Premier League Darts 2021: Wayne Mardle gives his verdict on this year's 10 contenders

Monday 5th April 2021 07:15 BST

Do you know what? I'm so unsure about so many players…

I keep looking and making my table of predictions and then I think, hang on a minute. I can't settle because if I'm honest, I had Glen Durrant mid-table last year and he ended up winning the league and only Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen have done that.

I believe we've got Michael van Gerwen, Nathan Aspinall, Rob Cross and Glen Durrant all unhappy with the way that they are playing. Peter Wright you can add into that… I know that he played well last week but that's the first time in quite a while [he has done that].

Gary Anderson goes home from these events and he doesn't seem to be one thing or the other. He hates losing and he tries so hard all of the time when he's competing. He hates losing, but he left the spring series early.

Dimitri Van den Bergh has to still be injured with his knee, has to. I was reading that it takes about six months to feel normal about [a knee injury] again and yet he was on his leg within six days and playing! I couldn't quite believe that. I think that Jose de Sousa has dropped a level again.

I'm not putting everyone down here! I'm just saying that it's going to be difficult to predict!

Gerwyn Price was on Instagram saying that he can't get motivated on the day of a tour event. That was the same day that Gary Anderson went home, and it was also the same day that Michael van Gerwen didn't even turn up!

I think it's impossible to call. The one who is clearly, clearly really enjoying himself is Jonny Clayton.

Nathan Aspinall, Rob Cross and Glen Durrant, they're not playing well. Aspinall has said at the start of this year that it's a big year for him. Once you start worrying about that, maybe he feels he can't produce like he did last year and the year before.

Durrant, the reigning Premier League champion, his game is in turmoil, his mind is in turmoil and he's not in a good place. Everything has changed for him... he's packed up work, he's always worked and now he is not. I don't know what to expect.

All I know is that I think Michael van Gerwen and Gerwyn Price are going to be really hard to keep out of the top four, that's all I know!

As for last year....

I'm looking at last year's table and I look at the way Glen finished it… I'm looking at some of the draws he had and thinking if they'd have gone the other way. There were five draws in there and I believe that he could have lost all five.

I'm thinking what if some of the other matches went the other way and then he wouldn't have made the top four. I'm looking at Van Gerwen and thinking that he was doing alright and then it all fell apart.

Gary went on this brilliant run and I expect him to do that again this year, because the way that the Premier League is - it is going to be played in blocks of four or five - Gary actually said that it does him a favour and helps him get into some form.

I think we're going to see a lot of that this year, I think that we're going to see a lot of players go on these runs - maybe losing a few before winning three or four games.

Michael Smith went on a dismal run towards the end, he was doing absolutely fine and then it came to week nine or 10 and it all went wrong for him. Rob Cross started off okay and then got worse. Daryl Gurney just couldn't put enough wins together.

I think that this is the year where they're going to share it out, I really do. Do you remember a couple of years ago when you could predict the winners straight off the bat? It's not about the fact that I don't have confidence in any of them now, I just think that the darting landscape at the moment at the very top, a lot of them are not comfortable on the dart board. It's so difficult to call.

Prediction Time

Looking back at last year Rob Cross kicked off with a draw and a win, and he was in the top four after three weeks. Then, it all went wrong so things do change!

My top four, are people who are all world champions, we've got Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price second, Gary Anderson third and Peter Wright fourth.

I may have got every one of them wrong, there are cases to get them all wrong. Gary Anderson could lose interest, Gerwyn Price will be there fighting so will Van Gerwen, but he was fighting last year and came sixth!

Peter Wright for me, I've got absolutely no idea where his form is.

These top four players are hard to keep out when they're playing well.

And the winner is......

Michael van Gerwen, I still think that he's the best player on the planet, whether he is playing like it or not, I don't know! I just think he is the best.

Most in trouble? The one that stands out is Glen Durrant. He has spoken about his concerns with his game and he has not got a lot of confidence right now.

I don't want to say that he's going to get eliminated and that's fact, but I do believe that Glen, Rob Cross and Nathan Aspinall are going to have to improve.

All three of them need something to change. Whether it takes one, two or three weeks to keep Aspinall, Cross and Duzza out of the elimination places. I think that it's going to be really tough for them.

Watch the 2021 Premier League live on Sky Sports - the action gets underway on Monday April 5 with five consecutive nights of action from the Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes.

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