock.
Wayne runs the rule over five titanic tungsten contests, live on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm.
Peter Wright v Michael Smith
If Smith goes ahead and wins then the others behind him in the table are basically dead in the water. Wright won't be able to catch Smith so that would be the end of his campaign, but they're still playing for places and money. Smith has really inflicted some hidings on players in this Premier League with big wins over Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld. It's hard to say what the results are going to be after Michael van Gerwen gets beat twice in two nights, like he did in Rotterdam.
It's a hard game to call, but I think that Michael Smith is playing more dangerous darts than Peter Wright. I think he can break at any time and I think he's holding it together really well. Wright has lost that consistency which is why he's in the position that he's in. I'm going for Smith to get his ninth Premier League win 7-4 on the pure premise that he's full of confidence.
Daryl Gurney v Michael van Gerwen
I can't predict Van Gerwen to lose, I just can't. I think he rewrites the record book and doesn't lose again. Gurney is playing as well as anyone, we know that, but I think Van Gerwen just ploughs on in the Premier League. He's top of the table, but only by a point from Gary Anderson and Rob Cross, so it's kind of a big night for him.
I think Van Gerwen gets off to a winning start and wins this 7-4, but it will be a close game.
Simon Whitlock v Gary Anderson
I think Simon looks beaten. He's got some real, real big hidings the last few weeks and he's just not giving much of a resistance. I think the start he got off to was obviously what he wanted but I'm not sure he feels he could have carried that on. He's won four Premier League matches and only won once since week four in Cardiff so he's struggled with consistency. He's had too many averages in the 80s and is up against Anderson who is in probably the best form of anyone at the moment. I really don't see Whitlock winning any more than two legs.
Gary Anderson will just absolutely rout Whitlock 7-2. He's looking like the Anderson who won the Premier League in 2015. He's looking like that man averaging over 100 and it looks mediocre.
Raymond van Barneveld v Rob Cross
Barney has got to be thinking 'just do my job and see how it goes'. A place in the play-offs is unlikely, and he's up against Cross, who on the big stage of the Premier League seems to play better than he does at the weekends. Maybe it's the one game or two maximum format that just seems to suit him. I don't like to predict that Cross is actually going to get beat because he's got a habit of making life so difficult for opponents.
I've been tipping Barney for a draw the last few weeks and I just can't seem to get away from that thought. I'm going to suggest a 6-6 draw here because I just can't divide them. I think their game is so similar, which is built around keeping straight and being efficient on doubles. It's looking like a last-leg decider and maybe it's not decided because it's a draw.
Michael Smith v Michael van Gerwen
If Smith does lose to Peter Wright, which I've already said I don't think he does, this could be the little panic station if results go against him. He's already done so much work to put himself in fourth spot and give himself that leeway, but if the results go against him then he could find himself just one point in front of the chasing pack. In an ideal world Smith would like to have a bit of daylight created by his own excellence.
I don't think Smith beats Michael van Gerwen. I think he takes two points from the night and that's from beating Peter Wright in the opening match. Smith gets nothing from Van Gerwen and loses 7-3.
Wayne Mardle was speaking to Sky Sports' Raz Mirza. The 2018 Premier League will be back for more action on Thursday as we head to the Manchester Arena for week 13. Coverage gets under way from 7pm on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Main Event. Two weeks of tungsten action will then continue in Birmingham, and Aberdeen through to the season's conclusion with the Play-Offs on May 17 at The O2 in London.
Night 13 - April 26 at The Manchester Arena
|Peter Wright||v||Michael Smith|
|Daryl Gurney||v||Michael van Gerwen|
|Simon Whitlock||v||Gary Anderson|
|Raymond van Barneveld||v||Rob Cross|
|Michael Smith||v||Michael van Gerwen|
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