Premier League Darts 2021: Wayne Mardle ponders who might be eliminated and what is making for such an open competition

Wayne Mardle is back ahead of the Premier League Darts resumption, to reveal who he feels will be eliminated and the factor behind what is making for such a keenly contested competition where the top nine players are separated by just three points.

It feels like it might be the most open Premier League ever. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to what is going to happen on any particular night.

Everyone has been beaten and we are only five nights in!

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Premier League Darts: Mardle’s Night Six predictions

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I am not picking out any one player, because you can pick almost any player and say similar things.

Look at Peter Wright – he plays poorly one night and then averages 107 the following night and then plays poorly again. The same with Michael van Gerwen, who is virtually identical to that.

Jonny Clayton was flying. We are thinking this man might go unbeaten and then he got beat with a mediocre performance. At times, Gary Anderson has looked a million dollars but at other times, he’s been Mardle-like – and that is not a good thing!

James Wade had a spell and it also fell apart, while Jose De Sousa played great but didn’t pick up the points he thought he could have.

I am concerned for Glen because he might feel that he could go pointless, and that would mark him as a bad Premier League player – he isn’t, he is the reigning champ so it needs to be in context.

We are seeing people play well – Jonny Clayton, Nathan Aspinall, Dimitri Van den Bergh and Rob Cross – but we are not seeing anyone show brilliance night-in, night out.

It’s a tough competition as you are playing the best players day-in, day-out so you are not getting any kind of moment off and sometimes all you need to be ‘off’ for is three or four throws in a match and it can be gone.

The pressure is on the guys – they have to perform

Debutants making their mark

The three guys making their debut have been absolutely magnificent and I think that’s contributing to it being so close.

Clayton was looking unbeatable on a number of occasions and Dimitri Van den Bergh was the last man to be beaten – he has got such a good ‘B’ game and his top level is wonderful, up there with anyone else playing.

Jose de Sousa is in ninth spot, but is he the ninth-best player in the league at the moment? No, he is not, he has actually been a little bit unlucky with his timing being slightly off and his counting is pathetic but it’s always pathetic and I think he will pull himself out of things in the next four nights.

He can’t carry on playing the way he has been and keep losing, within two nights he can pull himself out of trouble and into a play-off spot within two nights – that’s the nature of this Premier League.

Likewise if Jonny wins his next two games, there could be a gap and gaps will start to appear in the league table as we go on.

When it happens, we’ll say, ‘yeah, we saw that coming’ but at the moment, with five games down, I have not learned an awful lot.

The only thing I have learned is that Clayton, Van den Bergh and De Sousa are 100% ready for the Premier League.

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Behind closed doors levels the field

Playing behind closed doors has changed things – of course it has. Michael van Gerwen isn’t playing as well as he was a couple of years ago. I am not putting that down to no fans, but I don’t think it helps him.

Jose de Sousa, Jonny Clayton and especially Dimitri Van den Bergh are thriving in this kind of atmosphere. Dimitri sometimes really likes to take his time, Rob Cross is going that way and it can only help those who have been making their debut because there is far less pressure.

Van Gerwen, Aspinall and Price have all said ‘I want the crowd back’ so does it make a difference? I believe it does.

Michael wants the fans there, and even more so he needs them there. Gerwyn Price has said since being world champion ‘I need the fans back,’ Peter Wright is the same, and even the walk-ons we’ve seen don’t feel the same.

Mardle’s predictions – Who will be eliminated?

I am taking on Mark Webster, and let me just say this Webby cares a lot more about this than I do!

Premier League Darts predictions: Mardle vs Webster

Actually, I hide my competitive nature quite well. Outwardly, I will give it ‘who cares?!’ but inwardly I am telling myself I cannot be beaten by the Welsh wizard, that would be wrong.

In terms of who gets eliminated, I think it’s Glen Durrant and James Wade and as for Night Six on Monday when we are back, I think Gary Anderson beats Rob Cross and Jose de Sousa beats James Wade.

The top two meet and I think Dimitri Van den Bergh will get the better of Jonny Clayton before Michael van Gerwen beats the defending champ Glen Durrant, and Nathan Aspinall will be too strong for Peter Wright.

Don’t miss an arrow thrown with Sky Sports as Premier League Darts resumes on Monday April 19 at 7pm on Sky Sports Action – and stick with us for build-up this for updates, interviews and reaction from start of this year’s competition.

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