The race for the places at finals night at the o2 Arena in the Premier League Darts season is really hitting a crescendo and when the eight men still left in the competition head to Birmingham for Week 13 of the campaign the picture could become a whole lot clearer.
At the end of the night each player will have two regular season matches left and everyone will be level on games as this is the final week where two players play twice. That honour goes to Adrian Lewis and Michael van Gerwen this time.
James Wade vs Adrian Lewis
It is Adrian Lewis that gets to lead off proceedings when he takes on his old adversary James Wade. This is probably a bigger night for Lewis than it is for Wade and with Jackpot playing Michael van Gerwen later in the night he really needs something from this match. Even with a win Wade’s o2 hopes have faded.
Wade beat Lewis 7-4 in week three of the campaign but since then he has only beaten an injured Jelle Klaasen and Phil Taylor in a match he was safely behind in until Taylor missed a raft of doubles to let him back in. That isn’t good form and while Lewis was pathetic last week he did at least beat Barneveld and hit the nine darter the week before. He beat Anderson the week prior to that too.
By virtue of the fact he has to get something from this match I’m going to take Lewis here. Two defeats on the night could be really costly and he’ll know what and while I’m sure he believes he can beat MVG he can take the pressure off needing to do so with the win here.
Dave Chisnall vs Michael van Gerwen
This is a big match for Dave Chisnall. He has fought hard and four wins in his last five outings have catapulted him into the mix for the semi-finals but he can’t afford another defeat if he is going to make it there. MVG is all but at the o2 and a win here will guarantee it.
I keep hoping Chisnall brings his best game to the stage against MVG and really challenges him but I’ve lost belief in him beating the Dutchman and after 14 poundings on the bounce I think Chisnall himself has lost that belief in himself. I fancy van Gerwen to win but you would to respect Chizzy’s scoring power enough to leave the handicaps alone.
Phil Taylor vs Peter Wright
The man of the moment Peter Wright takes on a man who will move above him in the league table with a win in Phil Taylor. Nobody has really spoken about Taylor in this tournament recently but there he is in third and a significant sized win will move him into second.
Wright came past Wade last week but again he started messing around with his darts. You would think he will be settled on a pair after winning the European Tour event in Germany at the weekend but you never know for sure with him.
Taylor will know he needs to win here else he will drop out of the top four and with Michael van Gerwen to come next week he would be under real pressure to get his semi-final spot back. He hasn’t seemed to care about the table this season though. He has just played and if he plays here and does it well he can get something from this.
Gary Anderson vs Raymond Barneveld
The biggest match of the night is the penultimate match of the night as fourth placed Gary Anderson takes on fifth placed Raymond Barneveld. The winner of this one will open up a gap on the other in the race for the o2 while the loser will have their hopes taken out of their own hands so this is a huge game.
When the two met in Rotterdam earlier in the season Barneveld took Anderson to the cleaners. That is likely to have fired up Anderson for this one but Barneveld now knows he can beat the Scot. This should be an absolute cracker but it isn’t a match I can bet on with comfort so I’ll sit this out.
Adrian Lewis vs Michael van Gerwen
These two return for the final match of the evening and by the time they do play they will know much clearer how their respective fates look. Lewis could be in the top four or without a chance of making them while MVG could be through or needing to win to make it through.
Whatever the permutations are I never get involved in these second matches for players because they are too unpredictable. As it is these two usually produce good matches so I’ll hope they can collide in a good one again without a bet clouding the situation.
Back A.Lewis to beat J.Wade for a 4/10 stake at 1.86 with 188bet
Back him here:
Back P.Taylor (+1.5 legs) to beat P.Wright for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Bwin
Back him here: