Premier League Darts: Wayne Mardle’s Play-Off Predictions with Gerwyn Price, Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen and Jonny Clayton in action | Darts News

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Wayne Mardle is back! He gives us his predictions ahead of this year's Premier League Darts Play-Offs at London's O2

Wayne Mardle is back! He gives us his predictions ahead of this year’s Premier League Darts Play-Offs at London’s O2

He’s back! Wayne Mardle serves up his Premier League Darts Play-Off Predictions with Gerwyn Price, Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen and Jonny Clayton in action at London’s O2.

We’re in the capital for what should be a decisive night of tungsten drama with the four best players in this season’s competition all fighting for glory.

Table-topper Price will play his compatriot and 2021 champion Clayton in an all-Welsh semi-final, before world No 1 Smith and Van Gerwen lock horns in a repeat of January’s world championship decider.

The respective semi-final winners will then advance to the evening’s showpiece, as the battle to scoop the £275,000 top prize reaches a thrilling climax.

Finals Night in London: Thursday, May 25

Semi-Finals (Best of 19 legs) Gerwyn Price vs Jonny Clayton
Michael Smith vs Michael van Gerwen
Final (Best of 21 legs) Price/Clayton vs Smith/Van Gerwen

Mardle answers the key questions and then looks deep into his crystal ball to pick out this year’s winner…

Have we got the best four players?

Clayton, Price, Smith and Van Gerwen will go for glory at the Play-Offs

Clayton, Price, Smith and Van Gerwen will go for glory at the Play-Offs

“We have because Nathan Aspinall at times was scoring better than anyone, but unfortunately he had the worst double-hitting stats in the league phase and Jonny Clayton had the best. The other three were winning back-to-back weeks and they’ve won more weeks than the others as well so it worked out right.”

Is Van Gerwen fully fit?

“If he feels fit enough to compete then he’ll play and he may possibly think that he doesn’t have to be 100 per cent to win it anyway because he’s that good and he could be right, couldn’t he?”

Wayne Mardle says MVG might not have to be 100%

“I hope Van Gerwen is fully fit because he wasn’t last Thursday which was a mini-darting disaster. He pulled out against Dimitri Van den Bergh but then played at the Player Championship at the weekend, which surprised me. He was indifferent, so take from that what you will. I just hope he’s 100 per cent.

“I don’t know if he’ll be 100 per cent but I was just surprised he played at the weekend because I tried to speak to him the minute he came off after suffering the injury during his win against Chris Dobey and I said ‘What’s up, are you okay?’ He just said ‘the pain, the pain’ and that was it, I didn’t get anymore out of him.

“If he feels fit enough to compete then he’ll play and he may possibly think that he doesn’t have to be 100 per cent to win it anyway because he’s that good and he could be right, couldn’t he?”

Van Gerwen overcame Chris Dobey in the quarter-final on Night 16 of the Premier League in Aberdeen but seemed to pick up an injury along the way

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Van Gerwen overcame Chris Dobey in the quarter-final on Night 16 of the Premier League in Aberdeen but seemed to pick up an injury along the way

Van Gerwen overcame Chris Dobey in the quarter-final on Night 16 of the Premier League in Aberdeen but seemed to pick up an injury along the way

Can Smith and MVG serve up another classic?

Watch how Wayne Mardle and Stuart Pyke reacted to the sensational leg between MVG and Smith in the World Championship Final that culminated in a nine-darter for Bully Boy

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Watch how Wayne Mardle and Stuart Pyke reacted to the sensational leg between MVG and Smith in the World Championship Final that culminated in a nine-darter for Bully Boy

Watch how Wayne Mardle and Stuart Pyke reacted to the sensational leg between MVG and Smith in the World Championship Final that culminated in a nine-darter for Bully Boy

“If they get it right on the night, I think there’s going to be a nine-darter. We haven’t seen one in the Premier League yet but I think they’re going to get one.

“I think it will probably be Smith against Van Gerwen. I’m putting my nail to the mast because at worst I think Price and Clayton can produce the absolute last-leg humdinger, but Smith can feel comfortable playing MVG.

“Why can’t it be one of the greatest nights of Premier League Play-Offs? We’ve seen some pearlers in the past.”

Why Price vs Clayton could be the game of the night and what’s with Price’s change in attitude?

Price recorded his highest Premier League average on the way to winning Night 11 in Brighton

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Price recorded his highest Premier League average on the way to winning Night 11 in Brighton

Price recorded his highest Premier League average on the way to winning Night 11 in Brighton

“They both seem to play decent against each other and after Clayton won a Pro Tour event at the weekend, he’s obviously feeling very good about himself.

