With just four weeks of Premier League darts remaining – plus the finals night in London – seven men retain hopes of reaching the top four ahead of the O2 showdown.
Phil Taylor has dragged himself into contention over recent weeks but it’s the two Dutchmen that continue to lead the way. The Premier League darts roadshow rolls into to Manchester this week. Here’s our verdict on tonight’s action.
Dutchmen win again
With three wins on the bounce, last Thursday was another great night for Raymond van Barneveld. Barney thrashed Robert Thornton 7-1 including checkouts of 97 and 135 but didn’t have to move out of second gear to record another win.
His third successive victory briefly took him to the top of the table on an exciting night in Aberdeen. “I know what Robert can do, I had a big task tonight,” he graciously said. “You have to perform well and it’s a fantastic feeling (to be top of the table).”
Barney takes on Adrian Lewis in Manchester. Lewis has struggled of late and hasn’t recorded a win in six matches. He lost 7-4 to both Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen last Thursday and has slipped out of play-off contention. Indeed, he was 6-0 down to Anderson in his opening match before bringing some respectability to the score. We’d be backing Barney here at 23/20.
Michael van Gerwen was beaten by Phil Taylor in Thursday’s big match but recovered to beat the out-of-form Lewis in his second match. It means that Mighty Mike remains top of the table with 18 points and the world champion faces Dave Chisnall in Thursday’s third match.
We tipped Chizzy at 9/5 to see off Peter Wright last week and he duly obliged, racing into a 4-0 lead before an 85 checkout in the final leg secured a 7-4 win. Chisnall has only lost one of his last five games and really needs a win to keep up the pressure on the players above him. It could be a close one and, with Chizzy having drawn four matches already in this year’s competition, the 6-6 tie could be the bet at 9/2.
Taylor and Anderson chasing a play-off place
With five wins and a draw in his last six Premier League matches, Phil Taylor has turned the corner after a poor start. He saw off world champion van Gerwen 7-4 last week, saying:
“He’s a hell of a player and put’s you under a hell of a lot of pressure. It’s not so much about revenge, it’s about getting the two points tonight. That top four at The O2, that’s what the plan is.”
The Power’s opponent on Thursday is Gary Anderson whose recent run of three wins out of four has carried him to fifth in the table. He’d leapfrog Taylor with a win in Manchester and so this could be the match of the evening. On current form Taylor is a justifiable 1/2 favourite.
Anderson’s second match of the evening is likely to be a more straightforward affair as he takes on Robert Thornton. Thornton has only won one match in the Premier League this season – and that in the third week – and averaged just 87 in his 7-1 defeat to Barney last time out. We fancy Anderson to cruise this one at 5/6.
The opening match of the night sees Peter Wright try to arrest his poor run. Having remained unbeaten for seven weeks of the season, Snakebite has lost four of his last five matches including his last three.
Wright is now in real danger of missing the play-offs but we fancy him to steady the ship with a win over the struggling Thornton in Thursday’s opening match at 10/11.
Wright v Thornton is the first match up at the Phones 4U Arena, Manchester on Thursday night. Let’s hope it’s another great night of darts! As ever, you bet on Premier League Darts with BetBright!