Final Premier League of Darts Prediction Table
By David Hawkins
The first five nights of this year’s Premier League were fascinating, with nine darters, miscounts and ton plus averages all culminating in what is one of the closest league tables we’ve ever seen. A lot is still to be decided and whilst the next four nights will be behind closed doors, the upcoming fixtures certainly won’t be boring. Here’s my predictions for the how the premier league table will look after both phase one and two.
10th – Glenn Durrant
Last year’s champ has struggled desperately in the first round of fixtures, as many predicted. Since winning the 2020 Premier League in October, in 19 events, the furthest Durrant has been is the quarter finals and that happened just once in the third players championship event of this year. Admittedly Duzza did struggle with a bout of COVID just a week after claiming Premier League glory, but a long time has passed since then and the problem seems to be a lot deeper than him feeling the after affects of the illness. The winning mentality seems to not be there at the moment and he doesn’t appear to have any confidence in his own game whatsoever. In addition, there is no consistency in the way his darts are entering the board; often with all 3 darts thrown going in at different angles, which suggests he needs to work on the timing of his release. His averages from the first five nights don’t make for good reading either: 88.0, 89.0, 84.4, 88.0, 87,6. Add to this the fact he didn’t win more than 3 legs in any of those games, and you can see why I’ve put him bottom – favourite for relegation.
9th – James Wade
This is by far the hardest prediction on this list due to how close the field seems to be this year with the exception of Durrant. Having James Wade has the other player to be relegated on judgement night could prove to be a silly decision, as he could quite easily turn it on over the next block of four fixtures and climb near the top of the table and eventually go on to win it. He definitely has the game and has been the most consistent player, other than Taylor and Van Gerwen, of the last 15 years. Having said all that we haven’t yet seen the machine hit top form in this years Premier League, and the averages table reflects that with him sat 9th with an overall average of just 93. Whilst this is solid, the rest of the field are scoring much more heavily than Wade. Of course, Wade is one of the best in the world at being able to win games in which he’s being outscored due to his near immaculate finishing, but you can’t consistently expect to win games like this. Adding to this, he has made his job even harder after losing to two players that, on form, you would expect him to comfortably beat in Cross and Aspinall. His remaining four fixtures sees him play De Sousa, Wright, Clayton and Van den Bergh. Classic James Wade is needed here if he is to make it to the second phase and make me look the fool.
8th – Gary Anderson
2021 signals the start of Anderson supposedly taking the game more seriously. He has teamed up with Ryan Searle to practice with him and has committed to attending more events. We haven’t quite seen a massive improvement from him yet. His scoring seems to be there as it always has been, but the doubles and finishing in general are the main concern for the flying Scotsman (Sits 9th for average double percentage with 47%); which is why I’ve put him in 8th. I don’t think he’ll be near the relegation zone come judgement night, but on current performances and looking at the performances of others I don’t see him being in contention of finishing in the playoffs when the final night of phase two comes around.
7th – José De Sousa
The special one really has lived up to his name in the first 5 fixtures, producing an intriguing mix of brilliance and absolute buffoonery at times. The highlight is undoubtedly his game against Aspinall. He kicked off the game 180, 180 – six perfect darts. But what followed is something that you will only see De Sousa do, on 82 he hit single 3 leaving him 79. For whatever bizarre reason, he thought he was on 71 and so went treble 13 for double 16. Even after that miscount, he had six further darts at a double and managed to lose the leg with Aspinall way behind. Incredibly, he managed to regain his focus and produce a mind-boggling nine darter in the next leg. He went on to tie the record for the most 180s in a premier league match by a single player with 11, but only managed a draw. Although after the miscount he had further darts at double, there is no doubt that he was angry with himself and so was distracted. This is one of the major flaws in his game and, along with his poor doubling presently, will come to cost him more and will likely see him not finish in the top four and move on to the playoffs.
6th – Nathan Aspinall
The dawn of this years Premier League has seen Nathan Aspinall return to somewhere near what we all know he is capable of producing – seeing him sat third after five games. His standout performance came against MVG, a game which he drew despite averaging 105. Separating 3rd place from 6th was a very hard thing to do and I fully expect there to be at least 4 players fighting for the final spot. Whilst Aspinall has shown some solid stuff, I think more recently those who I’ve put above him have been a bit more reliable in the high-pressure situations and so if it does come down to fine margins, I expect Aspinall to marginally miss out.
