The 2017 Betway Premier League gets underway on February 2nd in Newcastle and features the top 10 darts players in the world. Let’s take a closer look at this years line up.
Michael van Gerwen
The newly crowned world champion defends his Premier League title after winning an astonishing 25 titles in 2016 including the Masters, Players Championship, Matchplay and Grand Prix. He also holds the biggest three dart average ever with a mammoth 123.40 last year and is undoubtedly the one to beat.
Back to back world champion of 2015 and 2016 also picked up the Premier League title in 2015. ‘The Flying Scotsman’ holds the record for most 180’s in a match with 11 back in 2011 against Simon Whitlock and he will again be one of the main contenders this year.
Having shaken off the ‘joke’ tag with some brilliant performances in 2016 where he rose to number 2 in the world ‘Snakebite’ is the most improved player in the PDC. That said, he still hasn’t won a major and the best finish he’s managed in the Premier League is 5th place.
Won the World Championship in 2011 and 2012. ‘Jackpot’ has all of the ability required but can switch off in matches which makes him one of the most frustrating players on the circuit. The format doesn’t particularly suit him which reflects on his past Premier League performances with only a runner up finish in 2011 to note.
Taylor recently announced that this year would be his last. Sixteen time champion of the world and renowned as the greatest darts player ever with a record of 216 tournaments wins and 84 majors in a 20 year career. Coming into this tournament as a Sky Wildcard he also holds the record for highest Premier League group stage average with 107.95 in 2012. Suited by the shorter format these days, the ability is still there and he’s guaranteed to scrap for every leg in his final year as a pro.
Raymond van Barneveld
The 2014 Premier League champion comes here off the back of a very consistent 2016 season. ‘Barney’, another Sky Wildcard pick, is in solid form showing that he still has what it takes to battle it out with the best of them and the five time world champion will once again be a force this year.
Coming into this year’s Premier League as a PDC Wildcard ‘The Machine’ is one of the most solid competitors on the PDC circuit. Having won the Premier League back in 2009 and finishing runner up to Phil Taylor in 2008 and 2010 Wade is certainly capable and has a habit of checking out the crucial finish at the right time.
One of the heaviest scorers in the game and an on form ‘Chizzy’ finds the 60 bed like nobody else. Chisnall’s biggest problems are a lack of consistency, highlighted by his exit on Judgement Night last year, and his finishing which simply goes missing at times. His best finish came as a semi finalist in 2015 and although the PDC deemed him worthy of a wildcard it’s doubtful that he can hold any good form over a 16 week format.
Many felt that Klaasen was unlucky to miss out last year following his run to the semi finals on the World Championship in 2016. ‘The Cobra’ makes his second appearance in the Premier League, having finished 7th in 2009, and while he will be a danger on his day it is very much open to question whether or not he has a Premier League title in him.
With Mensur Suljovic stating that he would decline any invitation to this year’s Premier League it is thought that Huybrechts was the beneficiary and earned a PDC Wildcard pick as a result. ‘The Hurricane’ failed to make the quarter finals of any televised tournament in the last 12 months and after finishing bottom of the league in his only showing in the tournament he comes here with it all to prove.
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