I am not entirely surprised Wes Newton was relegated form this year's Premier League - but I am shocked Gary Anderson has been.
Newton, in his debut season in the competition, was always going to take time to get used to the big crowds, facing the best players in the world every week and not getting a break when he was on a bit of a downer.
You thought, though, that Anderson, who won the Premier League in 2011, would have forced his way clear of danger, due to his scoring power and ability to beat anybody on his day - but he is having a terrible time on his doubles.
I've watched so much darts over the last 20 years and it is incredible to see someone who can hit a treble 20 for fun - I remember watching him hit three 180s and nine 140s in 12 throws at Aberdeen when I was nicking some sandwiches from the Players' Room - but not hit a double.
Premier League Darts
Week 10 - Sheffield
7pm, Thu, Sky Sports 2 HD
Anderson is missing the bed by a long way and has a bit of negativity in his head, so he needs to sort that out himself or get a little bit of help from someone else.
However, I still think Gary will return to form and win more major titles because his scoring is devastating and not a lot of players can turn it on like him.
Anderson and Newton's relegation meant that Adrian Lewis and Simon Whitlock survived, and I think both might now free up and play some good darts - especially Lewis.
You can see in his face that has been trying so hard to turn his form around and it just hasn't worked, as proved last week in Brighton when he lost 7-2 to Raymond van Barneveld.
But with his place secure and little chance of making the play-offs, Aidy could relax, pepper the treble 20 and play the way that saw him win the big title twice at Alexandra Palace.
Here's my thoughts on this week's matches in Sheffield...
Robert Thornton v Simon Whitlock
If you went with the form book you would have to back Thornton all day long and the way he deposed of Phil Taylor last week was exceptional; I haven't seen a player get in front of Phil and not give him a chance to get back in very often, but Robert did that in the UK Open and again in Brighton. Whitlock, meanwhile, is on a bit of a downer but, like the rest of the players in this event, he can beat anybody on his day. However, I have go for Thornton to win.
Adrian Lewis v James Wade
Aidy has beaten Wade a few times at the World Championship but that will have no bearing on this game; a lot of pundits go on about how many times players have faced each other and how many times one has defeated the other - but it's not like Wade has lost four times to Lewis in the last two weeks! Wade has been very solid over the last few rounds and looks like the player that won majors a few years ago and the way he beat Michael van Gerwen in Glasgow was superb. I think he will beat Aidy, too.
Michael van Gerwen v Phil Taylor
A lot of people are talking more about Van Gerwen than Taylor at the moment and Phil, who has slipped out of the top four after losing to Thornton, will want to put the record straight, just as he did against Van Barneveld in Glasgow, and show he is still the governor. Van Gerwen misses doubles at times and if Phil gets ahead I think he will win this, but if he is a little bit edgy then Van Gerwen could come through quite comfortably. I reckon it will be a draw but will pick Phil as the most likely winner.
Andy Hamilton v Raymond van Barneveld
Hamilton is as solid as it gets and the double 16 has been getting him through so many games - but he will be facing a relaxed Barney who knows not to get frustrated now if things don't work out in the first two or three legs. I have to go for the Dutchman to win, but he knows that even if he is slightly off his game then Hamilton will get a result.
James Wade v Michael van Gerwen
Wade and Van Gerwen will pull double duty in Sheffield, but I don't think they will be negatively affected by playing twice in an evening as in our Euro Masters events guys can play three games in a day. I expect this to be the game of the night as you will see two guys at the top of their form who don't care what their opponents throw and just play the dartboard. I don't very often sit on the fence when it comes to results but I think it is too close to call. If you are betting on this you're are a very brave man or woman.
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Paul Curwen says...
i hope he does bounce back as in a sport where there's a lot of nasty players out for all they can get (taylor) gary is a nice pleasant lad who plays with a smile on his face win or lose.
Posted 18:12 11th April 2013
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