Nathan Aspinall looks to remain clear at the top of the Premier League Darts table by extending his unbeaten run…
Nathan Aspinall looks to remain clear at the top of the Premier League Darts table by extending his unbeaten run to nine games as the competition enters Night 11 in Milton Keynes.
Aspinall, last year’s runner-up, continues to set the pace in this season’s Premier League and has opened up a two-point gap at the summit with six games remaining.
Crucially, he is now four points clear of fifth spot as he bids to secure a Semi-Final place for the second successive year and is in the midst of an impressive eight-game unbeaten run.
Despite having rarely left third gear, Aspinall battled his way to an 8-5 victory over Peter Wright with a 93.8 average on Wednesday, with the highlight a stunning 161 checkout to take control of the match.
The former UK Open champion now takes on his young rival Dimitri van den Bergh in a mouth-watering clash which has brought out the best in both players in recent months.
Following their epic Grand Slam Quarter-Final which went to a 31st and deciding leg last November, it was Van den Bergh who narrowly prevailed again 7-5 in their opening Premier League fixture on Night Two.
Van den Bergh had led the way at the top of the table for five of the opening eight nights, but two games without a win have seen him slip to third.
A Premier League double over ‘The Asp’ would see him go joint top, and he will be keen to sustain the form which led him to a first ProTour title a week ago and which saw him average 106.7 against Michael van Gerwen last night.
Van Gerwen was back to his brilliant best as he stormed to an 8-3 victory over the helpless Belgian with a near 110 average – the highest of the tournament so far.
The five-time Premier League champion bounced back from a miserable Super Series campaign in Germany and will be determined to back up that performance and re-establish the consistency which has been lacking over the past 18 months.
Van Gerwen, who finished top of the table and went on to reach the final in each of his first seven Premier League campaigns, is hot on the heels of Aspinall in second spot and will look to pounce on any slip-ups from the Stockport star.
Mighty Mike is bidding to avenge a 7-3 defeat to Jonny Clayton on Night Nine in which he averaged just 91 on a night to forget at the Marshall Arena.
Clayton, meanwhile, recorded an emphatic 105.3 average in an 8-5 win over James Wade on Thursday to climb back in to the top four.
The Welshman continues to hold down the only ton-plus tournament average of the field and is looking to continue his impressive recent record over MVG to potentially leapfrog the Dutchman in the table.
At the opposite end of the table, a must-win clash for both players sees Scottish stars Gary Anderson and Peter Wright collide.
Anderson enters the contest knowing that a fourth straight defeat would leave him cut adrift at the foot of the table and all but end his hopes of reaching the play-offs.
The two-time Premier League champion has been out of sorts for much of the competition so far and has mustered only five legs from his last two outings.
Wright, who prevailed 7-4 in the reverse fixture on Night Three, starts the night a point ahead of Anderson having won only one of his last five games.
The 2020 World Champion, who has used a different set of darts for almost every game so far, averaged just 88.5 in his defeat to Aspinall last night and knows he can ill-afford a repeat performance if he is to retain any hopes of featuring on finals night.
Elsewhere, in-form debutant Jose De Sousa aims to make it back-to-back wins over James Wade in the round-robin phase.
De Sousa has lost just one of his last seven Premier League games and pulled off a dominant 8-3 success over Anderson to remain firmly on the coattails of the top four.
Maximum machine De Sousa has landed a whopping 54 180s in his ten matches so far, 32 more than Wade, but it’s the left-hander who boasts the most efficient finishing stats of the field with a doubles success rate in excess of 50 percent.
Wade currently occupies sixth spot, two points adrift of the play-off places, and will be out to avenge his 7-5 defeat to the Portuguese star on Night Six in which he averaged 104.
Night 11 of Premier League Darts gets under way from 7pm BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 14 legs. Two points are awarded for a win and one point for a draw.
Premier League Darts 2021 Night 11 Schedule
Thursday May 6
7.15pm Nathan Aspinall v Dimitri Van den Bergh
8.00pm James Wade v Jose de Sousa
8.45pm Gary Anderson v Peter Wright
9.30pm Michael van Gerwen v Jonny Clayton