“Price has shown better quality than anyone else in the Premier League this year so far and he’s shown it more often which is why he finished top of the table and appeared in nine finals… nine finals in 16 weeks. That’s incredible!

“He’s been a little clever after what happened with the ear defenders at the Worlds before playing poorly at The Masters and he didn’t start off particularly well in the Premier League until he played in Cardiff. That’s possibly turned his career around because before that night and even on that night, he was looking a little down.

“He’s tried to ingratiate himself with the audiences. He’s been wearing the colours of the country and he’s playing with a smile on his face, but he’s still bringing that aggressive nature of his to the stage, which he has to be.

“You can see sometimes he gets annoyed, but he’s not retaliating in a way that he’s inciting the audience. Whatever he’s doing at the moment and can carry it on for an elongated period players might not get much change out of him.

“This is why I think we could have two great games because you have that freedom at the start to fall 4-0 down, but in a race to 10 or 11 in the final, it’s not done and dusted and I think we’ll see a lot of good darts.”

Speaking on Love The Darts, Michael Bridge and Dan Dawson talk about how much Price is enjoying playing on his current run of form

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Speaking on Love The Darts, Michael Bridge and Dan Dawson talk about how much Price is enjoying playing on his current run of form

Speaking on Love The Darts, Michael Bridge and Dan Dawson talk about how much Price is enjoying playing on his current run of form

Can we expect a nine-darter?

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there was one, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if there was two.”

Mardle is expects a flurry of nine-darters at The O2

“We don’t know how anyone’s going to play but we can only assume that all four are going to play well because this is what they do. It comes down to doubles hit and doubles missed.

“I’m excited about it because you have three world champions and a former Premier League champion in Clayton. These guys are the very, very best in the world! They’re all watchable, so expect something to happen.

“Listen, I predict a nine-darter every single day. I want them going in and like I say, I think Smith and Van Gerwen is a match that’s right for it.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there was one, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if there was two.

“I just can’t see the night being one of those nights that doesn’t live long in the memory. They will all believe they can win it.”

Remember when Price hit two nine-dart finishes on one night in Belfast?

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Remember when Price hit two nine-dart finishes on one night in Belfast?

Remember when Price hit two nine-dart finishes on one night in Belfast?

Who wins?

Michael Smith is a 'different animal' after winning the world championship in January

Michael Smith is a ‘different animal’ after winning the world championship in January

“I’m going to go with Michael Smith. I’ve still got this doubt hanging over my head regarding Van Gerwen and Smith doesn’t fear him anymore. I don’t think he panics about things like he used to but the way he took care of him in the world championship that’s now done and dusted, he’s got that knowledge of being ‘I’m the best player on the planet, I’m the world champion, why can’t I add the Premier League?’

“Smith is a different animal nowadays. He’s so good under pressure, the composure he shows, and if he throws a bad dart he doesn’t care. He just gets on with it. There’s a lot to like about Smith at the moment.”

Ahead of the 2023 Premier League Play-Offs in London, take a look back at one of the best games ever played as Phil Taylor took on James Wade at Wembley Arena

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Ahead of the 2023 Premier League Play-Offs in London, take a look back at one of the best games ever played as Phil Taylor took on James Wade at Wembley Arena

Ahead of the 2023 Premier League Play-Offs in London, take a look back at one of the best games ever played as Phil Taylor took on James Wade at Wembley Arena

Still a fan of the format?

Dimitri Van den Bergh says it's been a crazy year in the Premier League after he won Night 16 in Aberdeen

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Dimitri Van den Bergh says it’s been a crazy year in the Premier League after he won Night 16 in Aberdeen

Dimitri Van den Bergh says it’s been a crazy year in the Premier League after he won Night 16 in Aberdeen

“It’s the second year and I’m unsure. Don’t forget that I’m in a position to watch it from inside the ropes, so during the games I’m watching every single dart. When you are inside the ropes, you look at it very, very differently. I really enjoyed it and I like the fact come the very last week, Dimitri Van den Bergh was still so upbeat about winning, while in the league phase format there’s nothing to go for. He played for the win on the night, the prize money and he actually moved up a spot, so if you look at it like that, it’s good for the players.

“As a viewer, it can get monotonous. Smith and Van Gerwen have played each other four times in the Premier League already, so the viewer might think ‘I’m sick of it’. But these are the best players going at it week in, week out.

“Clayton and Price will be playing each other for a sixth time on Thursday in 17 weeks so I get the pros and cons but the Premier League has had six or seven different formats over its period since 2005. There’s not a perfect format and if there is, someone would have though of it or they’ll come up with it.”

Watch the conclusion of this season’s Premier League Darts action at London’s O2 on Thursday, May 25 – live on Sky Sports Action from 7pm.

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