Wayne Mardle's predictions on this week's Premier League action from Belfast
Watch Premier League Darts live on Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Action from 7pm on Thursday
Last Updated: 05/04/19 11:25am
Premier League Darts is back on Thursday night, live on Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Action, featuring the headline clash between Rob Cross and Daryl Gurney. Wayne Mardle gazes into his crystal ball...
After the elimination of Raymond van Barneveld from the event in Rotterdam, the remaining eight players will now battle for places in the Play-Offs during the second half of the season.
Gurney will face Cross on his Belfast homecoming, while table-topper Michael van Gerwen faces Gerwyn Price with a 15-0 winning head-to-head record. Mensur Suljovic takes on James Wade and Michael Smith faces Peter Wright.
Wayne runs the rule over four titanic tungsten contests, live on Sky Sports Main Event & Sky Sports Action from 7pm.
Mardle in Rotterdam Part II
|Mardle's Verdict||Actual Result|
|6-6||Daryl Gurney vs Mensur Suljovic||7-3|
|7-4||Peter Wright vs Gerwyn Price||5-7|
|7-4||Rob Cross vs Jeffrey de Zwaan||7-4|
|4-7||Raymond van Barneveld vs Michael van Gerwen||1-7|
|7-5||James Wade vs Michael Smith||7-4|
Mensur Suljovic vs James Wade
Wade has only lost one of his last six matches and although I don't think he's playing some of the best darts I've ever seen him, he's certainly doing a hell of a lot right. Even his poor games are not that poor. He seems to be scoring that little bit better while his finishing has always been his strong point. He's setting up the two and three-dart combinations a lot better in my opinion.
Mensur is coming off a defeat [to Daryl Gurney] last week but before that he won three on the bounce. He is well within his rights to slow him down again, but I'm not sure it will work this time. This is a tough one to call for me because I feel that these two players are very, very similar.
At the moment, I think Wade has got the edge, even though Mensur beat him last time.
Wayne's score prediction: Wade to win 8-5
The whole league phase now favours Michael van Gerwen because of the format but it also means within a week or two you can claw back more legs if your legs difference is struggling. The format can dictate a lot here.
Michael Smith vs Peter Wright
I'm slightly surprised with the way Smith has played because I thought he would play better. He just hasn't played that well and even the games that he's won, I don't think he has felt that comfortable during them.
Last year he was winning matches 7-1 and 7-2, but nothing has come that easy for him this year. There's not that much consistency with his play, and with his results in this competition, and Wright is exactly the same - I cannot work him out.
I have no idea what is happening with Peter Wright. He looked to be getting back into form and then he played poorly and lost his last two, but I don't think this will be a draw because of the longer format.
Wayne's score prediction: Smith to win 8-5
Rob Cross vs Daryl Gurney
Gurney impressed me with the way he didn't get involved in anything last week in Rotterdam. He could so easily have though about Barney and just kind of played second fiddle to his moods and ways, but he just dismantled him. Daryl put his head down and got on with it.
I think Cross is the better player - I really do. I know Gurney has gone up to world No 3 and has won his last three matches, but Cross has a higher level more often.
There's nothing between them but Cross can play to his best more often than Gurney and while I expect Gurney to play well, I think Cross will win it - he's won five out of his last six going into this.
Wayne's score prediction: Cross to win 8-4
Michael van Gerwen vs Gerwyn Price
For as good as Gerwyn Price is, the stats are incredible. If you're going to have lost 15 out of 15 matches to someone, you would have said it's Michael van Gerwen. He's got close to him a couple of times and he probably should have beaten him in a European event a couple of weeks ago, but he didn't.
When you keep getting beat by the same person it can feel impossible. I know this after playing Phil Taylor 32 times in my career. You get to a point when you think "even if I play my best, I bet I don't win". Gerwyn Price has to be thinking "just see how it goes, play it out".
The longer the format, then the better player should win. I'm going for Van Gerwen to make it 16-0.
Having lost 16 times in a row to Jimmy Connors, Vitas Gerulaitis finally triumphed and offered his reason as to why he didn't lose: "Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row."
Can Price finally beat MVG?
I think Price can pull off a miracle win, I just don't think he will.
Wayne's score prediction: Van Gerwen to win 8-4
Wayne Mardle was speaking to Sky Sports' Raz Mirza. The Premier League continues as we head to the SSE Arena in Belfast on Thursday, April 4. You can also stay up to date with all the action by following us @SkySportsDarts and get all the latest news, previews and interviews www.skysports.com/darts