Ten of the best players in the world head for Milton Keynes for the start of the 2021 Premier League and is it worth overlooking the claims of the big two?
The Marshall Arena is rapidly becoming the new home of darts, as yet again the cream of the darting planet gathers in Milton Keynes, this time for the start of the 17th season of the Premier League .
MVG Seen as The Player to Beat
Van Gerwen has won the Premier League on five occasions, as well as having been beaten in the final in 2014 by Raymond van Barneveld and 2015 by Gary Anderson.
Meanwhile, a trio of debutants, Dimitri van den Bergh, Jose de Sousa and Jonny Clayton, will be hoping they can strike it lucky first time.
There are plenty of tweaks to the format – the 16 nights of action are played in four midweek blocks and two players not one will be eliminated at the halfway point – but finals night remains unchanged with the top four shooting it out for the £250,000 first prize on May 28th.
Time is Wright for Snakebite
There were shocks galore throughout 2020 and that trend is continuing this year with Clayton and James Wade taking the honours at big prices at the Masters and the UK Open.
Given what happened in last year’s Premier League, where neither Van Gerwen nor Price made the play-offs, punters are advised to look further down the coupon for this year’s champion.
The world’s top two are still top pros and it’s hard to believe at least one of them won’t make finals night, but others have big claims, none more so than Peter Wright at
Runner-up in 2017 and a beaten semi-finalist last year, Snakebite is throwing some magnificent tungsten this year, nothing better than at the last ProTour event where he produced a day-long average of over 102 as he won the title, his first of the season.
The Scot has had nine ton-plus averages in his last three days of competition and the former world champion is about as consistent as anyone. And it’s consistency in this format that gets you into the top four.
Jose Could Be The Special One on Debut
There are three first-timers this year with one of them – Clayton – throwing out of his skin and another – Van den Bergh – unable to buy a win, though knee surgery has definitely interrupted his start to the year.
It’s the third, the unflappable De Sousa who actually appeals more than those two
Certainly Clayton, notwithstanding his impressive numbers, looks too short but the same cannot be said of the Portuguese debutant.
De Sousa, last year’s Grand Slam champion, looks every inch a big-stage player now and already averaging over 98 on tour this year, he is showing no signs of weakness.
16/1 chance was involved in three epic down-to-the-wire matches at the UK Open, pipping in-form Mervyn King and then Michael Smith in the first two, before succumbing to Van Gerwen and he now looks like he both believes and belongs.
*All odds correct at time of writing