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Van Gerwen battles back to deny Anderson as Aspinall maintains fourth spot in Premier League play-off race

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Aspinall, Wright and Anderson secure Premier League play-off qualification as Van Gerwen misses out

Premier League Darts 2020 Night 16 preview and order of play: League phase set for gripping conclusion

Jamie Shaw in Premier League Darts 05 Sep 2020
Price and Anderson go head-to-head (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Five players will battle it out for the three remaining play-off places in an unmissable climax to the league phase of the 2020 Premier League on Saturday.

After 15 nights of action, nine of which behind closed doors in Milton Keynes, the race for both top spot and Semi-Final places are set to go down to the wire.

Just two points separate second from fifth in arguably the most closely-matched league table the Premier League has ever produced over the last 15 years.

Going into the final night, league Glen Durrant is the only player already assured of a play-off place, but still has unfinished business as he looks to clinch top spot and the £25,000 bonus.

Durrant suffered only his second defeat of the campaign on Friday as he went down 8-6 to Peter Wright, but remains huge favourite to tie up top spot and join only Phil Taylor and Michael van Gerwen in having ever done so.

The three-time BDO World Champion, who is two points clear, will go into finals night next month as the league winner if he can better Gary Anderson’s result against Gerwyn Price.

However, if Anderson fails to beat Price in the opening match of the night, Duzza will enter his clash with Nathan Aspinall safe in the knowledge he has already done enough.

Durrant’s first defeat of the competition came at the hands of Aspinall in Dublin back in February and he will be keen to bounce back from a below-par display last night which saw him average just 89.

Aspinall will know what he has to do by the time he takes to the stage if he is to join fellow debutant Durrant in the play-offs depending on how other results have gone earlier in the evening.

Aspinall celebrates (Photo by Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

The 2019 UK Open champion enters the night in fourth spot, level on 17 points with Michael van Gerwen, but with a legs difference superior by three.

An 8-2 win or better would see him qualify regardless of MVG’s result and he could still finish as high as second in the table.

Aspinall defeated Daryl Gurney 8-5 with a 99 average on Friday but ominously has failed to record back-to-back wins since week four of the competition.

Defending champion Van Gerwen’s hopes of securing a play-off place for the eighth consecutive year hang in the balance after a roller-coaster campaign.

The world number one, who has finished top of the table and reached the final in all seven previous campaigns, starts the night outside of the top four and must better Aspinall’s result and hope for a favour from Durrant if he is to avoid a shock elimination.

Furthermore, should Gerwyn Price defeat Gary Anderson in the opening match of the night, Van Gerwen must obtain at least a draw in order to keep his hopes alive.

Van Gerwen returned to winning ways in style by recovering from 6-5 down to edge past Anderson 8-6 on Friday with a 103 average and now faces bottom of the table Daryl Gurney.

Gurney is playing for pride after a disappointing campaign which has seen him rack up just nine points.

The two-time major champion is without a win in his last four games and is guaranteed to finish bottom of the second phase, however he could still have a major say in the play-off result by upsetting the odds here.

Two-time Premier League champion Anderson requires a point to safeguard his spot in the play-offs but could still uproot Durrant from top spot if he can win big and hope for a heavy defeat for Duzza.

Anderson has proved one of the most consistently impressive performers in Milton Keynes over the past nine days, losing just two of his last nine games and averaging above 100 in each of his last four.

Perhaps the only blemish of late was a 7-1 mauling at the hands of Price last Wednesday, and The Flying Scotsman will have revenge on his mind as he looks to secure a return to The O2.

Draws have once again proved costly for Price this season, having shared the spoils in five of his fixtures, leaving him requiring a win and defeats for both Van Gerwen and Aspinall is he is to sneak through.

The Welshman missed out on the play-offs by just one point last season and it appears as though he may fall narrowly short once again, but a win in the opening match of the night would apply the pressure.

Reigning World Champion Peter Wright requires a point from his clash with Michael Smith to clinch his place on finals night for the first time since finishing runner-up in 2017.

Wright can finish second but could also drop out of the top four if he loses and both Aspinall and Van Gerwen win.

Since suffering three straight defeats despite high quality performances, Wright has rectified that with three consecutive wins and has a healthy legs difference of +15 to boot.

A run of five games without a win has left Smith playing for pride, but he will look to kick on from his high quality draw with Price last night in which he averaged 102.5.

The 2018 Premier League finalist has hit eleven more 180s (70) than any other player in the competition, but missed doubles at crucial times have proved the decisive factor in his play-off pursuit falling short.

The action gets underway from 7pm BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 14 legs.


Premier League Darts 2020 Match Schedule

Night 16 – Saturday September 5

7.15pm Gerwyn Price v Gary Anderson
8.00pm Michael van Gerwen v Daryl Gurney
8.45pm Peter Wright v Michael Smith
9.30pm Nathan Aspinall v Glen Durrant