Raymond van Barneveld and Michael van Gerwen return home, as the action gets underway live on Sky Sports Action from 7pm on Wednesday
By Josh Gorton
Last Updated: 25/03/19 4:21pm
The Premier League goes Double Dutch this week with a huge double-header in Rotterdam on Wednesday and Thursday, as one player faces elimination on Judgement Night.
Raymond van Barneveld is currently bottom of the table but his hopes of avoiding the drop in his farewell campaign were given a boost last week, as he claimed his first win of the season at the expense of contender Max Hopp.
The five-time world champion trails last year’s finalist Michael Smith by one point with two matches remaining, as ‘Bully Boy’ bids to avoid the second Premier League elimination of his career.
However, only Rob Cross and Michael van Gerwen are mathematically assured of safety heading to the Ahoy Arena, with seven players separated by just four points.
Elsewhere, World Youth champion Dimitri Van den Bergh is the penultimate contender to feature in this year’s event and he takes on James Wade on Wednesday, with ‘The Machine’ looking to preserve his top four status.
Live Premier League Darts
March 27, 2019, 7:00pm
Gerwyn Price vs Michael Smith
Head-to-head record: Price 5-11 Smith
The evening’s opener could have huge repercussions for the battle to avoid elimination, as Gerwyn Price takes on Smith.
‘The Iceman’ enjoyed a strong start to his campaign but he’s lost his last two fixtures against Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross, which has seen him slip to sixth position in the table.
The Welshman has not registered a ton-plus average in this year’s Premier League since the opening week, therefore he’ll be aiming to relaunch his play-off push on Dutch soil.
Smith produced the worst performance of his campaign against Mensur Suljovic last week, averaging just 85 in a 7-2 defeat. However, the St Helen’s star will be buoyed by the fact he’s won 11 of his 16 meetings against the Grand Slam champion.
James Wade vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
Head-to-head record: Wade 1-2 Van den Bergh
World Youth champion Van den Bergh will hope to become the first contender to register a victory in this year’s Premier League when he faces an in-form Wade at the Ahoy Arena.
‘The Machine’ currently occupies third spot as he seeks to reach the play-offs for the first time since 2013 and only Cross boasts a higher tournament average than the nine-time major winner.
Van den Bergh is renowned for producing his best form on the big stage but he’s enjoyed a strong start to 2019, reaching his first senior ranking final in a Players Championship event last month.
The Belgian has also won two of his three meetings against Wade, but the 2009 Premier League champion has won their only previous televised tussle at the World Series of Darts Finals in November 2017.
Rob Cross vs Mensur Suljovic
Head-to-head record: Cross 5-5 Suljovic
Two of the league’s most in-form stars collide in the evening’s third match, as table-topper Cross takes on Suljovic.
‘Voltage’ is two points clear at the summit and is arguably producing his best darts since being crowned world champion on New Year’s Day in 2018.
Cross has posted ton-plus averages in six of his seven league games this term and he enjoyed a fine run to the European Darts Open final over the weekend, as he now sets his sights on a fifth consecutive Premier League win.
However, Suljovic has won three of his last four games to move into fourth spot and although the pair cannot be separated in terms of their overall head-to-head record, Suljovic has won five of the last six and each of their last four meetings.
Peter Wright vs Michael van Gerwen
Head-to-head record: Wright 15-53 Van Gerwen
Peter Wright and Van Gerwen will collide in Rotterdam for the second straight year, as ‘Snakebite’ aims to repeat his heroics from 12 months ago.
The Scot endured a largely disappointing 2018 Premier League but he still became the first player to complete the league double over Van Gerwen after toppling ‘The Green Machine’ on home soil.
Wright currently sits in fifth position on legs difference despite losing just one of his opening seven fixtures, whilst Van Gerwen’s hopes of topping the league phase for the seventh straight year are in jeopardy as he trails Cross by two points.
The reigning Premier League champion has picked up just three points from his last four fixtures but he returned to winning ways in Leverkusen over the weekend, defeating Price, Suljovic and Cross en route to scooping his 29th European Tour title.
Raymond van Barneveld vs Daryl Gurney
Head-to-head record: Van Barneveld 3-2 Gurney
Van Barneveld rounds-off Wednesday’s action in Rotterdam against Players Champion Daryl Gurney and depending on the outcome of Price and Smith’s tie, Barney may need to win to keep his survival hopes alive.
The Dutchman has struggled for form throughout his final Premier League campaign but he’s enjoyed a revival over recent weeks, reaching his first Pro Tour final since 2015 and claiming his first league win over home hero Hopp in Berlin.
Gurney appeared in danger of elimination after suffering 7-1 and 7-0 defeats against Cross and Wade respectively, but the Northern Irishman has responded by following up a hard-fought draw with Wright by stunning Van Gerwen 7-5 in Berlin.
‘Super Chin’ is now just one point below the play-off places and his survival will be guaranteed if he avoids defeat against Van Barneveld, but Barney will be desperate to maintain his unbeaten Premier League record in Rotterdam.
What comes next? Night Eight – Wednesday, March 27 – Rotterdam Ahoy
|Gerwyn Price||vs||Michael Smith|
|James Wade||vs||Dimitri van den Bergh|
|Rob Cross||vs||Mensur Suljovic|
|Peter Wright||vs||Michael van Gerwen|
|Raymond van Barneveld||vs||Daryl Gurney|
The Premier League heads to Rotterdam Ahoy for a double-header of tungsten on Wednesday, March 27 & Thursday, March 28. You can also stay up to date with all the action by following us @SkySportsDarts and get all the latest news, previews and interviews www.skysports.com/darts