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Premier League Darts 2023: We profile Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price and the rest of the line-up

Newly-crowned world champion Michael Smith, six-time winner Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price and Peter Wright headline the 2023 Premier League Darts season, which begins at The SSE Arena in Belfast this Thursday - live on Sky Sports

Michael van Gerwen: Premier League Play-Offs at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin

Newly-crowned world champion Michael Smith and defending champion Michael van Gerwen headline the list of eight players set to feature in the 2023 Premier League Darts.

Reigning champion Van Gerwen will be chasing a record-breaking seventh Premier League crown in 2023.

Fresh from sealing his history-making maiden World Championship title at Alexandra Palace, Michael 'Bully Boy' Smith is back, with 2021 world champion Gerwyn Price also set to star alongside Peter Wright.

Meanwhile, Chris Dobey will be among the eight players competing after claiming his maiden PDC major title at the Masters, alongside Nathan Aspinall, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Jonny Clayton.

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Watch every nine-darter that has been hit in the Premier League

The individual knockout tournaments continue this year so, as we look ahead to what promises to be a fascinating 17 weeks of action, we have profiled the stars vying for one of the sport's most coveted titles...

Michael Smith

Michael Smith celebrates with the Sid Waddell trophy after winning the final of the Cazoo World Darts Championship against Michael van Gerwen at Alexandra Palace, London. Picture date: Tuesday January 3, 2023.
Image: Michael Smith claimed his maiden World Championship title at Alexandra Palace

PDC Order of Merit: 1st

PL Apps: 5

Last Year: 6th

PL Best: Runner-up (2018)

'Bully Boy' finally broke into the big time by winning his maiden World Championship title at Alexandra Palace which has seen him climb to world No 1.

The St Helens star - a finalist in 2018 - is one of the most prodigious talents in the sport, and given the way he has matured over the last 12 months, you feel a first Premier League title is now firmly on his radar.

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He landed his maiden TV nine-darter during the 2020 Premier League in Dublin against Daryl Gurney, but he will want to improve on last year's disappointing finish - securing his first and only Premier League win in Newcastle on the 16th and final night.

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Watch how Smith overcame several setbacks to become the world darts champion

Peter Wright

Peter Wright celebrates after winning against Jonny Clayton in the final during the 2022 Cazoo Premier League in Cardiff (Image credit: Steven Paston/PDC)
Image: Peter Wright has struggled to produce his brilliant best in the Premier League arena

PDC Order of Merit: 2nd

PL Apps: 9

Last Year: 5th

PL Best: Runner-Up (2017)

After landing multiple World Championship titles following his second triumph in three years at Alexandra Palace, Wright was unable to live up to the hype last year.

The colourful Scot is set to make his 10th consecutive Premier League appearance but he will want to land the big prize having lost out in such dramatic circumstances in 2017.

'Snakebite' has vowed to target the Premier League, having made just two play-off appearances in eight seasons - an underwhelming return for a player of his calibre.

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We look back at one of the most dramatic finals ever played in the tournament as Michael van Gerwen and Wright met at the O2 Arena

Michael van Gerwen

Michael van Gerwen at the World Darts Championship
Image: Van Gerwen topped the Premier League table in his first seven appearances

PDC Order of Merit: 3rd

PL Apps: 10

Last Year: Winner

PL Best: Winner (2013, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2022)

Beware of the wounded animal. Six-time winner Van Gerwen will be desperate to banish memories of a heart-breaking World Championship defeat to Michael Smith.

The three-time world champion equalled Phil Taylor's haul of six Premier League titles last year as well as collecting the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals titles, but the Dutchman will be targeting more silverware and complete domination.

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Take a look at all four of Van Gerwen’s Premier League whitewashes as some of the game’s greatest players have had no answer to the Dutchman

Gerwyn Price

Image: Gerwyn Price is bidding to reach the play-offs for the very first time

PDC Order of Merit: 4th

PL Apps: 4

Last Year: 7th

PL Best: 5th (2019, 2020)

'The Iceman' endured a nightmare campaign on debut in 2018, suffering elimination without a win to his name, before recording consecutive fifth-placed finishes in 2019 and 2020.

