• Callum Pattison

Premier League Darts: What we have learnt so far

The second phase of the 2021 PDC Darts Premier League gets underway on Monday next week. So far, the first 5 rounds of fixtures have been completed with the next 4 rounds (including Judgement Night) to be completed from the 19th-22nd of April. What have we learnt so far after the first 5 nights?

Jonny Clayton not letting up

Jonny Clayton has managed to maintain his exceptional form in 2021. After 5 games, The Ferret currently tops the table with 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss.

He opened up his Premier League campaign with his only draw so far. A closely contested tie with former World Champion Peter Wright ending 6-6. A 105.56 average wasn't enough for Clayton to pick up the extra point as Peter Wright showed just how dangerous he can be when it comes to closing out legs - Wright finished the game with 100% of doubles hit.

Perhaps the most dazzling of wins for Clayton came at the expense of Jose de Sousa. In the end, it was a 7-3 win for Jonny with a 105.26 average (108.48 average for Jose). Clayton also managed to hit the perfect leg as he threw a 9-darter in the process.

Clayton's only loss has came at the hands of Rob Cross. A 7-3 win in the end for Cross. Perhaps this was just an off-night for The Ferret.

Duzza's drought

From the highs of Jonny Clayton's current performances, last year's Premier League winner Glen Durrant appears to be at the complete other end of the spectrum.

Duzza hasn't been hitting the form that everyone knows he is capable of since he won the Premier League in October last year. Since beating Nathan Aspinall in that final, Durrant has only won 14 out of his 40 games in the PDC.

He has also suffered 5 defeats out of 5 in the Premier League this year and has been at the foot of the table since game 1. Unfortunately, there has been no signs of any improvements for Durrant and relegation from the Premier League looks extremely likely.

Hopefully Durrant will be back. Form is temporary, class is permanent.

New boys looking the part

One of the main questions on everybody's minds was how well the 3 new boys would do this season - Jonny Clayton, Dimitri van den Bergh and Jose de Sousa. It's safe to say that they are looking like threats.

As mentioned, Jonny Clayton is top of the league and appears to be the man to beat. Dimitri van den Bergh is currently in 2nd place with 2 wins, 2 draw and 1 loss. Dimi has stepped up to the plate so far and has continued to show why he is one of the best scorers in the world right now. His finishing still appears to be a weakness however, if he improves his doubling percentages, there's no reason why he can't finish in the top 4.

As for Jose de Sousa, he currently sits in 9th position. On paper, that could look worrying. However, Jose is still just 2 points off top 4 and 3 points off top place which shows how competitive the Premier League is this year.

It took Jose until his 5th game to finally record a win after a couple of draws and a couple of losses. The timing of that win against Dimitri van den Bergh could be a crucial confidence builder heading into the second block of the league.

The one question mark that will always remain over the head of de Sousa is his counting. He continues to miscount every single game and that could cost him massively in the future. Then again, he could just miscount and then plough in a 9-darter like he did against Nathan Aspinall on night 4. Two words... Box office.

Anyone's to win?

The special thing about this year's Premier League is how tightly contested it is. Unfortunately, Glen Durrant has to be taken out of the conversation unless he comes back and wins 4 out of 4 games next week.

3 points separating 9 players though is as exciting as it gets. When it is like this, leg difference is going to be a huge factor. It is literally at the point where 1 or 2 legs could be the difference between relegation and survival or the difference between finishing in the top 4 or just missing out. It's a coin flip.

It is important not to rule out some of the Premier League veterans as well who are all in the mix. Michael van Gerwen looks to be getting to the point where he could turn his game around at any moment.

Gary Anderson and Peter Wright will always be tricky players to beat and have the experience of winning major titles which could be huge for the Premier League. Rob Cross, although he's not quite back to his best, is another player who is slowly turning his fortunes around and has picked up some massive points so far.

Finally, never count out James Wade. He is the 2021 UK Open winner and is only in this year's Premier League because Gerwyn Price dropped out at the last minute due to a positive Covid-19 test.

Yes, James Wade should have been selected for the tournament originally however, the fact that he wasn't means that there is no pressure on James Wade's shoulders. That could make him a very dangerous threat to the rest of the field.

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