Premier League Darts: Wayne Mardle's predictions for Night Five in Exeter
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Last Updated: 05/03/20 10:11pm
Premier League Darts is back on our screens this Thursday night, live on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Mix. Luke Humphries is in action against two-time world champion Gary Anderson. Wayne Mardle looks into his crystal ball...
Two-time World Championship quarter-finalist Humphries takes on Anderson as the fifth Premier League challenger, while Rob Cross meets winless Daryl Gurney in the opening match of the night.
Gerwyn Price will face Glen Durrant, Nathan Aspinall comes up against world champion Peter Wright and league leader Michael van Gerwen plays Michael Smith following his nine-darter in Dublin.
Wayne runs the rule over five titanic tungsten contests, live on Sky Sports Action from 7pm.
How did Mardle fare in Dublin?
|Mardle's Verdict||Actual Result|
|6-6||Glen Durrant vs Nathan Aspinall||5-7|
|5-7||Rob Cross vs Gary Anderson||5-7|
|4-7||Daryl Gurney vs Michael Smith||5-7|
|4-7||William O'Connor vs Michael van Gerwen||4-7|
|4-7||Gerwyn Price vs Peter Wright||7-1|
Rob Cross vs Daryl Gurney
They're both off form. I would actually say Rob Cross looks like he's struggling more than Daryl. They're seventh and ninth in the table with the legs difference of Daryl. He's got to get some wins of probably 7-2, 7-3 to catapult him anywhere.
He's got to be careful here Rob Cross.
I really do believe the next two weeks could be make or break for Rob Cross because he's playing the man that's bottom and then he's playing a challenger in Bunting the week after.
The pressure is on for Cross
He's playing better than Daryl but I would say they're both struggling, they really are. Daryl has played one good game and he got a point from that and possibly could have won. He'll feel like he needs to improve, last week was not good for him.
I'm going for a Rob Cross win for one reason. Neither of them inspire right now but if you're looking for someone to nick a win it would be Rob Cross.
Wayne's score prediction: Cross to win 7-5
Gerwyn Price vs Glen Durrant
It's five finals in 10 events (for Price), that's as good as anyone. He's won back to back titles as well, he's the only unbeaten man in the field. Okay he's drawn three and won one but he's still unbeaten.
He should never have got a draw against Smith, that's the one that lives long in the memory for me. Smith was averaging 115/116 and Price found a way to not believe that Smith was going to carry on when it looked like for the world he was going to. He just hung in and believed in himself.
To bet against him, it's silly to do so for me unless he's playing Van Gerwen because right now he's playing some inspired stuff whereas Durrant on the other hand suffered his first defeat last week to Aspinall.
Mardle backs in-form Price
Last week he annihilated Peter Wright. Nobody knew Peter Wright was going to play that bad but he came out firing on all cylinders.
He's doing okay (Durrant), he's difficult to beat we know that but he's got to play better if he's going to beat Price. I just think that Price's all-round game, and I say this every week to someone who is playing Durrant, they're more dynamic than he is and it's that dynamic play that beat Glen Durrant last week. I think Price is more likely to do something special than Durrant.
Wayne's score prediction: Price to win 7-4
Nathan Aspinall vs Peter Wright
He just had one of those weeks (Peter). I feel like Peter's not going to dwell on it. He's had one win and that was against Rob Cross. Whilst his stats are not jumping off the page, for the first six or seven legs against Rob Cross he was mesmeric, he was playing brilliant and just fell asleep.
I think this is a really hard game to call. What I really liked about Aspinall last week, I chatted to him backstage and I said 'well done mate, that was a good win, hard fought' and he said 'that was absolutely rubbish'.
Nathan Aspinall, he's got it, he really has. I've actually labelled 'it' - immense talent. That's what 'it' is. He's got it.
Mardle: Aspinall has 'it'
I went 'look it's difficult to win on the Premier League stage when you feel like you've played that bad' and he went 'I know, I know but I expect to win and play better than that'. I'm thinking wow, you're a young man new to the Premier League and he's already got that attitude and mentality.
That will stand him in good stead. He's certainly not cocky or getting carried away but he says how he feels. I think Peter Wright wins this game last leg but I think Aspinall could well challenge for a playoff spot. There aren't many weaknesses in his game, he's got that composure under pressure and he's a real good watch.
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Wayne's score prediction: Wright to win 7-5 (check with Paul)
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Gary Anderson vs Luke Humphries
I'm going to be honest, he (Humphries) underwhelms quite a lot off the main stage. He's got to put that right otherwise he'll find himself not making the main stage. When he plays on it, he's a young man on the up, quarter-finals at the last two world championships, world youth champion at a canter. He relishes the big stage.
There aren't many negatives until you look at what he's done apart from the world championships, he's got to start doing more.
There's something about Gary's game. He looks rhythmic, comfortable and then he'll throw two or three darts that are just ugly, awful and then he'll get 180, 140, hit a pressure double last dart and then he's back up and running again.
Anderson looking for consistency
I don't think he beats Anderson. I'm not sure if he's feeling as composed as he looks. I know Gary's game quite well and it revolves around his fingers, if he can release the dart relaxed enough they go in so consistently and so well.
He won last week without doing an awful lot brilliant, there was a real bad leg he won there, it was a 24-dart leg won with and 84 finish, that shows you how bad the scoring was. In between all that, he's having 12, 13 and 14 dart legs no problem. I think Humphries will struggle to just keep with him.
Wayne's score prediction: Anderson to win 7-4
Michael Smith vs Michael van Gerwen
Michael Smith is getting back to somewhere near his best. He beat Michael at the weekend playing some real quality matches, not just spells like he normally does. He didn't play well last week but he hit the nine-darter. I spoke to him the second he came off and he said 'I couldn't play after the nine, I just wanted to get off, I couldn't relax'. He did well to win the game but if you're looking on past Premier League performances you would not be backing Michael Smith against Michael van Gerwen.
Van Gerwen, he's playing well with little reward right now. He's not making the game that easy for himself for whatever reason, I think the players are playing well against him. When Gerwyn Price beat him in the final last week he took out a 94. The week before that he lost to an inspired Ryan Searle.
I don't think his scoring is as good as it could be, he's hitting two many treble-less visits. His finishing at 54 per cent, that's just outrageous.
I said if Michael Smith can improve on last year's doubling percentage he'll be right up there. It was 37 percent last year and it's 45 this year and he's already in a decent spot. I don't see Smith being outplayed by anybody.
This will definitely be the game of the night.
Mardle expecting fireworks
Wayne's score prediction: Van Gerwen to win 7-5
Coverage of the Premier League continues on Thursday, March 5 in Exeter at 7pm on Sky Sports Action with Luke Humphries taking on Gary Anderson. Don't forget, the Premier League is on every Thursday all the way through until the Play-Offs in London on May 21.