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Premier League Darts 2021 Night Five preview and order of play: In-form stars tussle for top spot

Jamie Shaw in Premier League Darts 09 Apr 2021
Anderson and Clayton go head-to-head (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The final night of the opening block of Premier League Darts fixtures sees a clutch of in-form players vying to top the table in Milton Keynes on Friday.

A scintillating start to the competition has featured nine-darters in each of the last two nights at the Marshall Arena, both achieved by players making their Premier League debuts.

The three newcomers have taken the tournament by storm in the early stages and will look to sign off the first block by picking up a further two points.

Dimitri van den Bergh leads way heading into Night Five and is aiming to protect the only unbeaten record left standing in this year’s ten-man field.

The World Matchplay champion has picked up six points from a possible eight so far and now comes up against his stablemate and fellow debutant Jose De Sousa in the final match of the evening.

Van den Bergh averaged 101 in holding Peter Wright to a 6-6 draw on Thursday, hitting eight 180s and two ton-plus checkouts in the process.

His overall tournament stats are almost identical to those of De Sousa, with a tournament average of 99.55 to The Special One’s 99.54, 19 maximums to 20 and a 36 percent checkout success rate to De Sousa’s 33 percent.

De Sousa has produced a series of superb performances across the opening four days but incredibly has just two points to show for his efforts and starts the night in the relegation places.

He landed a magnificent nine-darter against Nathan Aspinall last night as well as a record-equalling eleven 180s but could only come away with a share of the spoils after missing one match dart.

De Sousa will be determined to finally secure the win his performances have warranted this week and avoid becoming cut adrift from the top four going into the second phase.

The opening match of the night sees two-time Premier League champion Gary Anderson take on Wednesday’s nine-dart hero Jonny Clayton.

The pair are two of five players locked on five points in a congested league table, though Anderson is yet to break in to the top four, while Clayton is yet to drop outside of the play-off places.

Anderson bounced back from his disappointing defeat to Peter Wright the previous evening by thrashing a struggling Glen Durrant 7-2 on Thursday to remain in touch with the leading pack.

Clayton, meanwhile, suffered his first defeat of the campaign at the hands of a resurgent Rob Cross on Thursday but continues to lead the way in the tournament average column with an impressive 101.35.

The Welshman will be out to brush up on his finishing from Night Four which saw him miss 13 darts at doubles, with Anderson having converted a solid 58 per cent of his attempts against Durrant.

Michael van Gerwen aims to bounce back from his below-par showing against James Wade when he faces 2020 runner-up Nathan Aspinall.

Van Gerwen averaged below 92 for the second time in four nights as he slipped to his first defeat of the campaign, but remains finely poised in third spot with five points.

The five-time Premier League champion had averaged 107.5 on Night Three, suggesting his top form is close at hand, but will be desperate to establish the consistency which he has lacked over the last 18 months.

Aspinall occupies second spot going into the night, having steadily averaged between 95 and 98 in each of his four matches so far.

The Asp’s only previous televised win over MVG to date came during last year’s Premier League in front of a sell-out crowd in Cardiff.

James Wade aims to kick on from last night’s dominant victory over Van Gerwen when he takes on an out of sorts Glen Durrant.

Wade, who received a late call-up to the event following Gerwyn Price’s positive Covid test, moved out of the bottom two courtesy of some trademark clutch finishing and will hope that result provides a perfect platform to launch his top four challenge.

He faces an opponent who is yet to pick up a point in four attempts, becoming the first player since Simon Whitlock in 2014 to do so.

A desolate Durrant has averaged below 90 in all four of his outings this week, winning just eight legs in the process, and is in danger of becoming cut adrift at the bottom ahead of the run-in to Judgement Night.

The defending champion will be desperate to pick up a confidence-boosting result to stop the rot before the week-long break and give himself a fighting chance of turning his fortunes around.

Two former Premier League finalists collide as 2017 runner-up Peter Wright takes on 2019 runner-up Rob Cross.

Wright has racked up four points from as many games, having followed up his impressive win over Anderson with a high quality 6-6 draw with his former house guest Van den Bergh.

The world number three has won each of his last four meetings with ‘Voltage’ and looks to have returned to the trusted setup which led him to World Championship glory in January last year.

Cross appears a rejuvenated prospect in this year’s Premier League with a point to prove after last year’s elimination at the halfway stage.

The 2018 World Champion has already equalled last year’s tally of five points and has seemingly regained the confidence and belief that he remains a firm fixture among the sport’s elite.

The action gets under way from 7pm BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 12 legs. Two points are awarded for a win and one point for a draw.

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Premier League Darts 2021 Schedule

Night Five – Friday April 9

7.15pm Gary Anderson v Jonny Clayton
8.00pm Peter Wright v Rob Cross
8.45pm Michael van Gerwen v Nathan Aspinall
9.30pm James Wade v Glen Durrant
10.15pm Dimitri Van den Bergh v Jose de Sousa