Wayne Mardle previews Premier League Darts Judgement Night in Liverpool
Last Updated: 05/04/18 11:29pm
Premier League Darts returns on Thursday night, live on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Mix, featuring Mensur Suljovic and Peter Wright, who will battle for survival on Judgement Night. Wayne Mardle looks into his crystal ball...
It's crunch time as the bottom two players in the league table will be eliminated, with the remaining eight stars then competing for spots in May's Play-Offs.
Mensur Suljovic or Peter Wright will follow Gerwyn Price out of the competition. Snakebite goes up against Daryl Gurney while the Austrian faces the daunting task of taking on world No 1 and defending Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen.
Already eliminated Price faces Aussie hope Simon Whitlock. In the other matches, Gary Anderson takes on Rob Cross while Raymond van Barneveld battles Michael Smith.
Wayne runs the rule over five titanic tungsten contests, live on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Mix from 7pm.
Gary Anderson v Rob Cross
The PDC Tour events can be a bit of a confidence booster and I try not to look too much into it. Cross didn't play well at all at the German Grand Prix in Munich. He didn't look particularly sharp, but I'm assuming he will be better for Gary, and he will need to play better. While not playing at his brilliant best, Gary has been difficult to beat.
I'm going for an Anderson win purely because the weekend performance bothered me about Cross. He was just way off the mark. Gary has said 'it's going in the right direction' for him and he's feeling good, so I'm going for Anderson to win 7-4.
Daryl Gurney v Peter Wright
Wright looked brilliant at the weekend and his 120 checkout in Belfast against Simon Whitlock led him to win the point that might be enough to avoid elimination. The weekend performance was another step in the right direction, reaching the final of the German Grand Prix.
I think this could be a close game because Gurney is without doubt the real deal. This is too close to call which is why I fancy the draw here - 6-6.
Mensur Suljovic v Michael van Gerwen
I don't think Mensur will upset Van Gerwen - of course he can. I just think that Van Gerwen has got it, hasn't he? He's an absolute relentless machine. He's going to have to have a poor day at the office, which for him is a three-dart average of 100. Mensur has still got to somehow find a point maybe - if Gurney does a job on Wright - or a win. I don't see him getting either result. Suljovic is throwing first in this match and as silly as it sounds I think the first leg could be key in whether or not he goes on to get one point or two. We all know how quick Michael comes out of the blocks.
Mensur will not get anything from Van Gerwen. Michael just continues to play brilliantly and puts you under so much pressure. Mensur is trying not to be eliminated. He's got all that going on in his mind, so there's a lot to take in. Of all the people he's got to play, it's Michael van Gerwen. The Dutchman will win this cosily, 7-3.
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael Smith
I think the odds are generous for Van Barneveld, I really do. I thought he played excellent last week against Michael van Gerwen, but he just missed too many darts at doubles. I think Raymond is playing better than Smith and the averages say that, as do the recent performances, but Michael Smith is proving difficult to beat.
I think Raymond breaks early and holds out win this 7-5.
Simon Whitlock v Gerwyn Price
I don't know what to expect from Price because I don't believe in this 'he's out, so relax' lark. I think that the pressure is on him a little bit to perform, but I'm not sure if he will have the fight. We've seen players eliminated before - like in Gerwyn Price's position - and come out all guns blazing, while some have not played at all. I just think Whitlock is playing so much better than Price. He's got a bit of confidence, while Price has eluded to the fact that he can't wait for the end of the Premier League. Well, Thursday is the end of his Premier League for him.
I feel sure that Simon at just a tad of odds-on is a good bet. I fancy him to do a job on Price, which is why I'm going for a 7-4 win.
Wayne Mardle was speaking to Sky Sports' Raz Mirza. The 2018 Premier League heads to the Echo Arena in Liverpool for Judgement Night on Thursday, with coverage underway from 7pm on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Mix, which you can find on channel 287, and is free for all Sky customers. Six weeks of tungsten action will then continue through to the season's conclusion with the Play-Offs on May 17 at The O2 in London.
Darts updates straight to your phone
How to receive all the latest darts news straight to your mobile
Keep up to date with the latest darts news, previews, reports, reaction and expert analysis. Get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts- don't forget to use #LoveTheDarts