Another wonderful week at Blackpool comes to a conclusion on Sunday night and it should do so with a real bang as Michael van Gerwen takes on James Wade over the best of 35 legs in the World Matchplay final.
Van Gerwen has made it quite clear that one of his goals is to win this title and having lost to Phil Taylor in the final 12 months ago he’ll be keen to take advantage of someone else beating the great man this week.
That man was James Wade. He got stronger and stronger as their semi-final progressed and his relentless finishing power put enough pressure on Taylor to open the door for the chances to burst through and win. You don’t give Wade those chances and expect to profit and Taylor didn’t profit as he was beaten here for the first time since 2007.
Michael van Gerwen didn’t look his best in his semi-final with Peter Wright but he always had his colourful rival at arms length. His mid-range finishing caught the eye but the explosive sustained scoring wasn’t there and in his interview after the match he looked a tad jaded so he’ll be hoping for a good night’s sleep before this final.
Wade used to have the upper hand in the head to head between these two but van Gerwen’s rise to the top has come via a number of wins against Wade. In fact MVG has now won 13 of their last 14 matches having won just three of their first 12. The two have met four times this year over shorter distances and MVG has won three of them by a very comfortable margin.
You would think given the way Wade has played this week that this match will be one of their closer matches. Their matches in the longer formats do tend to be closer and I’m expecting this one to be much closer as well. I would imagine MVGs more powerful scoring will eventually win the day if he has recovered from his tiredness of yesterday but Wade should be good enough on his own throw to keep the match tight enough to cover the total legs line.
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