It was a very difficult opening week in the darts with some surprising results and performances. Clearly this is one of the hardest times of year to predict outcomes with a scarcity of form available to study since the World Championships. However, with The Masters and two Players Championship events sandwiching the opening week of the Premier League, we’re beginning to get an idea of who is playing well. This week I’m hoping to get closer to winning the £20,000 Pick 5 pool. Read on and, if you agree with my Premier League darts tips, then feel free to join my Syndicate.
Rob Cross vs. Nathan Aspinall
Former world champion Rob Cross encounters a man in form when he faces Nathan Aspinall in the evening’s opening contest.
Having convincingly beaten wildcard John Henderson 7-3 in front of the Scot’s home crowd in week one, he backed it up by winning the season’s second Players Championship event in unbelievable fashion.
The world number eight hit a nine-dart finish and managed an incredible 117.5 average in his 6-4 quarter-final win over Peter Wright. The match actually finished with a joint average of 115.59 from both players, the highest in PDC history. Eventually defeating Gerwyn Price in the final to claim his fourth tour win, Aspinall will be hugely confident going into this week’s fixture.
Rob Cross exited the event at the hands of a resurgent Gary Anderson in the fourth round, though did manage to see off Michael Smith in the match before. He drew with Gerwyn Price last week, with each of them surrendering a break of throw advantage at different points before settling for a stalemate.
At his best Cross would be clear favourite for this match but he isn’t at that level just yet. Though it isn’t inconceivable that Voltage suddenly puts in a huge performance and takes the win, I can’t oppose Nathan Aspinall in this form. For me it will be very close and the likely outcomes are either a draw or a narrow Aspinall win. I’ll take the draw.
Premier League Darts tips: Draw
Gerwyn Price vs. Michael Smith
On the face of it, Gerwyn Price is in pretty decent form. He reached the semi-final of the World Championships, drew with Rob Cross in week one of the Premier League and was a losing finalist to Nathan Aspinall in the Players Championship at the weekend. However, what are cosmetically decent tournament results could be masking some underlying signs of a dip in form.
Facing Simon Whitlock in the opening match of The Masters, Price soared to a 9-4 lead against the Australian and needed just another leg for victory. He then lost five straight legs to take the match into a decider, which he managed to hold his nerve in. The following night be was obliterated 10-2 by Gary Anderson.
It was a similar story against Cross, with Price taking a 4-2 advantage before losing four legs in a row. Again, he had to claw his way back for a point. Another defeat to Anderson in the Players Championship 1 followed and, although he did reach the final of the Players Championship 2, Michael Smith was the only player of note who he beat en route to the final where Aspinall schooled him.
Fortunately for Price, Smith’s recent form has been dreadful. He was humbled 7-3 by Glen Durrant last Thursday before losing final leg deciders to Rob Cross and Gerwyn Price in the Players Championship events. I actually tipped Durrant to beat Smith last week, primarily due to the fact that Smith seems to start every Premier League slowly before eventually clicking into gear.
These two players are evenly matched on their day but, on current form, Price probably has the edge. Don’t be surprised if he endures a mid-match wobble though.
Premier League Darts tips: Gerwyn Price
Gary Anderson vs. Peter Wright
Another very close looking game. World Champion Peter Wright should have seen off Michael van Gerwen last week and was left rueing some dreadful finishing that saw him hit just 5 of 14 game darts, leaving him with a checkout percentage of just 36%. You simply can’t afford that against Michael van Gerwen, even when he’s out of form, and Wright eventually lost 7-5.
I voiced my concerns over Gary Anderson’s continued back problem last week, yet he seemed in fine fettle overcoming Daryl Gurney 7-5 in a match that I had tipped the Northern Irishman to win. Both players were poor on the doubles though, with Gary Anderson’s 39% (7/18) checkout rate marginally beating Daryl Gurney’s 24% (5/21). However, it was scoring where Anderson impressed, throwing 29 100+ visits at a rate of 2.4 a leg.
Anderson will need to improve that finishing if he wants to beat Peter Wright, though the same can be said in reverse. However, impressive wins over Simon Whitlock, Gerwyn Price, Rob Cross, Joe Cullen and Adrian Lewis en route to winning the Players Championship 1 event suggest that Anderson is returning to his imperious best.
All five of those players are within the world’s top 20 and Anderson beat them by an aggregate scoreline of 31-11. Hugely impressive.
Peter Wright will be regarded as favourite for this one, deservedly so, and he remains in a bullish mood. However, on his day Gary Anderson is second only to Michael van Gerwen. His signs of resurgence are enough to convince me to get on board with The Flying Scotsman.
Premier League Darts tips: Gary Anderson
Glen Durrant vs. Fallon Sherrock
Week 2 has some fantastic clashes but none will be as eagerly anticipated as this one. Fallon Sherrock’s appearance is arguably the story of the opening two weeks, which demonstrates the impact of her history-making victories at the World Championships in December.
She makes her Premier League debut as a contender, last season’s rechristened wildcards, the guise under which Glen Durrant actually made his bow last year.
Fallon embraced the love she received from the Ally Pally crowd by beating Ted Evetts and world number 12 Mensur Suljovic. The victory over Suljovic, in particular, shows that she is capable of mixing it up with the top players in the world on her day, however Durrant is another big step up.
Durrant currently sits ten place below the Austrian in the Order of Merit, calculated on prize money over a rolling two year period. However, it is a false position owing to the fact that he has only been a full member of the PDC for one year. Were you to extrapolate his winnings over that extra year, he would be roughly level with Nathan Aspinall in 8th place.
He was extremely impressive in dispatching former World finalist Michael Smith last week, showing the absence of nerves you might expect from a three time BDO World Champion.
Sherrock will undoubtedly have the crowd cheering her on again here and will embrace it again. That will certainly be to her advantage and Durrant’s detriment. However, I tipped him to have a great season in the Premier League and, if he is to achieve that, he will view this as a must win game.
Premier League Darts tips: Glen Durrant
Daryl Gurney vs. Michael van Gerwen
Not an easy start to the 2020 Premier League for Daryl Gurney. He was extremely wasteful in losing to two-time World Champion Gary Anderson in week one and faces three time World Champion Michael van Gerwen in week two.
MVG rubbished talk of a crisis in his game after beating Peter Wright and he will be determined to put in another huge performance this week. A five time Premier League champion, including four in a row, van Gerwen adores the format which definitely suits his devastating game.
Predictably, MVG has dominated the head to head between the pair, winning 21 of their 28 encounters including three of the last four. He did bizarrely lose twice to Gurney in the Premier League last season before beating him in the semi-final, but that was a Gurney in superior form to now.
In honesty I can’t see anything but a routine win for the Dutchman so will take him to win by a few legs.
Premier League Darts tips: Michael van Gerwen
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