Wayne Mardle on Michael van Gerwen, Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson's Matchplay hopes
Last Updated: 17/07/16 7:54pm
Blackpool's Winter Gardens is the iconic venue for one of darts three majors and four of the sport's biggest names will all be bidding for the World Matchplay title.
Phil Taylor has reigned supreme winning an incredible 15 titles, and remarkably claiming every final he has ever reached on the Lancashire coast.
James Wade has reached six finals and won once, Adrian Lewis is yet to win while MVG has reached two finals winning his first title last year.
Gary Anderson, winner of the World Championship heads to the seaside seeking a first matchplay title that would complete a memorable triple crown. So who has the best chance of victory and who could fall early, we turned to Hawaii 501 for the lowdown......
World Matchplay Draw
|Michael van Gerwen (1)||v||Jamie Cavan|
|Vincent van der Voort (16)||v||Kyle Anderson|
|Robert Thornton (8)||v||Josh Payne|
|Dave Chisnall (9)||v||Benito van de Pas|
|Peter Wright (5)||v||Joe Cullen|
|Ian White (12)||v||Daryl Gurney|
|Adrian Lewis (4)||v||Mark Webster|
|Kim Huybrechts (13)||v||Gerwyn Price|
|Gary Anderson (2)||v||Alan Norris|
|Terry Jenkins (15)||v||Justin Pipe|
|Michael Smith (7)||v||Simon Whitlock|
|Jelle Klaasen (10)||v||Steve Beaton|
|James Wade (6)||v||Mervyn King|
|Raymond van Barneveld (11)||v||Brendan Dolan|
|Phil Taylor (3)||v||Robbie Green|
|Stephen Bunting (14)||v||Mensur Suljovic|
Tough for Taylor?
For me, of all the top four, Phil Taylor has the toughest draw. He's got Robbie Green, which he will be happy with, and I expect him to brush 'Kong' aside. But then he's got the winner of either Stephen Bunting or Mensur Suljovic. I think that will be a tough game. I know Bunting has not made the charge up the rankings like we thought he would. But he's feeling good and you can only take the man on his word.
After that, Phil would then have the winner of James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld in the quarter-finals. That's going to be really tough. The likelihood is that he would have to beat Gary Anderson in the semis to reach the final. That's probably the toughest he's ever had, because he's always been one and two seed and now he's No 3.
Can MVG rule again?
I've got to say, Michael van Gerwen drawing Jamie Caven is a nice opener for him. Then he will have Vincent van der Voort or Kyle Anderson in the second round. You have got to back him to win that as well and really Dave Chisnall, being the 8th seed - is the one he's got to stop. If he can, that puts him in the semi-finals, so Van Gerwen will be happy with his draw, I feel absolutely sure about that.
Could Anderson or Lewis land the title?
I think Gary Anderson will be happy as well. The only thing for him is - he's the mentor for Michael Smith and he's in the same section. Alan Norris is first up and I'm backing Gary to win that game.
I don't think Adrian Lewis will be too disappointed with his draw. First round opponent Mark Webster is out of form. But Peter Wright is the danger man in Adrian Lewis' quarter, because they are seeded four and five.
Will Wade reach another final?
James Wade has a horrible draw. Mervyn King first, 'Barney' second, maybe Taylor third, Anderson fourth game and Van Gerwen in the final. But never underestimate James Wade, especially at Blackpool, he's made the final six times. He didn't play well in last year's final, but he played well up to it. He likes the place and the format seems to suit him, because he nicks the odd leg and he's hard to break. He's a really tough competitor is James.
You can follow all the action across our digital platforms and on Sky Sports with the action getting underway on Saturday from 7pm and every night through to the final on Sunday July 24 #LoveTheDarts