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Premier League Darts Play-Offs 2021: How the final four compare

Premier League Darts 2021 Play-Offs preview and order of play: Final four compete for glory

Jamie Shaw in Premier League Darts 28 May 2021
The final four collide in MIlton Keynes (PDC)

The final four face off for the right to be crowned 2021 Premier League Darts champion in Milton Keynes on Friday.

Sixteen nights of fierce competition culminate in a straight knock-out as the remaining quartet vie to claim the sport’s most prestigious invitational title and £250,000 in prize money.

Ten players started out at the Marshall Arena last month, now a multiple champion, a former finalist and two debutants remain in the running for glory.

Only six different players have managed to get their hands on this trophy since the Premier League was launched back in 2005 and history beckons for this year’s final four.

Michael van Gerwen is bidding to equal Phil Taylor’s record of six Premier League titles by reclaiming the crown he surrendered last year.

Van Gerwen secured top spot in the league table for the eighth time in nine seasons and is out to maintain his emphatic unbeaten record in Premier League Semi-Finals.

He ended the league phase with six wins from his last seven games, finishing three points clear at the top, and will now look to go through the gears over the extended format in which he has thrived over the past decade.

The Dutch sensation, whose last major triumph came at the Players Championship Finals last November, takes on Welsh nemesis Jonny Clayton in a mouth-watering opening Semi-Final.

Clayton has had the upper-hand over MVG in televised competition over the past 18 months, pulling off successive wins at The Masters and a 7-3 success on Night Nine, though it was Van Gerwen who prevailed 8-5 in their most recent encounter.

The reigning Masters Champion has enjoyed a dream Premier League debut, hitting a nine-darter and going on to secure fourth spot on Night 16 courtesy of an 8-6 win over Dimitri van den Bergh in their decisive shoot-out.

Clayton is guaranteed a minimum of £80,000 in prize money, the biggest paycheque of his career to date, and boasts a tournament average of 99.21 to Van Gerwen’s 98.5.

The second Semi-Final sees last year’s runner-up Nathan Aspinall take on man of the moment Jose De Sousa for the second successive evening.

Thursday’s dress rehearsal saw De Sousa storm to an 8-3 victory with a 103.2 average to finish above Aspinall in the table, landing a spectacular 120 checkout with three double tops along the way.

The Portuguese ace is now closing in on a second major title in the space of six months as he aims to follow up last November’s Grand Slam triumph.

De Sousa has already enjoyed a record-breaking debut campaign, registering a staggering 81 maximums in 16 matches, and has lost just one of his last eight games.

Aspinall, meanwhile, is looking to atone for last year’s final heartbreak by going one better at the second time of asking.

The 29-year-old was denied glory by Glen Durrant in a below-par final last October but has proved arguably the most consistent player of this year’s competition.

The Asp spent 15 of the 16 league nights inside the top four and was eight games unbeaten at one stage; he now finds himself in a sixth televised Semi-Final since 2019.

His tournament average of 97.3 is two points fewer than De Sousa and the duo are also closely-matched in terms of their finishing stats, with Aspinall at 43.1% to his opponent’s 42.8%.

The Premier League Darts Play-Offs get under way from 7pm BST, with Semi-Finals to be contested over the best of 19 legs and the final best of 21.

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Premier League Darts 2021 Play-Offs Schedule

Play-Offs – Friday May 28

Semi-Finals
7.15pm Michael van Gerwen v Jonny Clayton
8.15pm Jose De Sousa v Nathan Aspinall

9.30pm
Final