He did not fare any better last year with a disappointing seventh-placed finish but he did strike gold by landing two nine-darters on an incredible night in Belfast.

The Welshman will be desperate to bounce back from a shock World Championship quarter-final exit to Germany's Gabriel Clemens by attempting to feature in the play-off picture for the first time.

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Price hit two nine-dart finishes in one night in the Premier League in Belfast!

Jonny Clayton

Jonny Clayton during Day Nine of the 2023 Cazoo World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London on Friday 23rd December 2022.
Image: Jonny Clayton will be aiming to regain the trophy he won in 2021

PDC Order of Merit: 7th

PL Apps: 2

Last Year: Semi-finals

PL Best: Winner (2021)

'The Ferret' enjoyed a year to remember in 2021. The diminutive Welshman only qualified for the tournament by virtue of his victory at the season-opening Masters, before storming to Premier League glory on debut.

Clayton was beaten by Joe Cullen in the semi-finals of last year's tournament but the 48-year-old will be among the favourites once again and aiming to regain the trophy.

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Clayton beat Jose de Sousa to win the Premier League in his debut season

Nathan Aspinall

Image: Nathan Aspinall is a former UK Open winner and reached the Premier League final on debut in 2020

PDC Order of Merit: 9th

PL Apps: 2

Last Year: DNP

PL Best: Runner-Up (2020)

Aspinall - the runner-up to Glen Durrant on his debut in 2020 - will be making his third Premier League appearance after featuring in TV finals at the World Grand Prix and Grand Slam of Darts over recent months.

'The Asp', who is also a two-time World Championship semi-finalist, is already being regarded as a dark horse to win this year's event.

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The best of the action from the Premier League Play-Offs at the Ricoh Arena as Glen Durrant beat Aspinall to claim the title

Dimitri Van den Bergh

Dimitri Van den Bergh at the Premier League of Darts
Image: Dimitri Van den Bergh returns to the Premier League fold

PDC Order of Merit: 11th

PL Apps: 1

Last Year: DNP

PL Best: 5th (2020)

Van den Bergh also makes his return to the Premier League stage following a terrific 2022 campaign, which saw him win two World Series of Darts titles and reach Matchplay and World Championship semi-finals.

'The DreamMaker' brings his dancing feet back to the tournament, which is growing in popularity across Europe - especially in his homeland of Belgium.

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Dancing Van den Bergh shows his moves at Alexandra Palace

Chris Dobey

Chris Dobey win The Masters Darts
Image: Chris Dobey's victory at the Masters handed him a spot in this year's Premier League

PDC Order of Merit: 21st

PL Apps: 0

Last Year: DNP

PL Best: 0

Dobey's rise into the darting big-time will continue after his inclusion in this year's Premier League.

'Hollywood' previously featured in the Premier League as a Challenger in 2019 and 2020, but he will now compete full-time in the event over the next four months having lifted his first televised title at the Masters.

The 32-year-old beat Rob Cross in the final in Milton Keynes to land the £65,000 top prize and secure a spot in the eight-man tournament.

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Dobey shows us the kind of darts he will bring to this year's Premier League

2023 Premier League Schedule

Night 1 The SSE Arena, Belfast February 2
Night 2 Cardiff International Arena February 9
Night 3 OVO Hydro, Glasgow February 16
Night 4 3Arena, Dublin February 23
Night 5 Westpoint Exeter March 2
Night 6 The Brighton Centre March 9
Night 7 Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham March 16
Night 8 Utilita Arena, Newcastle March 23
Night 9 Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin March 30
Night 10 Utilita Arena, Birmingham April 6
Night 11 M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool April 13
Night 12 Rotterdam Ahoy April 20
Night 13 First Direct Arena, Leeds April 27
Night 14 AO Arena, Manchester May 4
Night 15 Utilita Arena, Sheffield May 11
Night 16 P&J Live, Aberdeen May 18
Play-Offs The O2, London May 25

Watch live coverage of the 2023 Premier League on Sky Sports - the action starts on Thursday, February 2 at The SSE Arena in Belfast.

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