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.
Next in our preview, we look at Grand Slam of Darts Champion, Jose De Sousa…
Jose De Sousa.
A genius. A frustration. An enigma.
But most importantly, a showman. Which is why the Premier League is the ideal stage for him.
From soft tip star, to steel tip sensation, the rise of The Special One has been fascinating to watch since he won his first title in September 2019.
Now, he gets to apply his trade in the biggest non-ranking tournament of them all.
Grand Slam caps sensational two years for De Sousa
Despite playing in many soft tip finals, very few knew about the Portuguese Man O’Scores when he won his Tour Card in 2019.
He made a final on the floor in June, before beating Peter Wright and Gerwyn Price en route to winning that first tournament in September.
He continued to improve, regularly making TV tournaments, before becoming the first ever Portuguese player to win a PDC televised title at the 2020 Grand Slam of Darts. In his first ever televised final, he hit a magical 158 to defeat James Wade and win the Eric Bristow Trophy.
It was a magical week and a half for the former kitchen fitter, who broke down in tears as he lifted the title.
Now, it’s time for him to be more consistent.
Jack “Gobby” Garwood gives his prediction on what we’ll see from Jose De Sousa in this year’s Premier League, and where he will finish:
Ah, where to begin with the miscounting Portuguese phenomenon.
Jose’s rise over the last 18 months has been staggering, and he capped it with his win in the Grand Slam.
We’ve seen signs that when the pressure is truly on, De Sousa can and will wobble. But, he is possessed with excellent scoring power, and his counting is getting much better.
His campaign will be very dependant on his start, and how quickly he settles in the event, but I’m backing him for a good Premier League
“This Premier League Darts is not just important for De Sousa, but for the PDC too”
In the rest of the TV tournaments he’s played in, De Sousa has not reached the last eight stage of any of them.
This is mainly due to his consistency, in particular his counting. The miscounts he has and the uniqueness of ways he goes for checkouts are entertaining, but they often cost him in crucial moments.
The scoring power is there, but now the double hitting must be found if the Portuguese player is to stand a chance against the top players week in week out.
It also could set him up to have a good 2021. Currently world number 15, he’s defending less than 20% of his ranking money this year. A good run in the Premier League could be a springboard for De Sousa to climb even further up the rankings.
This Premier League Darts is not just important for De Sousa, but for the PDC too. It’s long been talked about in previous interviews by Chairman Barry Hearn that he wants darts to be played all around the world. In Portugal, where soft tip still dominates, imagine a new breed of steel tip players inspired by a hero from their own country? Plus, it gives the PDC a chance of a Euro Tour, World Series or potential Premier League night in a new market, which helps their ambition.
The only player to have never played in the Premier League, either as a full time participant or a contender, De Sousa has the opportunity of a lifetime, for both himself and his native land. Now, he must seize it with both hands.