The final of the Betway Premier League is almost upon us, as the final four are set to thrill us at the O2 on Thursday night. Michael van Gerwen, Peter Wright, Gary Anderson and Phil Taylor have seen off the rest of the field to take their places on finals night. Although the Premier League doesn’t help the player’s world rankings, it’s classed as one of darts triple crown along with the World Championships and the World Matchplay. After sixteen weeks of battle up and down the country, world number one Michael van Gerwen topped the table with 24 points from Peter Wright in second with 23 points.
Top Ten Match Averages
119.50 – Peter Wright v Adrian Lewis (Week Five, Exeter)
113.62 – Michael van Gerwen v James Wade (Week Ten, Dublin)
113.44 – Gary Anderson v Peter Wright (Week 11, Liverpool)
111.52 – Adrian Lewis v Raymond van Barneveld (Week 11, Liverpool)
110.62 – James Wade v Michael van Gerwen (Week Ten, Dublin)
110.75 – Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis (Week 13, Birmingham)
109.48 – Peter Wright v Gary Anderson (Week Three, Leeds)
109.36 – Dave Chisnall v Raymond van Barneveld (Week 14, Sheffield)
109.15 – Adrian Lewis v Peter Wright (Week Five, Exeter)
107.94 – Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson (Week One, Newcastle)
Micheal van Gerwen v Gary Anderson
The first semi final sees the world number one, and two clash as Michael van Gerwen meets Gary Anderson. The pair only met last week in Aberdeen, as MvG was a 7-4 winner and inflicted Anderson’s first ever defeat in Aberdeen. These two have done battle in the latter stages of many competitions over the last few years, with Anderson being one of the few players who seem to relish playing the runaway world number one. Over the longer format, this could be a PDC classic, as it gives both players longer to get into the match. Over recent weeks van Gerwen hasn’t quite been at his brilliant best, as weeks of travelling may just be taking its toll. Anderson has also been hit and miss so far this year, when he’s on then Anderson makes the game look so easy. Both players chose to miss the European Tour at the weekend to prepare for the Premier League finals, so both should be fresh and ready to do battle. If both play well then this game could be settled by the smallest of margins.
Regular Season Meetings – Van Gerwen 6-6 Anderson (Week 1) Van Gerwen 7-4 Anderson (Week 15)
I think Michael van Gerwen will just edge out Gary Anderson, but this match could go all the way to the nineteenth leg. I expect to see both players average well over the 100 mark, for a Premier League game we could see a record number of 180s
Michael van Gerwen 10 – 8 Gary Anderson
Peter Wright v Phil Taylor
The second semifinal is world number 3 Peter Wright against the sixteen times champion of the world Phil Taylor. Wright has very much been the man of 2017 so far; Snakebite won his first TV major when he won the UK Open at Minehead. Somewhat surprisingly this is Wright’s first time at the O2 finals, after he failed to make the showpiece event in recent years. Wright now looks the best he ever has in the PDC; he now looks as if he has the belief that he can achieve great things. Taylor has had a very up and down Premier League season, but has come good just at the right time to make the playoffs. One problem I believe Taylor has is that where he’s not playing the tour week in week out, like everyone else he’s not match sharp. In a one-off game, Taylor still has the game to beat anyone, but I worry that he’s going to struggle over the longer format here at the O2. Wright was the only one of the four players who played in Gibraltar at the weekend, so we will see if that will play any part.
Regular Season Meetings – Taylor 7-5 Wright (Week 8) Taylor 3-7 Taylor (Week 13)
Over the longer format and form, I think Peter Wright will win this. In the early stage, I think it will be close, but Wright will go away in the later stages of the match. I like Wright most 180s in this match as well.
Peter Wright 10 – 7 Phil Taylor
On to the final and if I’m right then we will see Michael van Gerwen against Peter Wright, this would be the final on form in 2017. Once Michael is in the final he’s a very tough cookie to beat, to date he’s only lost in three PDC major finals winning the rest of them. Wright beat van Gerwen in the a recent Euro Tour final in Germany 6-0, when he averaged 105 and had a 75% checkout stat. He may have to produce that again over the longer format if he is to be crowned 2017 Premier League champion. I would be backing Michael to win the final at the O2
Michael van Gerwen 11 – 7 Peter Wright