The Premier League Darts reaches its climax at the O2 Arena this Thursday, with an enthralling night of arrows in store.
Who will win the 2014 Premier League?
Michael van Gerwen, Raymond van Barneveld, Phil Taylor and Gary Anderson will compete for the title on a night that will see two semi-finals and the final played out in front of a capacity crowd. The last man standing will take home a cheque for £150,000 and the prestigious Premier League trophy.
In the first match of the evening, Taylor and Van Barneveld will add another chapter to their long, illustrious rivalry as they battle for a spot in the final. In the second, Van Gerwen and Anderson will stage what promises to be a rousing clash.
Here’s all the information you need on where to catch the final night of the Premier League live via a stream:
Date: May 22, 2014
Fixtures: Phil Taylor vs. Raymond van Barneveld, Michael van Gerwen vs. Gary Anderson
Live Stream Info: Sky Go App (UK)
|1||Michael van Gerwen||16||11||2||3||+27||24|
|2||Raymond van Barneveld||16||7||6||3||+16||20|
Taylor and Anderson both secured their place at the playoffs night following wins in their final regular-season fixtures. Taylor managed to get the better of Robert Thornton 7-5 in Brighton, whilst Anderson overcame a tricky looking tie with van Barneveld with consummate ease, running out a 7-4 winner.
The 16-time world champion Taylor has endured a tough Premier League this time round. He struggled for form in the early stages of the competition—losing four of his opening five games—before putting together a strong run in the latter stages to progress for the knockout phase.
Given his unshakeably stellar reputation in the game, "The Power" remains many people's favourite to win the Premier League for an unprecedented seventh time, but it’ll be intriguing to see how he fares after a season of peaks and troughs.
Nonetheless, Taylor took to Twitter earlier this week to express his excitement ahead of the playoffs:
Really looking forward to the premier league finals on Thursday a great three months of darts with a great finals night.— Phil Taylor (@PhilDTaylor) May 17, 2014
Standing between him and a place in the final is longstanding adversary Van Barneveld. The Dutchman was back to his best in this season’s Premier League, with only compatriot Van Gerwen topping him in the final Premier League standings.
Having faced each other in countless classic matches down the years, these two will surely put on another show for the London crowd.
After securing his place in the final four, Taylor insisted this clash would be “another ding-dong,” per Razwan Mirza of Sky Sports, and given the incomparable experience at the very highest level that these two have, don’t be surprised to see the winner of the tournament come from this semi-final.
But you suspect that both Anderson and Van Gerwen will have plenty to say about that, two players who have outstanding pedigree when it comes to the Premier League themselves.
Anderson won the tournament back in 2011 and will be hoping to repeat the feat again here. The man dubbed “The Flying Scotsman,” who takes to the oche in a myriad of garish shirts, is a bit of a streaky player, but if he catches fire on finals night, then he’ll be difficult to stop.
But he’ll have to be at this absolute best if he is to halt Van Gerwen, who was the outstanding player in the Premier League this season. The current world champion finished four points clear of the triumvirate of players who will make up the semi-final line-up, and it’s the 25-year-old Dutchman who appears to be in the best form ahead of the playoffs.
Here's Van Gerwen discussing the event, courtesy of the PDC’s Twitter account:
Expect a frantic contest to be played out between these two players, who love to score big and inject a devastatingly quick rhythm into their play.
Overall, it's hard to see past Taylor and Van Gerwen progressing to what would be a mouthwatering final. The Dutchman knows what it takes to win these big, televised tournaments now and he'll have too much for Anderson, whilst a refreshed and refocused Taylor looks set to see off Barney.
Here's what happened when "The Power" and "MvG" met in Week 1 of the Premier League:
The final will be scintillating to watch, and after coming on strongly in the latter stages of the competition, Taylor has build up a strong momentum ahead of the playoffs. If it's a straight scrap between Taylor and Van Gerwen for the title, expect the former to emerge victorious.