Heavyweight darts is back with the return of the Premier League and the top talent on planet darts begin their bid for glory in Milton Keynes on Monday.
This is the first of five consecutive nights of action at the Marshall Arena, with the packed format which was used for part of last season likely to make things even more unpredictable than usual.
Last season, for the very first time, Michael van Gerwen failed to reach Finals Night and he will start out hoping to erase that memory and win the title for the sixth time in his career, while Gerwyn Price has become a last-minute absentee.
Duzza Begins His Title Defence
Nathan Aspinall and Glen Durrant get the action under way on Monday and it could pay to side with Duzza. The perennial underdog is once again chalked up as the outsider and it’s hard to see why the Boro man is such a big price at
Durrant was beaten in the first-round of the Masters and failed to win a single game at the UK Open this season.
However, Duzza had been feeling the effects of illness and it’s worth remembering that the Boro man is the defending Premier League champion.
It’s not as though Aspinall has been in flying form either. The Asp was beaten in his first-round match at the UK Open and prior to that the Stockport man was dumped out of the World Championship by Vincent van der Voort.
Aspinall has tinkered with his set-up and there’s no doubt he remains a classy performer, however, on this occasion the prices look to overrate his chances.
Special One Can Make Rob Cross
Former world champion Rob Cross gets his campaign started against 47-year-old up-and-comer Jose de Sousa.
The Special One landed his first major crown when winning the Grand Slam of Darts last season and that was just reward for some excellent floor performances.
De Sousa’s counting can sometimes hinder his efforts, but there are few bigger scorers in the game and he can account for an out-of-sorts Cross at
Jonny Clayton has been playing some brilliant darts recently, but he faces 2020 world champion Peter Wright.
The Ferret was mighty impressive when winning the Masters at the end of January, but Snakebite is a difficult man to oppose at
Meanwhile, world champion Price has been forced to withdraw from the tournament and has been replaced by James Wade, who will be up against Gary Anderson in his opener.
Mike Not so Mighty at The Moment
Michael van Gerwen and Dimitri van den Bergh complete the night’s action and it promises to be a cracking contest.
The trouble for punters is Van den Bergh is a tough performer to weigh up. The DreamMaker is capable of some mesmerising darts, as the Belgian showed when winning the World Matchplay last year.
However, it’s been a disappointing start to the season for Van den Bergh and it’s hard to know which one will show up.
*All odds correct at time of writing