Premier League season reaches a climax as finals night arrives.
The 2014 Premier League reaches a climax this Thursday as the four remaining men compete in the play-offs for the title and the £150,000 prize.
With three former Premier League winners among the line-up it promises to be a brilliant night of darts at the O2 Arena. Keep reading for our final darts preview of the season for this week’s play-off action.
Reigning champion looking to retain title
It’s been a comfortable season for reigning champion Michael van Gerwen who qualified for the play-offs three weeks ago. The Dutchman has lost just three matches this season and arrives at the O2 as the 6/5 favourite.
Mighty Mike was in imperious form last week, averaging 110 in his 7-5 win over Peter Wright. After the match, the world champion said: “I’m very proud of myself (for finishing top) because that’s not easy to do.”
While topping the table should arguably give van Gerwen an easier draw, he will actually face the form player in this season’s competition.
Gary Anderson secured his play-off berth with a win over Raymond van Barneveld last week and is a 6/1 outsider to win the title this Thursday. The Flying Scotsman is in great form and hasn’t lost in the second half of the season, amassing more points in the last seven weeks than any other competitor.
Anderson has now won five and drawn two of his last seven matches although he was critical of his finishing in Brighton. “It was nice to get that one over to be quite honest,” he said. “My scoring was great but my doubles were absolutely terrible.”
Van Gerwen is a clear favourite for this match but Anderson is a previous Premier League champion and a dangerous competitor on current form. This may be closer than expected.
Two greats of the game meet in the second semi-final
There’s a mouthwatering tie to look forward to in the second semi-final at the O2 Arena this Thursday. It’s a repeat of the 2007 and 2009 PDC final as Phil Taylor takes on Raymond van Barneveld.
Barney has been tough to beat this season, only losing three matches along the way. He has been in the top four since week three and secured his play-off place a couple of weeks ago. So, why is he the 7/1 outsider this week?
Well, it could be because he’s never got past the semi-final stage of the Premier League in nine attempts, or because he faces his old adversary Phil Taylor in the semi-finals.
After a tricky start to this campaign – the Power lost four of his first five matches – he has steadied the ship and secured his place in the showpiece event with a 7-5 win over Robert Thornton.
The six time Premier League champion said: “Next week’s going to be another ding-dong. It’s been the best Premier League I’ve ever played in. I’ve got a chance to win it. This is the second tournament to the World Championship – that’s how much it means to everybody.”
The two Premier League matches between the pair this season have finished in a 6-6 tie and so this could be another classic encounter between two old rivals. We fancy Taylor to nick a narrow win and then avenge his 7-0 humiliation at the hands of van Gerwen in the opening week of the league by winning his seventh Premier League title.
The play-offs kick off tomorrow night in London’s 02 with van Gerwen against Anderson first up at the oche. The crowd are sure to lift the roof off the place as we’ve beomce accustomed to at this great finals venue!
Here’s all our odds for the PDC Premier League Darts Final – Bet Now