PDC Darts: Pundits' predictions for PDC World Championship
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By Sky Sports Darts
Last Updated: 12/12/19 7:12pm
From winners to seeds to struggle, our illustrious team of pundits share their predictions as 96 players from across the globe descend on Alexandra Palace for the PDC World Championship.
Wayne Mardle: I cannot go against MVG. He's going to get number four and in about four years time he'll have reached number six and that's where he wants to be. He keeps saying: 'I know if I play well I will win and that for me is all I need to worry about'. We have to believe him because he's done it three times previously. I don't see any negatives.
Mark Webster: Van Gerwen. Everybody is talking about the fact he's not defended it but he's won it three times, the experience is there. I just expect him to rise to the challenge. If he doesn't go early it's hard to get rid of him because the format gets very long.
Colin Lloyd: Michael van Gerwen. He seems to have the bit between his teeth. I hope it ends up being an MVG vs Price final because I think that would be an absolute blinder. Michael has shown this year that he can get the job done without playing at his very best and he always gears himself up for the Worlds.
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Laura Turner: It's impossible to overlook Michael van Gerwen. He's world No 1, current holder of the title. I always find it hard to back against Michael because he's got that dogged determination but if not him then perhaps Gerwyn Price. He's had a fantastic year.
Keith Deller: Three players that stand out for me and that's Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross and Gerwyn Price. When you come to the biggest tournament in the world, players can't come into this tournament finding form. Rob Cross won the Matchplay and European Championship, Gerwyn retained the Grand Slam and Michael has won regularly. I can't see anyone out of those three winning to be honest.
PDC World Championship: Friday's order of play
|First Round||Jelle Klaasen vs Kevin Burness|
|Kim Huybrechts vs Geert Nentjes|
|Luke Humphries vs Devon Petersen|
|Second Round||Michael van Gerwen vs Klaasen/Burness|
|Sky Sports Darts, 7pm|
Rod Studd: Michael van Gerwen. It sounds obvious. He's won 15 titles this year. We remember at the World Matchplay that he had a dip in form but since then he's really picked up by winning four of the six TV titles since. If Michael van Gerwen brings his absolute A-game he will win. I think he's got a really good draw.
Nigel Pearson: Michael van Gerwen is the obvious answer. There's only two or three players who could threaten his world crown.
Rod Harrington: Michael van Gerwen is going to win it and on current form there's only Gerwyn Price that can stand toe-to-toe with him. I've got him playing Gerwyn in the final. It's great that Gerwyn Price has stepped up to the plate. I believe his professional rugby attitude has really helped him in darts. He doesn't doubt himself.
Stuart Pyke: I think Gerwyn Price is going to win it. He's the man of the moment, the only man that I think is now getting into Michael van Gerwen's head. I don't think he's worried about anybody else. It may be a predictable punt, but I think Van Gerwen vs Price is the final everybody wants to see.
David Croft: I'm going to go for Glen Durrant as a winner. I don't want to keep tipping Michael van Gerwen because eventually he is going to get beaten. Don't forget Van Gerwen has never won back-to-back World Championships. That says a lot about how much pressure he puts on himself. Glen Durrant deserves his place in the crème de la crème of world darts because he is that good.
Laura Woods: I can't see past Michael van Gerwen. I think that he has so much experience and confidence on that stage, he's made it his own. He doesn't get overawed by anything. I think a lot of his closest challengers are going to be more overawed by the occasion and that works against them.
The Dark Horses
Wayne Mardle: I fancy Harry Ward to beat Madars Razma and then beat Simon Whitlock, which would see him take over as 14th seed. I'm not sure he then goes on to have a run. I have predicted Dave Chisnall to do really well but I think Vincent van der Voort may be able to take care of him and take over his seed, but then I'm not sure he goes on a run.
Mark Webster: I expect Gabriel Clemens to do well. Chris Dobey can carry on his progress as well - he's looking the part. He could have beaten Gary Anderson last year so I expect those two to keep progressing I also expect Joe Cullen to come good this year.
Colin Lloyd: Someone who looks really calm and relaxed about his game which is really great to see because he's a fantastic player is Dave Chisnall. Wouldn't it be great if he did win this one? His first ever major win. He's lost in so many major finals so to get a breakthrough win with the World Championships would be brilliant.
PDC World Championship: Selected matches
|Saturday||Raymond van Barneveld v Darin Young|
|Saturday||Rob Cross (2) v Huybrechts/Nentjes|
|Sunday||Michael Smith (4) v Woodhouse/Lim|
|Monday||Gary Anderson (5) v Dolan/Kumar|
|Wednesday Dec 18||James Wade (8) v Edhouse/Koltsov|
|Thursday Dec 19||Dave Chisnall (10) v Van der Voort/Barry||Gerwyn Price (3) v O'Connor/Kantele|
|Friday Dec 20||Peter Wright (7) v Rodriguez/Malicdem||Nathan Aspinall (12) v Boulton/Baggish|
|Saturday Dec 21||Glen Durrant (27) v De Sousa/Heta||Daryl Gurney (6) v Pipe/Pratnemer|
Laura Turner: Damon Heta - the way he won the Brisbane Masters, beating Wade, Anderson, Whitlock and Cross. It's not exactly an easy run to winning your first PDC title. I'm also keen to see how Keane Barry gets on. He's having a really good season on both the BDO and JDC circuit. He just doesn't seem to have any nerves.
