Mouth-watering contests with four of the world’s most in-form players will be on the menu at the 2023 PDC Premier League finals night.
Thousands are expected to attend the event on Thursday, May 25, at the O2 Arena in London.
Will Michael Van Gerwen or Jonny Clayton win the title again? Or will Gerwyn Price or Michael Smith achieve Premier League glory for the first time?
Current PDC tour card holder Adam Warner had his say on the upcoming night: “At the elite level, games are decided by fine margins, so it wouldn’t surprise me if every game went the distance.
“I’ve experienced this first hand in my clash with Michael Smith in the German Darts Grand Prix this year, I missed crucial darts at double 16 to win, which he then punished me with a 116 checkout.”
The first match of the night is an all-Welsh affair between the 2020 PDC World Cup winners, Price Vs Clayton. Price has a 12-8 TV record over Clayton.
The ‘Iceman’ Gerwyn Price finished in first place of the league stage of the tournament and has qualified for the finals night for the first time in his career.
Hitting the most 180’s in the tournament so far (112) and topping the league with a six-point margin, makes the former World Champion the favourite to lift the trophy (6/4).
The ‘Ferret’ Jonny Clayton won’t care about being the tournament underdog (7/1) as he has tasted Premier League glory before in 2021 where he defeated Jose De Sousa 11-5.
Clayton battled his way to the fourth spot in the league, giving himself a chance of winning the tournament for a second time in his career.
With the best checkout percentage out of the four players, 44.04%, Price will have to be at the top of his game to make his first Premier League final.
The second semi-final of the night is the current world number one and world champion Michael Smith, who faces off against the three-time world champion and reigning Premier League champion Michael Van Gerwen.
If the contest is anywhere near the calibre of the 2023 PDC World Championship final between these players, then we are in for a treat.
‘Bully Boy’ Michael Smith finished third in the league phase and equalled Price’s nights won with four. Smith has the highest amount of 100+ checkouts in the tournament so far with 19.
This factor combined with his incredible scoring power (0.34 180s hit per leg), gives him a great chance of picking the trophy up for the first time.
‘Mighty’ Michael Van Gerwen equalled the great Phil Taylor’s Premier League title wins last year (six), after defeating Joe Cullen in a dramatic 11-10 victory.
However, the current condition of Van Gerwen’s injury is unknown as he had problems with his upper arm which forced the Dutchman to withdraw last week after defeating Chris Dobey 6-1.
The six-time Premier League champion will still be feeling characteristically confident with his chances on the night, even if not 100% fit.
The 2022 Junior Darts Corporation Champion, Henry Coates, gave his insight on Thursday’s action: “Being in the Premier League is what all players dream of, and all four players have shown what it takes to reach the top.
‘’With the format increasing to first to 11 legs, this will allow for even more quality darts thrown on the night.’’
Each of these four-players are world class and you could make a case for each man picking up the trophy. One thing guaranteed is that we are in-store for a fascinating night of darts.