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Premier League Darts 2017 Week Eight preview and order of play: Make or break for bottom two

Jamie Shaw in PDC Darts News 23 Mar 2017
Huybrechts aims to secure his first win (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts face a potentially decisive evening when the Premier League heads to Manchester on Thursday, while the jostle for top four places intensifies.

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Klaasen and Huybrechts are locked level on three points at the foot of the table and find themselves three adrift of safety with just two games remaining before the cut off for elimination.

The duo each have a game in-hand on Dave Chisnall in eighth - who sits out the visit to The Manchester Arena after contesting two matches in Exeter in the absence of Michael van Gerwen.

Klaasen, who continues to battle against tendonitis in his wrist, is one leg worse off than Huybrechts and therefore props up the pile ahead of his show-down with Adrian Lewis. 

Lewis followed up his victory over Phil Taylor in Glasgow with a commanding win over Huybrechts last week to lift himself clear of danger and to within one point of the top four.

Huybrechts, meanwhile, remains the only player in the competition yet to register a win and could have his work cut out once again as he takes on a hungry Gary Anderson.

Anderson was on the wrong end of a 7-2 thrashing at the hands of home favourite Raymond van Barneveld in Rotterdam last week - a result which saw him slip to seventh in an extremely competitive table.

The world number two has a tournament average of 102.2 to the Belgian's 96.2 and will be out to all but consign him to elimination for the second time in as many campaigns.

The Manchester crowd are to be treated to a double dose of MVG as the defending champion contests his game in-hand following his brief injury lay-off.

Van Gerwen opens up the show against 2009 champion James Wade in a repeat of last November's Grand Slam final - which the Dutchman won 16-8.

Wade's comfortable win over a struggling Klaasen last week saw him climb to third spot and a further two points here would go some way towards bolstering his hopes of securing a play-off place in May.

Van Gerwen will then potentially put his unbeaten record back on the line when he returns to the stage to face Van Barneveld in a mouth-watering all-Dutch affair.

The world number one gained revenge on Barney for his World Championship exit a year earlier with a thrilling six sets to two triumph in the Semi-Finals at Alexandra Palace in January and now hopes to inflict more pain on his legendary compatriot.

Van Barneveld was on cloud nine last week as he marked his homecoming with a rout of Anderson, averaging 103.7, and knows he must replicate that level of performance if he is to have any chance of getting the better of his recent nemesis.

Peter Wright aims to extend his unbeaten record against Phil Taylor in this competition to six matches when the pair go head-to-head.

The UK Open champion has won two and drawn three of their previous Premier League meetings and enters their latest encounter leading the way at the top of the table, albeit having played a game more than the chasing Van Gerwen.

Taylor is now four games without a win and has consequently dropped to sixth position, but will be out to kick-start a change in fortunes by getting one over on the flamboyant Scot.

The action gets underway from 7pm GMT, with all matches to be contested over the best of 12 legs, making a 6-6 draw a possibility. Two points are awarded for a win and one for a draw.

For expert betting tips on tonight's action, visit the Betway Blog

Betway Premier League Darts 2017 match schedule

Night Eight - Thursday March 23

The Manchester Arena

7.15pm Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
8.00pm Kim Huybrechts v Gary Anderson
8.45pm Peter Wright v Phil Taylor
9.30pm Jelle Klaasen v Adrian Lewis
10.15pm Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen


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Premier League Darts 2017 Week Eight preview and order of play: Make or break for bottom two

Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts face a potentially decisive evening when the Premier League heads to Manchester on Thursday, while the jostle for top four places intensifies.

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