20 Mar 19
Michael van Gerwen is back at the top of the Premier League table (Picture: Action Plus via Getty Images)
It is going to be very loud in Berlin as the Premier League heads to Germany with a genuine German to show off for the first time ever.
Max Hopp is this week’s ‘contender’ and will have the home crowd firmly behind him against Raymond van Barneveld.
There are four other tasty contest as well, including Michael van Gerwen taking on Daryl Gurney and James Wade meeting Peter Wright.
Judgement night is looming and although Van Barneveld looks doomed, things could still turn around at the foot of the table.
Michael van Gerwen goes top of the table on legs won against the throw, with Cross narrowly behind.
Price's first loss of the year sees him drop out of the top four. #Unibet180 pic.twitter.com/LRaVOwKJj6
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) March 14, 2019
Gerwyn Price vs Rob Cross
Gerwyn Price is looking to recover from his first loss (Picture: Action Plus via Getty Images)
Gerwyn Price’s unbeaten run came crumbling down as he was comfortably swatted aside by Van Gerwen last week and he is now out of the all-important top four.
In contrast, Rob Cross was fantastic last Thursday as he hammered Van Barneveld and sits level with MVG at the top of the pile.
Price continued his impressive floor form at the weekend, but it is Cross who is throwing the better arrows on the stage, and currently boasts the highest tournament average of anyone (101.13).
Head-to-head record: Cross 3-2 Price
Last meeting: 22 Apr 2018 – Cross 3-6 Price – Austrian Darts Open
Odds: 6/5 Cross vs Price 9/5 (Draw 10/3)
Results last week: Cross 7-3 Van Barneveld / Price 2-7 Van Gerwen
Best Premier League finish: Cross SF 2018 / Price #10 2018
World Ranking: Cross #2 / Price #7
James Wade vs Peter Wright
Peter Wright looks to have found some form (Picture: Action Plus via Getty Images)
This should be a slug-fest of the highest quality between two men with very realistic hopes of grabbing a semi-final spot.
Wade had been in sensational form but produced a really below-par performance out of nowhere last week as he slumped to defeat to Mensur Suljovic.
We can expect a lot more from the ‘Machine’ this time round, and he will have to come up with much better as Wright is throwing very nicely.
There is next to nothing in this one and plenty will be backing the draw here.
Head-to-head record: Wade 18 – 17 Wright
Last meeting: 03 Feb 2019 – Wade 11-9 Wright – The Masters
Odds: 13/8 Wade vs Wright 13/10 (Draw 10/3)
Results last week: Wade 3-7 Suljovic / Wright 6-6 Gurney
Best Premier League finish: Wade Winner 2009 / Wright Runner-Up 2017
World Ranking: Wade #9 / Wright #3
Michael van Gerwen vs Daryl Gurney
Daryl Gurney is in need of a result in Berlin (Picture: Michael Cooper)
Daryl Gurney got himself back off the canvas last week, bouncing back from winning just one leg in two matches to pinch a draw against Peter Wright.
The Northern Irishman has really lacked consistency over the campaign so far, but a run to a Players Championship final on Saturday would have given him a boost.
MVG has not been at his best at all this tournament, even when he got back to winning ways last week against Price he didn’t look great.
‘Mighty Mike’ is rightfully favourite, but unless he picks up his average significantly from the 96 he chucked in Nottingham, Gurney looks a huge price at 7/1.
Head-to-head record: Van Gerwen 18 – 3 Gurney (1 draw)
Last meeting: 25 Nov 2018 – Van Gerwen 9-11 Gurney – Players Championship Finals
Odds: 2/7 Van Gerwen vs Gurney 7/1 (Draw 6/1)
Results last week: Van Gerwen 7-2 Price / Gurney 6-6 Wright
Best Premier League finish: Van Gerwen Winner 2013,’16,’17,’18 / Gurney 5th 2018
World Ranking: Van Gerwen #1 / Gurney #5
Michael Smith vs Mensur Suljovic
Michael Smith is looking for some consistency (Picture: Michael Cooper)
One of the lower key matches of the night but this will be crucial in the hunt for a top four spot, with the loser really struggling to make it, and potentially in a relegation fight.
Neither man has regularly produced their best so far this campaign, with Smith especially struggling to hit his sensational best form.
If ‘Bully Boy’ can find his rhythm then he is the better player, but he has shown few signs of it in recent weeks.
The Austrian was fantastic last week in beating James Wade, his best performance of the competition, and if he can repeat that then he will win.
Head-to-head record: Smith 6-8 Suljovic
Last meeting: 15 Feb 2018 – Smith 7-2 Suljovic – Premier League
Odds: 6/5 Smith vs Suljovic 7/4 (Draw 16/5)
Results last week: Smith 7-2 Aspinall / Suljovic 7-3 Wade
Best Premier League finish: Smith Runner-Up 2018 / Suljovic 9th 2018
World Ranking: Smith #6 / Suljovic #8
Max Hopp vs Raymond van Barneveld
Max Hopp is making his Premier League debut (Picture: PA)
The crowd will be well lubricated by the time the main event comes around and the Berlin arena will be deafening as Max Hopp makes his way to the stage.
The German number one has the chance to become even more of a hero to his adoring public by putting another nail in Raymond van Barneveld’s Premier League coffin.
‘Barney’ showed signs of life as he reached the final of Players Championship 8 on Sunday, but in the Premier League he has been largely woeful.
This is such a hard one to call, as the odds suggest, but Hopp might just be worth a flutter.
Head-to-head record: Hopp 2-2 Van Barneveld
Last meeting: 03 Jun 2018 – Hopp 0-4 Van Barneveld – World Cup
Odds: 7/5 Hopp vs Van Barneveld 6/4 (Draw 10/3)
Results last week: N/A / Van Barneveld 3-7 Cross
Best Premier League finish: N/A / Winner 2014
World Ranking: Hopp #29 / Van Barneveld #32
[metro-link url=”https://metro.co.uk/2019/03/20/rob-cross-bans-darts-wonderkid-leighton-bennett-girlfriend-8955893/” title=”Rob Cross bans darts wonderkid Leighton Bennett from having a girlfriend”]
[metro-link url=”https://metro.co.uk/2019/03/19/daryl-gurney-details-grim-crowd-abuse-premier-league-darts-8906208/” title=”Daryl Gurney details grim crowd abuse at Premier League Darts”]