Wayne Mardle's predictions on this week's Premier League action from Liverpool
Last Updated: 11/04/19 10:03pm
Premier League Darts is back on Thursday night, live on Sky Sports Action, featuring the headline clash between Michael Smith and Michael van Gerwen. Wayne Mardle gazes into his crystal ball...
Eight players are battling it out for four places and there are only seven points separating top and bottom of the table with six weeks to go until the Play-Offs. Who will make it to London?
Table-topper Rob Cross takes on Peter Wright while Gerwyn Price faces third-placed Mensur Suljovic and James Wade takes on Daryl Gurney in the night's other matches.
Wayne runs the rule over four titanic tungsten contests, live on Sky Sports Action from 7pm.
Mardle in Belfast
|Mardle's Verdict||Actual Result|
|5-8||Mensur Suljovic vs James Wade||8-6|
|8-5||Michael Smith vs Peter Wright||7-7|
|8-4||Rob Cross vs Daryl Gurney||8-4|
|8-4||Michael van Gerwen vs Gerwyn Price||7-7|
Rob Cross vs Peter Wright
There's no doubt about it, Cross is the Premier League man of the moment. He's won six of his last seven and seven out of his last nine matches and is top of the table on points now, rather than leg difference. He's lost two, but he's winning and not drawing. Rob Cross for me is looking like the main challenger to Michael van Gerwen.
There was one that was going to come out of the pack but could he now go on and win the league phase? That would be some doing and he would be the third man in history to do it, with Phil Taylor and Van Gerwen having topped it in previous years. Michael has never not won the league phase.
I think this could be an annihilation.
Wayne Mardle on Cross vs Wright
I don't like the way Wright is playing. He has not won in his last five - all right, he has drawn three of them. But over the weekend he changed two sets of darts four times during a PDC Tour event. He's clearly not happy with what he's doing and what he's using.
Wayne's score prediction: Cross to win 8-3
Gerwyn Price vs Mensur Suljovic
Price is making big strides, bearing in mind this is a man that couldn't even compete last year - he just wasn't good enough. But with a couple more wins he could put himself in a good position for a Play-Off place. As the table stands, if he can beat Mesur, he may end up in the top four.
I personally think this will be really tight and I don't often predict a draw over this format which is now the best of 14 legs, but I am going for a draw in this one. I just feel that I can't call it.
Mardle is sitting on the fence
Mensur has been playing decent but he's not playing anywhere near his best. What he's doing now is managing to win the real scrappy ones, which is not really a trait of his. He's doing enough, but this is a big game for him because he could flip-flop in positions if it doesn't go his way.
Wayne's score prediction: Draw 7-7
James Wade vs Daryl Gurney
Wade is on a roll, isn't he? He won Players Championship Nine in Barnsley on Saturday where he whacked Michael Smith in the final and I've seen improvement in Smith's game of late, so Wade did well there.
There are horses and greyhounds that change their way of running. I think James Wade has changed his way of playing as in he used to be consistent, not do anything special, but now he seems to score a lot better. Instead of leaving your 81 or 121 between nine and 12 darts, he seems to now be leaving 41 and 61, so he's adding one more treble in there and that's why he's in the top four and why he's playing so well.
I'm liking what I see from Wade and I know Gurney has been doing well of late but I don't think he's played particularly brilliant.
Wayne's score prediction: Wade to win 8-5
Michael Smith vs Michael van Gerwen
I think I've seen improvement in Smith. This is one for the connoisseur, but it's the way he's throwing and not where they're actually going. I think he's throwing with that little bit more authority. He's not kind of looping the darts so much, he's throwing more accurately because of it.
I think this will be close. I always fancy Michael van Gerwen to win - I just cannot change my mind over that.
Van Gerwen breaks him in the last leg by hitting three 140s and taking out 81 in two darts with Smith sitting on 36 after hitting a 105.
Mardle predicts the future...again!
I expect this match to be nip and tuck but I also think this will be the match of the night.
Wayne's score prediction: Van Gerwen to win 8-6
Wayne Mardle was speaking to Sky Sports' Raz Mirza. The Premier League continues as we head to the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool on Thursday, April 11. 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