Keith Deller: Nathan Aspinall could have another good tournament. He's been unlucky in a lot of tournaments losing with 100 averages. Dave Chisnall seems a lot more relaxed and happy with the darts he's using. Gabriel Clemens could be a real dangerous player. On current form, I'd take Clemens to beat Benito van de Pas and then Max Hopp.
Rod Studd: Chris Dobey. Twice a semi-finalist this year at the World Grand Prix and Players Championship finals and last year he lost in an Ally Pally epic to Gary Anderson in the last 16 which was arguably the match of the tournament. He could possibly do a Nathan Aspinall. A lot of the younger guys have been inspired by Nathan's last year.
Nigel Pearson: I'm a big fan of Dave Chisnall and how he's only ranked 10 is beyond me. On his day, he's dangerous - but can he find his A-game when it really matters? Big scorer but needs to nail the finishing.
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Stuart Pyke: Michael Smith, simply because he's so unpredictable. He's got as much talent as the likes of Van Gerwen, Price and Wright. The question is going to remain until he wins a big one - mentally is he strong enough? I think last year he came alive at the World Championship and showed everybody what he could do, he missed darts to win every one of the last five sets against Van Gerwen - he was that close.
David Croft: I'm going to go for Dave Chisnall. For me Chisnall is the guy to look out for in the third quarter. Chizzy is playing better than he's ever played before and he has gone all the way to a World Championship final in the BDO and we shouldn't forget that.
Laura Woods: I'm not sure that Gerwyn Price qualifies as an outsider - He hasn't got a good record at Ally Pally. The crowd don't seem to be on his back as much as they used to, even though I think it galvanised him before. I think he's going to take a lot from back-to-back wins at Wolverhampton. He's going to walk on that stage feeling a lot less pressure and a bit more support.
Seeds to Struggle
Wayne Mardle: I don't like what I'm seeing with Rob Cross right now. If he plays well he reaches the final but he's not shown anything recently. I see Whitlock struggling. Even Price if he takes on William O'Connor. He's an Ian White type-character in respect of he doesn't do anything that spectacular but he's very very good and I just think Price might struggle. Ilagan or Reyes can oust Adrian Lewis.
Mark Webster: Dimitri [Van den Bergh} has not been playing very well this year. His draw is potentially Portela or Josh Payne. Dimitri normally plays well there but he's not been at his best and he's got a fair whack to defend so whether he'll be thinking about it is interesting.
Colin Lloyd: I'll be interested to see how Gary Anderson, Adrian Lewis and Rob Cross go. Gary has had a very indifferent year, partly due to his back injury. Adrian has shown flashes of what he can do this year but this is the big one. If the real Adrian Lewis stands up, he could be in for a good run. Rob Cross is defending the £400,000 he won for winning the title two years ago. Although you don't want to think about it, you can't help but think about it.
Laura Turner: Jonny Clayton has had a reasonable year but he's never got past that second round. Whether that's something that plays on your mind? He's got Ryan Joyce or Jan Dekker - funnily enough they were the two who faced the women in the first round last year. Max Hopp? A potential draw against Benito van de Pas or Gabriel Clemens and I thought Clemens was excellent at the Grand Slam.
Keith Deller: Adrian Lewis, Joe Cullen, Darren Webster and Jonny Clayton. I think those four players are playing nowhere near their best, I think all four are very inconsistent. Three of those are top 16 players but they haven't done much at all really this year. If I saw any of those going out early doors I wouldn't be surprised.
Rod Studd: Max Hopp is going to play either Benito van de Pas or Gabriel Clemens in what would be a Deutsche darting derby and that would be tough. Gary Anderson has looked a shadow of the player who reached successive finals between 2015 and 2017 and is likely to face Brendan Dolan. As daft as this may sound Gerwyn Price, who has been playing brilliantly, could have to play William O'Connor which is not to be confused as an easy match.
Nigel Pearson: Joe Cullen (15). If he meets James Wilson in Round 2 it could be a good old fashioned 'banana skin' tie.
Rod Harrington: Rob Cross needs to find his rhythm. He's defending an awful lot of money for the world rankings. It really does bring a different pressure. You're thinking if I don't win this, I'm going to slip down the rankings. Rob is lacking that leg-on-leg consistency and he needs to knuckle down because those little demons will come back like they do with everybody.
Stuart Pyke: I think the next 12 months will show us whether Gary Anderson has still got the hunger. I think the problems Anderson suffered after the World Championship last year - I don't think he's quite recovered from it mentally. It's a massive World Championship for him and there's the possibility he could roll up against an in-form Brendan Dolan - a player who will do everything in his power to slow things down.
