It’s a big week in darts world as the 2021 renewal of the PDC Premier League Premier of Darts finally gets underway. What’s more, we’re fast-tracking the first nine-game nights, which are normally spread over nine weeks touring the UK and various overseas stops, and instead playing them out in two-week-long batches.
Unfortunately, there will still be no crowds present but, with over half the adult population of the UK having already received their first vaccinations and the nation slowly creaking out of the latest lockdown, there is hope that, come the playoffs at least, maybe we can get some crowds into venues.
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For now, though, Sky Sports is the place to watch this year’s event which had been due to begin at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on February 4 but will now be played in its entirety at the now extremely familiar Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Nothing has been announced regarding the dates and venue(s) of the second phase of the competition, but at least it’s a start.
What darts fans can expect for the Darts Premier League
As ever, the first stage of the competition will pit each of the 10 darters involved against each other across nine fixtures. Games remain the best of 12 legs and wins are worth two points with draws rewarding just one.
By the end of those first nine nights, the bottom two players in the standings will be eliminated just as they would have been under normal conditions.
Last year’s winner Glen Durrant is joined by world champion Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright, Rob Cross, Nathan Aspinall, Gary Anderson and Michael van Gerwen who all return from last year’s competition which leaves us with three new comers. These Premier League debutants are Jose de Sousa, Dimitri Van Den Bergh and Jonny Clayton.
Normally, when a player gives a bad performance they have a week to fix things but, with such a fast and furious schedule, this isn’t the case this year and players need to be in form five nights in a row.
Of course, by the end of the second batch of games, which doesn’t begin until April the 19th, everyone will have played each other, but these first five nights could really prove crucial.
Perhaps this is why Michael van Gerwen, now no longer the world number one, is still a favourite at bet365 with a price of 9/4.
Mighty Mike gets his tournament underway in the last game of the night on Monday against Dimitri van den Bergh. Should a player get off to good start, then momentum will be everything and I think MVG will see off DVDB with comparative ease.
The following night he takes on Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright before coming up against Rob Cross on Wednesday, by which point he could have sailed clear.
The big hitter lands on Thursday when he takes on Gerwyn Price, a 12/5 shot for the outright tourney win, and the world number one.
The Iceman, however, has a tougher opener taking on Gary Anderson on Monday in a repeat of the PDC World Championship final back in January. Playing Rob Cross in a game he will surely win on the Tuesday, Price then walks into a tough match against outside hopeful and 2020 runner-up, Nathan Aspinall.
The Asp is a fairly generous 20/1 to win the Darts Premier League, with only reigning champion Glen Durrant (20/1) and early elimination favourite Rob Cross (40/1 to win) deemed to be a less likely tournament winner.
To me, that seems harsh and an each way in the Asp might prove to be worthwhile.
Elsewhere, Peter Wright can be picked up for 5/1, but I wouldn’t be touching that.
bet365 have stamped odds of 11/1 each on Jonny Clayton, Dimitri van den Bergh and Gary Anderson. Jose De Sousa is available for 16/1, but it really should come to the world’s best two and who has the kinder fixture list in week one. I think that’s MVG, and I think he could be clear at the top by Friday night.
If so, his odds on overall success in the 2021 Darts Premier League will only reduce sharply so it might be prudent to get on the Dutchman now.
2021 Darts Premier League First Nine Night Fixtures
Night 1 – Monday, 5th of April
- Nathan Aspinall vs Glen Durrant
- Rob Cross vs Jose de Sousa
- Peter Wright vs Jonny Clayton
- Gerwyn Price vs Gary Anderson
- Michael van Gerwen vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
Night 2 – Tuesday, 6th of April
- Gary Anderson vs Jose de Sousa
- Jonny Clayton vs Glen Durrant
- Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Nathan Aspinall
- Michael van Gerwen vs Peter Wright
- Gerwyn Price vs Rob Cross
Night 3 – Wednesday, 7th of April
- Rob Cross vs Michael van Gerwen
- Glen Durrant vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
- Peter Wright vs Gary Anderson
- Nathan Aspinall vs Gerwyn Price
- Jose de Sousa vs Jonny Clayton
Night 4 – Thursday, 8th of April
- Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Peter Wright
- Jonny Clayton vs Rob Cross
- Jose de Sousa vs Nathan Aspinall
- Gerwyn Price vs Michael van Gerwen
- Gary Anderson vs Glen Durrant
Night 5 – Friday, 9th of April
- Gary Anderson vs Jonny Clayton
- Peter Wright vs Rob Cross
- Michael van Gerwen vs Nathan Aspinall
- Gerwyn Price vs Glen Durrant
- Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Jose de Sousa
Night 6 – Monday, 19th of April
- Rob Cross vs Gary Anderson
- Jose de Sousa vs Gerwyn Price
- Jonny Clayton vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
- Glen Durrant vs Michael van Gerwen
- Nathan Aspinall vs Peter Wright
Night 7 – Tuesday, 20th of April
- Glen Durrant vs Jose de Sousa
- Rob Cross vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
- Nathan Aspinall vs Jonny Clayton
- Peter Wright vs Gerwyn Price
- Michael van Gerwen vs Gary Anderson
Night 8 – Wednesday, 21st of April
- Rob Cross vs Nathan Aspinall
- Gary Anderson vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
- Michael van Gerwen vs Jose de Sousa
- Gerwyn Price vs Jonny Clayton
- Peter Wright vs Glen Durrant
Judgement Night – Thursday, 22nd of April
- Jonny Clayton vs Michael van Gerwen
- Glen Durrant vs Rob Cross
- Jose de Sousa vs Peter Wright
- Nathan Aspinall vs Gary Anderson
- Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Gerwyn Price
QUICK GLANCE AT THE 2021 DARTS PREMIER LEAGUE
Venue: Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Dates: April 5 – April 22
Format: Best of 12 legs
Current Champion: Glen Durrant
Where To Watch: Sky Sports Action
When To Watch: (1900 GMT)