Night Two of the Premier League Darts and the event is held in Liverpool. Last week the home support failed to get Jonny Clayton over the line and it was Peter Wright who was triumphant. Our darts expert is back to run his eye over the opening four matches and pick out a potential outright bet for the night.
The Premier League Darts League starts on February 3
Peter Wright vs Michael Van Gerwen
This match features the current best player in the world and I’m not referring to the Green Machine that is Michael Van Gerwen, I’m referring to ‘Snakebite’ Peter Wright who is just in scintillating form at the moment.
He won the Players Championship Finals then the World Championships at the end of 2021 and has begun 2022 by winning the opening week of the Premier League and Players Championship Two at the weekend.
He has this knack of being able to up his game when it’s most needed and this was best demonstrated in last week’s final where he walloped home favourite Jonny Clayton 6-1 and averaged 113.02.
Van Gerwen on the other hand this year has lost in the Quarter-Finals of The Masters, surviving five match darts to win his opening match. He then lost his opening Premier League game last week to Gary Anderson and exited both the opening Players Championship event at the weekend at the Last 32 stage; he just isn’t firing on all cylinders at the moment.
Whilst it would be folly to suggest that Van Gerwen can’t win this game, the sensible option is to favour Wright. His confidence is sky high, he’s producing the better darts of the two at the moment, he’s the bigger 180 hitter also and on top of this his timing is on point also. I can’t predict anything other than a victory for him here.
Prediction: Peter Wright to Win
Jonny Clayton vs Michael Smith
For once there should be vociferous support for Price from the crowd instead of the pantomime boo’s he’s often on the end of. He played well the weekend but once again came up short against his compatriot Jonny Clayton 10-8.
The best player in the World was an accolade you would have associated with defending Premier League champion Jonny Clayton until recently. This was recognised by his fellow pro’s for his performances last year too as he was voted Players Player of the Year in 2021.
He didn’t defend his Masters title in the opening event of the year but he performed excellently, averaged over 100 for the event and lost in the Semi-Final to a ruthless Dave Chisnall.
He backed this up by reaching the final of the opening Premier League event last week, finding only World Champion, Peter Wright too good. He will have been disappointed to have exited in the opening round of Players Championship Two but did reach the Quarter-Finals the day before.
Michael Smith also exited Players Championship Two in the opening round but he won’t be as happy as Clayton coming into this. He was poor in the Premier League last week in losing to Peter Wright and failing to register a 180.
These pair actually clashed in the recent World Championship, a match that has since been voted Match of The Year for 2021. Both those players came into that match in red hot form and despite Clayton playing well, Smith hasn’t been as good over the past week.
Smith is very much a confidence player and if he finds his groove he just peppers the red bit. I think the speed of the match will suit both and could serve us up another classic, albeit over a much shorter distance. I believe Clayton will get the better of the two on this occasion but go for both players to notch a couple of 180’s apiece.
Prediction: Gerwyn Price to Win
James Wade vs Joe Cullen
James Wade continues to win games you don’t always expect him too and he remains outsider of these eight to win this title.
He reached the Semi-Final of the World Championships despite not playing great and last week defeated Gerwyn Price in the opening round in what wasn’t a great match. He did however finish well, notching three ton plus outshots. Just so typical of ‘The Machine’. He came up short in his next match against Jonny Clayton, this time from a winning position, with a match average in that one of just 91.45. He didn’t enjoy a great weekend either but if anyone can bounce back then its James.
Joe Cullen on the other hand has been playing superbly. He won The Masters, the opening event of the calendar in fine fashion, then played well albeit in defeat to Jonny Clayton in his opening Premier League match despite hammering in five maximums. His finishing however left a lot to be desired, hitting just two of his nineteen attempts at the double.
Cullen did OK the weekend albeit the way he’s playing a Quarter-Final and Last 64 exit probably represent a poor return for him on results alone. He continued to play well however and there’s no doubt he’s performing the better of these two. My concern would be his poor doubling on his Premier League Debut, at this level you’ll get found out and if he replicates that it will be another defeat on his record.
Although the ‘The Rockstar’ is in better form and will no doubt hit the most 180’s I think Wade could demonstrate to Cullen what needs to be done to pick up points in this competition.
Prediction: Joe Cullen to Hit the Most 180’s
Gerwyn Price vs Gary Anderson
A repeat of the 2021 World Championship Final but it’s safe to say World Number One, Gerwyn Price hasn’t quite hit the ground running yet this year.
He was eliminated in the Quarter Final of the Masters to his Welsh compatriot, Jonny Clayton despite racing into a 4-1 lead. He then followed this up with a very under par display against James Wade last week, losing 6-3 and averaging just 89.12.
He then lost in the Last 64 at Players Championship One before finishing Runner-Up to Peter Wright in Players Championship Two. He seemed to get better and he amassed five 100+ averages of the weekend, only Peter Wright managed more with seven.
Gary Anderson looked good in the Semi-Final versus Peter Wright in the opening set of Premier League fixtures averaging 99.98 in defeat but he was hammered 10-1 by Joe Cullen in the Masters and wasn’t outstanding in beating Michael Van Gerwen in his first match in this year’s event, a win’s a win however.
He then looked very good at the weekend where he averaged 95+ in all seven matches he played the weekend. I make this a difficult game to call despite Price starting the overwhelming favourite.
Gary Anderson registered the highest checkout of the night last week with a 155 checkout and Price is typically a player who readily throws in three figures checkouts. I believe the over 115.5 mark represents a decent line here and go over on the high checkout market.
Prediction: Highest Checkout of the Match Over 115.5
It’s always difficult to select a winner when the Top 8 players face off against each other and especially in a race to six legs as they are all capable of beating each other. Long gone are the dominant days of Phil Taylor and Michael Van Gerwen so success could be shared out across the weeks.
From reading my preview you’ll be under no doubt that I firmly believe that Peter Wright is the player to beat. He’s won four of the last six events if you include the opening night from last week’s Premier League and the fact he starts as second favourite baffles me. He is playing like the best in the World at the moment albeit his route to success this week could rely on him defeating Michael Van Gerwen, Jonny Clayton and Gerwyn Price, that’s tough in anyone’s book especially in best of eleven leg matches.
Last week the highest number of 180’s came from the finalists Peter Wright and Jonny Clayton with eight and ten respectively, although a special mention should also go to Joe Cullen who also hit five in his opening match defeat. Given Wright is my outright pick I think he could hit the most 180’s this week too. Eight in twenty seven legs is steady and I’d expect him to amass something similar this evening too in what could be a repeat of Night One.
Prediction: Peter Wright to Win Night Two
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