The World Matchplay gets underway at the Winter Gardens at Blackpool where the Top 32 players compete for the title.
Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor will be looking to continue his exemplary record at the tournament. However the 16-time World Champion may find it difficult considering his draw.
The Potteries thrower is in the third quarter and faces John Henderson in the first round. In the second round he could face a potential tie against Raymond van Barneveld. If he gets through that then a quarter-final against Dave Chisnall or Robert Thornton is likely to be on the cards. That alone looks tricky but he has won his last 35 games on this stage.
Michael van Gerwen looks to have an easier time of things with a potential tie with the in-form Jelle Klaasen in the quarter-finals. That tie could prove to be the banana skin for MvG. From 16 meetings ‘Mighty Mike’ has won nine with Klaasen winning seven, so it won’t be straightforward. But we know the form he can hit and if hitting it, he could be unstoppable.
Premier League and World Champion Gary Anderson has been the most backed outright winner for this tournament. He has been battling with illness in the build-up to the tournament and that may have plagued his practice. He could have a tricky second round match before a potential meeting with James Wade in the quarters therefore it isn’t straightforward.
In the second quarter of the draw is the player that could be overpriced. Peter Wright has returned to form since a disappointing Premier League campaign. Since then he has changed his darts, yet again, and he has won a Players Championship while reaching the finals of the World Cup and Japan Darts.
The World number five has struggled in this tournament in previous years with a second round his best performance. This year won’t be easy considering his draw. He faces a rejuvenated Kim Huybrechts in the first round before a potential meeting with Mervyn King or Andrew Gilding. If through those two matches he could face Adrian Lewis or Michael Smith, the latter who has come of age in recent months.
Don’t get me wrong it is a big ask for ‘Snakebite’ but he looks to be somewhere back to his best and at his price could be too big.
Phil Taylor – 10/3 win
Peter Wright – 33/1 each-way
Small stakes on this but Name The Finalists – Peter Wright v Phil Taylor – 28/1 (Betfair)
Michael van Gerwen 1st Quarter Winner – 4/9
Peter Wright 2nd Quarter Winner – 7/2
Phil Taylor 3rd Quarter Winner – 8/11
James Wade 4th Quarter Winner – 7/2