There are just two nights remaining of Phase 2 of the PDC Premier League Darts tournament and the first of these comes this week at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield and this is followed by the final week of phase 2 taking place also in Yorkshire, at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.
This season’s tournament saw Gary Anderson pull out on the eve of the event, with his place taken by nine different PDC professionals for each of the Phase 1 rounds of games. That saw Raymond van Barneveld eliminated from the tournament with just one win and two draws in his nine games.
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The second phase of the tournament though has been a lot closer and at the moment, there are six players that are in genuine contention for the four places in the playoff finals as we shall discover when we take a closer look at the standings below.
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Premier League Darts Standings
Following Week 13 matches (two weeks of games remaining before the playoffs)
- Rob Cross – 20 points
- Michael van Gerwen. 19 points
- James Wade – 17 points
- Mensur Suljovic – 17 points
- Daryl Gurney – 16 points
- Gerwyn Price – 15 points
- Peter Wright – 9 points (eliminated)
- Michael Smith – 9 points (eliminated)
As can be seen, Peter Wright and Michael Smith are both already eliminated from contention for the playoffs with two weeks to go. Both have not managed to win a game in the second phase of matches, Wright drawing his opening phase 2 match before losing his next four, while Smith has drawn two and lost three of his five matches.
This has left it as a battle between six players for the four playoff spots. Rob Cross and Michael van Gerwen, occupying the top two positions, both look in strong positions and a win for both this week would be enough to confirm Cross as through, while it would likely confirm van Gerwen as through too.
The real battle is between the four players on 15, 16 and 17 points, Price, Gurney, Suljovic and Wade and as such, it promises to be a hugely interesting final two weeks of games. Starting this week in Sheffield.
Week 14 Phase 2 – Sheffield Arena
- Michael Smith v James Wade
If form is anything to go by then James Wade should be the player celebrating a victory at the end of the game. The Englishman has found his form in a big way over the last six months culminating in a very strong showing in the Premier League once again. Smith’s form has been below par but Smith has also been struggling with health issues and he has not been at his best in a tournament he reached the final of last year. This one should be a Wade victory for me and you can back that at odds of 21/20 at bet365.
- Mensur Suljovic v Rob Cross
Five points from his last three games have brought Mensur Suljovic right into the reckoning for a place in the playoffs, but he is going to have to be at his best against the in-form Rob Cross who is starting to show the form that made him a World Champion back in January 2018. Cross blasted Michael Smith 8-1 last time out and while I don’t think he’ll have it all his own way against Suljovic, I am backing the Englishman to land the win at 4/5.
- Daryl Gurney v Gerwyn Price
A few weeks ago, Daryl Gurney looked like he would be the player to be first eliminated. He was just ahead of van Barneveld and looked in deep trouble, however a resurgence in form saw him move up the table and now he is in with a real chance of making the playoffs, especially if he can pick up the win against Gerwyn Price, who has endured a much better Premier League campaign this time around after struggling last year. This could be a very close battle and I think a draw is on the cards here which is a 15/4 shot.
- Michael van Gerwen v Peter Wright
The final game this week is a re-run of the final of the tournament a couple of years ago when Michael van Gerwen pipped Peter Wright to the title in a game that the Scotsman should have won. Wright’s form at the moment is awful having lost his last four and with van Gerwen on the end of a rare defeat last week, I am expecting the Dutchman to bounce back to form with a win here which is a very short price 2/7.
Once these four games are over we head to the final week of fixtures at the First Direct Arena in Leeds when the four players that make it through into the playoffs will be finalised following these games:
Week 15 Phase 2 Games (First Direct Arena, Leeds)
- Gerwyn Price v Peter Wright
- James Wade v Rob Cross
- Michael van Gerwen v Mensur Suljovic
- Daryl Gurney v Michael Smith
Given that Mensur Suljovic has to face the top two players in the table in his final two games, that will put huge pressure on the likeable Austrian here and that could well let in one of the players below him into that top four. I do expect Cross, vam Gerwen and Wade to make it through into the playoffs but of the remaining players, I feel Gurney, who faces Price and then Smith has the easier of the matches of the players remaining, although Price will feel if he can beat Gurney, then he stands the best chance with his final game against the out-of-sorts Peter Wright.
Whatever happens, it promises to be an exciting few weeks of darts and you can bet on it live and In Play at bet365.