The 2021 Premier League Darts begins on Monday 5 April.
Here at Online Darts, we’ll preview every player’s chances in the tournament, and what to expect from them throughout the event.
Today, our focus is on the five time champion of this event, Michael van Gerwen…
This is a strange period for Michael van Gerwen.
For the first time in seven years, he’s not world number one. He did not win the most titles in 2020. He is not hitting the same heights we’re used to seeing.
It feels like van Gerwen is mortal. Some on social media suggest he could be finished as a top player. Although, that is not the place you go to get reasonable, balanced opinions.
The fact is though, it’s been a bumpy fall over the last 12 months for the Dutchman. He now looks to put that right, in arguably his favourite event.
Despite poor 2020, van Gerwen still the one to beat in Premier League
When you win the UK Open, Players Championship Finals and two Pro Tour titles, it seems quite ludicrous to suggest you’ve had a poor year.
Such are the standards that the world number two has set for himself though, it can only go down as a poor year.
He had three quarter final exits last year. Simon Whitlock beat him in the World Grand Prix, before MvG blew match darts against the Australian in the Grand Slam.
Then came the World Championship against Dave Chisnall, in which he was simply blown away by the best performance in Chizzy’s TV career. Chisnall whitewashed him, despite van Gerwen averaging 98.3.
At the World Matchplay, he did not even get to the quarters, as Whitlock thrashed him in round two. But, it was last year’s Premier League that will have hurt the most.
Having never not finished top of the league phase, he was beaten 8-2 by Daryl Gurney on the final evening, meaning that he would not just miss out on top spot, but also the Play-Offs for the first time in his career.
Of all the events, to miss out on the one that he’s made his own, will hurt The Green Machine the most. He will want to remind everyone just how good he is this year.
Jack “Gobby” Garwood gives his prediction on what we’ll see from Michael van Gerwen in this year’s Premier League, and where he will finish:
Beware the scorned champion. Awaken the beast inside at your peril.
Michael van Gerwen is a wounded bear right now. Firmly in the discussion for greatest players of all time, the recent dominance of the sport by The Green Machine is likely to be never seen again.
But, fans of the dominant Dutchman should not fear. A barren patch in the silverware department may just spark MvG in to life once more.
Concerns will come if the top level of performances drop. That simply isn’t the case. The fear factor may have gone from his opponents, but the sheer class and ability of Mighty Mike remains.
Plus, we all know how much finishing 1st in this event means to him, and he will be desperate to put last year behind him, and reclaim his spot at the top of the mound.
“The defeats… are not that bad when you look into them”
Despite a poor opening Super Series, MvG found some form at the UK Open, as he looked to defend his title.
After making the semi finals, he ran into Luke Humphries, who, like so many before him in the last 12 months, produced a stunning performance to beat him and make his maiden PDC TV final.
But, the defeats in the last few months are not that bad when you look into them. Ian White at the European Championships averaged 103.64. Simon Whitlock hit 20 180s in the Slam quarter final, the most ever in a PDC leg play match by one player. Chisnall averaged 107.34 at the Worlds, while Humphries hit a 107.41 at the UK Open.
In the one non-ranked event, he lost out to Jonny Clayton in a last leg decider. It still takes something special to beat The Green Machine. The difference being, is that MvG is not raising his game when others do against him as often.
He’s the only player in the Premier League Darts field to be averaging over 100 combined in the last three months. His A game is still better than everyone’s. It’s now a case for van Gerwen whether he can find it with his new darts.
The fear factor maybe gone for some, but a wounded Michael van Gerwen is a dangerous animal. Five Premier League Darts titles in seven years show this. No matter how he’s playing, he will probably be the favourite to lift most titles.
Why? Because if the real Michael van Gerwen turns up, he could be unstoppable once again.