David Croft: Daryl Gurney might struggle, I wouldn't want to be playing Justin Pipe, with Justin Pipe being in form. That has got banana skin written all over it for Daryl. I'm a massive admirer of Gary Anderson because I'd back his talent, but I wonder how match-sharp he is at the moment and his motivation as well. He hasn't had a year to me that says you'll back him with confidence.
Winner: Devon Petersen (if not him MvG or Gezzy)
Dark Horse: Devon Petersen
Seed to struggle: Jermaine Wattimena or Darren Webster
Most looking forward to: MVG v Klaasen. They have a history of not shaking hands which can make an already tense match even more tense.
Devon Petersen's predictions
Most looking forward to?
Wayne Mardle: The tournament as a whole. It's a bigger tournament than ever before, it's better because of the quality. I think it's going to be the best show that we've ever put on.
Mark Webster: I'm looking forward to seeing how Gerwyn Price does. I expect him to do well and potentially reach the final. He's only got past the last 64 once and then he ran into Van Gerwen in the last 16. He had chances to get ahead but I expect him to put it right this year. The draw has been kind to him as well. He's only got one game before Christmas which is a good scenario.
Colin Lloyd: I'm really looking forward to Barney playing Darin Young. Of course it's Raymond's last World Championship. Darin Young is a really solid player. One of the best players in America for years and years. If Raymond is off his game just a little bit, Darin is the sort of player that would jump in.
Laura Turner: I'm obviously intrigued to see how the women get on. You've got Mikuru [Suzuki] against James Richardson and Fallon [Sherrock] against Ted Evetts. From a very personal point of view they're the two games I'm most looking forward to. I'd love to see Fallon against Mensur Suljovic and Mikuru against John Henderson.
Keith Deller: I'm really looking forward to watching Gerwyn Price. The way he's playing at the moment - him and Michael are above everyone else. Without disrespecting any other tournament, everybody remembers world champions. I'm the perfect example of that 36 years ago. People remember that.
Rod Studd: Sharing a flat with Wayne Mardle (!) because he is stickler for absolute order and tidiness and I'm not. I really think Mardle could struggle to last the tournament in a flat with me. I'm looking forward to seeing him in turmoil as the tidiness factor drops from 10 to minus 10 very quickly. Never mind who is going to win the World Championship. How is Mardle going to cope in a flat with me?
Nigel Pearson: Monday December 30 and semi-finals night. If I was buying a ticket that's the one I'd go for. Two top games, four fantastic players.
Rod Harrington: The crowd. I love it. We have all different sportsmen, celebrities turn up and every single one cannot wait. I've already had text messages from golfers, cricketers because they love it. Ally Pally is one of the biggest shows - not just sporting shows, in London over Christmas and everybody loves it. The crowd make this World Championship.
Dave Clark's Ally Pally predictions
Winner: Michael van Gerwen. There are one or two obstacles in the way like Wade in the quarter-finals and maybe Anderson or Aspinall in the semi-finals but I think it will be Van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price in the final.
Darkhorse: Nathan Aspinall because he is a man who is oozing confidence right now. He’s played on the big stage before and he is used to the big occasion now. He’s a winner and he can cause some damage.
Seed to struggle: William O’Connor could push Gerwyn Price in the second round if he can make it through.
Most looking forward to: Barney. His career has mirrored mine. I’ve been there every step of the way since he joined the PDC. He’s a class act. When he won in 2007 it was one of the most magical moments of my career. I’ve seen every one of the 54 matches he has played at the PDC World Championship.
Stuart Pyke: This is bah humbug Stuart Pyke. I am desperately hoping that the Great British darting public can come up with a new song and that they will ditch that wretched "I don't want to go home", which is possibly the worst chant in the living memory of any sport anywhere in the world! Joking aside the audiences are fantastic, it really is a party atmosphere, the players love it and all of us are privileged to be there. It's one of the big sporting events of the year.
David Croft: It's such a complete contrast to the world of F1 - it's a beautiful reminder that sport can be simple. It is the most beautifully simplistic sport on the planet where within the space of three darts, one person's grip on the game can swing dramatically. It's proper pantomime. It has the razzmatazz and the drama to go with it and games swing back and forth throughout. Some of the greatest comebacks in world sport have happened up on the oche.
Laura Woods: The crowd I just adore. I absolutely love them. There's nothing in terms of a live event for me that matches it. It's so unique, so special. I get so much nostalgia when I go there. For me, Christmas doesn't really get going until the darts starts. The crowd are like an old friend that you haven't seen for ages and you just get this same feeling - you haven't seen each other for ages but you're still best mates.
All the action from Ally Pally gets underway on Friday with the first of 16 days of coverage live on Sky Sports Darts & Main Event from 7pm. If you are out and about you can follow with regular updates, clips, features and reports at skysports.com/darts, our app for mobile devices and our Twitter account @SkysSportsDarts