Premier League Darts: We run the rule over this year’s final four

Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross, James Wade and Daryl Gurney will fight it out for the Premier League title at The O2 on Thursday, after one of the tightest league seasons in the competition’s history came to a close in Leeds.

For the first time in Premier League history, four players were still in contention for a Play-Off place heading into the final week of action, but it was Wade and Gurney who qualified alongside Van Gerwen and Cross, who were already assured of their top-four spots prior to Night 16.

However, a dramatic night at the First Direct Arena saw a change at the top of the table, which could have major repercussions come Finals Night. As the build-up to this year’s thrilling finale continues, we profile this year’s final four…

Michael van Gerwen

PL History: Winner – 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018

2019 Season: P16 W10 D3 L3

Position: 1st

Van Gerwen topped the league phase for the seventh consecutive season after he defeated Mensur Suljovic and Cross was beaten by Wade on Night 16.

The Dutchman trailed ‘Voltage’ by the solitary point heading into the final week of league action, but Cross’ defeat saw MVG maintain his unblemished record of topping the table in every Premier League campaign he’s featured in.

The 30-year-old endured a surprising mid-season blip but he recovered superbly, collecting 14 points from a possible 18 in the remainder of the season.

Van Gerwen has reached six consecutive Premier League finals, winning four of those, but now his focus switches to lifting title number five, which would be his fourth consecutive triumph.

Expert’s Verdict – Wayne Mardle

“Michael van Gerwen started this campaign as a 1/2 shot, he’s now still a 1/2 shot. Me personally, I think it’s a Van Gerwen vs Cross final. Rob Cross, James Wade and Michael van Gerwen have looked the only three winners to me.”

Rob Cross

PL History: Semi-Finals – 2018

2019 Season: P16 W10 D2 L4

Position: 2nd

Cross enjoyed a brilliant second season in the Premier League, but victory over Wade would have seen him become just the third player in Premier League history to top the league phase.

‘Voltage’ was forced to settle for second spot but he’ll take huge encouragement from the consistency he’s displayed in this year’s event, having finished fourth on his Premier League debut 12 months ago.

The main source of disappointment for ‘Voltage’ this term will be his performances in both games against Van Gerwen, where he suffered comprehensive 7-2 and 8-2 defeats.

He has lost his five Premier League meetings against MVG by an aggregate scoreline of 39-14, which is an ominous statistic if they do collide in next week’s showpiece.

Expert’s Verdict – Wayne Mardle

“The defeats at the hands of Michael van Gerwen, they are the ones that would have hurt, because Rob Cross was expected to push Michael each and every time.

“He did with everyone else but he didn’t with Michael. Ultimately he failed to win the league, but he didn’t fail to qualify. He finished fourth last year and second this year. If he can relax I think he makes the final.”

James Wade

PL History: Winner – 2009

2019 Season: P16 W7 D6 L3

Position: 3rd

Wade secured his first and only ever Premier League title a decade ago, but ‘The Machine’ will be hoping to double up at the O2 next week.

Having ended his four-year major drought last autumn, Wade has gone from strength-to-strength to qualify for the Play-Offs for the first time since 2013.

The nine-time major winner has responded brilliantly since his omission from last year’s Premier League and he has plenty of cause for optimism next week.

He’s already beaten Van Gerwen, Gurney and Cross in this year’s league phase – the only semi-finalist to have beaten his three rivals for the title.

Expert’s Verdict – Wayne Mardle

“There was one final twist wasn’t there, that was Wade doing a Wade-like job. That was just the relentless nature in which he can carry on. James had nothing to play for so kudos to him for getting up there and doing a real professional job.”

Daryl Gurney

PL History: 5th – 2018

2019 Season: P16 W8 D3 L5

Position: 4th

It’s been a case of feast or famine for Gurney in this year’s Premier League. The Northern Irishman suffered successive drubbings against Cross and Wade which saw him register the solitary leg across two weeks, but he responded by winning three of his next four.

Gurney also joined Peter Wright in becoming just the second player in Premier League history to complete the league double over Van Gerwen – the Northern Irishman has now won his last three televised meetings against the World No 1.

‘SuperChin’ will be hoping to maintain this magnificent run against MVG as the pair collide in the semi-finals next week.

Gurney was sat just outside of the Play-Off places heading into the final night of action in Leeds, but an 8-3 win over last year’s finalist Michael Smith sealed his top four spot.

Source: Read Full Article