5th – Peter Wright
The 2020 world champion has had a mixed bag of results so far. He has averaged less than 97 just once and that was in an off night against Van Gerwen. He has managed draws against Clayton and Van Den Bergh in games he could easily have lost and managed all this whilst using 4 different sets of darts – one with the rather disorientating wobbly points. It’s hard to criticise a man who can seemingly use any set of darts with any combination of flights, stems and points and still be as good as he is. However, in the majority of his games so far he has had both periods of brilliance and periods where he can’t hit a barn door. This kind of inconsistency could prove fatal when it comes to the latter stages of the league when every leg counts and with how close I think it’s going to be I’ve picked snakebite to miss out as a result.
4th – Rob Cross
Having Rob Cross in the top four is massively controversial. Before the first night of fixtures, many predicted Cross as the second to be eliminated on judgement night alongside Durrant. Indeed, his form was nowhere near that which one him the world title – in many games recently he has just been average at best. He seemed to be going through similar to what Durrant is currently going through, struggling with a late release and darts going to the board at many different angles. His form going into the Premier League was reflected by the fact that he hasn’t made the final of a tournament since September. However, with the amount of people writing Cross off and the fact that his form has been poor coming into it, he has been able to play with a lot less pressure than the other players and this has seen him produce some solid performances. Of course, he will have to produce a bit better than solid if he wants to qualify, but the fact that he doesn’t look to be struggling anymore is a really good sign. Indeed, he recently said he’d found his love for darts again. As mentioned already, this year is probably the closest the field has ever been and with that in mind I see a few shocks happening – with Cross qualifying as being one of them.
3rd – Michael Van Gerwen
MVG shocked everyone in last year’s Premier League as, for the first time in his career, he failed to qualify for the final four. Since he won the UK open, he has one just one PDC major – the players championship finals, which by his very high standards is poor. Most people thought the real Van Gerwen had returned following that win as, during the course of the tournament, he didn’t average anything less than 96 and only averaged less than 100 twice. Even during the World championships he played very well, only losing to Dave Chisnall who was playing darts from the gods. What that game showed, as well as many others from last season, is that people are no longer scared to play him. People don’t back down anymore and are more than capable of keeping up with him irrespective of him averaging way over 100 and celebrating every out shot. Having said all that, this is still Michael Van Gerwen we’re talking about and I’m absolutely certain he wouldn’t want a repeat of not qualifying for the playoffs. Despite a few poor performances so far, I expect the week long break to do him well and, whilst I don’t think he’ll breeze into the playoffs I do think he will make it in the end.
2nd - Dimitri Van Den Bergh
For his debut year in the Premier League, Van den Bergh looks totally at home with the top players. His rise to prominence came rather quickly and some players struggle to keep up the form that got them there in the first place. Dimitri is the opposite of this, he looks in control of his emotions 100% of the time and has the scoring power to beat anyone. With two wins, two draws and a defeat he is perfectly positioned to make the playoffs and looks to be the most consistent of the players not named Jonny Clayton. This is evidenced by the fact he is 3rd on the list of averages in the Premier League so far and I expect him to stay averaging around the 100 mark the whole time. If he can do that, he is in with a very good chance to win the whole thing as beating someone averaging 100 all the time is incredibly tough as it means you need to be going out in 14 darts or less in every leg.
1st – Jonny Clayton
Who would’ve thought a year ago that the current best player in the world on form would be Jonny Clayton? His consistency this year is incredible; out of the ten tournaments so far this year before the Premier League, he has made the final in five of them winning three. That is peak MVG form and if he continues in this way he will be a genuine contender for every single major competition this year. Across the five games he’s played in the Premier League so far he is averaging close to 101. After hitting a 9 darter in the 8th leg of his game against De Sousa, he averaged 140.90 over the last three legs of the match with a 9, 11 and 12 dart leg. There is seemingly no weakness to his game at the moment and he is playing with what feels like more confidence than the other nine players combined. It’s hard to see past him finishing top of the league and I certainly wouldn’t bet against him winning the whole thing.