It’s make-or-break time for the players chasing the final play-off spot in this year’s Premier League darts.
Tonight’s round of the darting roadshow, at London’s O2 arena, is the penultimate round of the regular season. Top two Jonny Clayton and Michael van Gerwen have already sewn up their spots on play-off night in Berlin next month, while James Wade is almost there, despite missing last week’s Sheffield round because of illness.
The battle over the fourth and final spot is where the real intrigue lies. World champion Peter Wright holds it at present but has been out of form in recent weeks. Gerwyn Price closed to within two points by winning in Sheffield last week, while Joe Cullen is a point further back in sixth.
Tonight, Price faces a tough opener against fellow Welshman Clayton while Wright goes up against the returning Wade and Cullen is pitched against rock-bottom Gary Anderson.
A quarter-final win for Price would pile the pressure on Wright ahead of his match, but Sky Sports pundit Wayne Mardle has predicted an early exit for The Iceman. However, if Mardle is also right about Wright too, the battle for fourth will go to the final week of the regular season in Newcastle.
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In his weekly predictions for William Hill, Mardle said: “The top half [of the draw] is where the big hitters are. I think Clayton overcomes Price, then I think he beats Van Gerwen, who beats [Michael] Smith, in the semi-final. Clayton then takes on Wade in the final, Clayton wins 6-2.”
Premier League quarter-finals – The O2, London
Gerwyn Price vs Jonny Clayton
Michael Smith vs Michael van Gerwen
James Wade vs Peter Wright
Joe Cullen vs Gary Anderson
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