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Love The Darts podcast: Key questions ahead of World Grand Prix with Michael van Gerwen aiming to defend his title

Michael van Gerwen might be the defending champion, but he will face a stern test with Gerwyn Price and Michael Smith in the mix We're back for the double in, double out World Grand Prix Darts at the Morningside Arena in Leicester from 2-8 October - live on Sky Sports

Michael van Gerwen with his trophy during Day Seven of the BoyleSports World Grand Prix at the Morningside Arena, Leicester, on Sunday 9th October 2022.
Image: Michael van Gerwen will be aiming to land an unprecedented seventh World Grand Prix draw

Matthew Edgar and Michael Bridge join Love The Darts podcast host Emma Paton to discuss the key questions ahead of the World Grand Prix as Michael van Gerwen aims to defend his title.

Van Gerwen will begin the defence of his title against Josh Rock in a mouth-watering first-round tussle, with World Champion Michael Smith, 2020 champion Gerwyn Price and third seed Peter Wright all in the mix.

Can Gary Anderson - a World Grand Prix runner-up in 2016 - turn back the clock? Edgar and Bridge sit down in the studio to discuss the key questions...

Get ready for the MVG-Price show

Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price
Image: Van Gerwen and Price could face each other quite a bit over the next few months

Edgar is convinced we will see another Van Gerwen-Gerwyn Price show heading into the tail end of the season, with the Dutchman his clear favourite to lift another Grand Prix title.

"We go into next year with Michael van Gerwen as world No 1 and as we go into busy season I see only Van Gerwen and Price as winners of this tournament," he said.

"I can't see who will be an outsider, who's going to win what game, never mind the tournament and then you put the double start in and it's going to be a really tricky one to pick things apart."

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Josh Rock stunned MVG with this nine-darter at the Grand Slam of Darts last year

With MVG up against Josh Rock first, Bridge believes an upset could be on the cards.

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He said: "This is probably one tournament where you can get at the top seeds very early, but Van Gerwen knows Rock very well. It would be a huge statement if Rock was to win this match and this is the tournament where you see seeds crash out early on. It's a great tournament and a very open one.

"You could toss a coin at so many of these games, which is brilliant for darts. It has turned into golf where you could pick up to 14 players and make a really good case as to why he would win this one."

Does Michael Smith need a good run?

Photos from the Premier League event at the First Direct Arena, Leeds on Thursday 27th April 2023.
Image: Michael Smith does not have the best record at the World Grand Prix

"Smith has played in this event 10 times and he's only won two matches. He's got a terrible record," said 'Prime Time' Edgar.

"However, his opponent Callan Rydz will probably just really enjoy this experience. He's playing somebody who would be a massive scalp and a big story to beat the world No 1 and world champion, and Smith is someone who clearly hates this format."

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Watch how Wayne Mardle and Stuart Pyke reacted to the sensational leg between MVG and Smith in the World Championship Final that culminated in a nine-darter for Bully Boy

Can Danny Noppert test Price at all?

Gerwyn Price at the World Matchplay
Image: Gerwyn Price will be favourite to advance past Dutchman Danny Noppert

"He can but he's been dropping form massively over the last couple of years," said Edgar. "He's been dropping about two points off his average since his peak a couple of years ago.

"Noppert has made an upward trend but it's also very alarming how quick he's coming back down the other side. I just don't see anything other than a Gerwyn Price win in this one."

Are there shocks anymore?

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Enjoy the best moments from the World Grand Prix, from the first 9 darter, Andy Callaby beating Phil Taylor and MVG’s first TV title win

"I don't know what it is. Is it if you start poorly then the non-seeds smell blood? I'm genuinely not shocked when I see big names go out in such an unforgiving format in terms of the first round," said Bridge. "But are there shocks in the first round? I don't know."

"I think we've seen the days of shocks go when Phil Taylor lost to Andy Callaby all those years ago and when Kevin Painter first burst on the scene, he also beat Taylor," Edgar said. "We've seen it with Van Gerwen and Smith in recent years.

"We look at Dave Chisnall, who has made the final in this event. He either goes deep or he goes out in the first round. It will probably be the case with a lot of seeds."

Where is Peter Wright at?

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On the latest episode of Love The Darts, Michael Bridge and Matthew Edgar give their predictions for the World Grand Prix

"I don't even know Wright knows where he's at," quipped Edgar. "I've always backed Peter Wright but we've seen him change his throw, we've seen him change his darts in between matches and shots as times and I just think it's become a little too common.

"Saying that, this is still Peter Wright and it wouldn't surprise me if he wins the tournament. This is the sort of tournament that suits him because you don't have to rely on rhythm, but saying that his form is not there."

What about Gary Anderson's chances?

Gary Anderson - Darts
Image: Gary Anderson ticks all the boxes to cause a surprise or two in Leicester

"He's playing more darts than ever and he's got the best win rate since 2018 when he won the World Matchplay, the UK Open and the World Cup so he can be a really serious contender here," feels Edgar. "The numbers and the stats certainly support a case for Anderson.

"He has reached the final here before so the format is not a problem. He ticks all the boxes as a surprise package."

We're back for the double in, double out World Grand Prix Darts at the Morningside Arena in Leicester from 2-8 October - live on Sky Sports. Stream all your favourite sports with NOW

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