Early leader Michael van Gerwen will seek to maintain his perfect start to this year’s Premier League against Adrian Lewis at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena, on the fourth night of this year’s tournament.
World champion Gary Anderson will aim bounce back to winning ways following his 7-4 defeat to van Gerwen last week, when he takes on James Wade.
Elsewhere, Peter Wright faces a tough task to secure his first win of the season in the form of a resurgent Phil Taylor. And Stephen Bunting – a 7-1 victim to Taylor in Liverpool – meets Raymond van Barneveld in a repeat of their world championship quarter-final in January.
In the other match of the evening, the unbeaten Dave Chisnall goes up against Belgium’s Kim Huybrechts.
Michael van Gerwen v Adrian Lewis
Van Gerwen secured a third successive win of the competition against Anderson last week while Lewis managed a draw in a cagey match with Huybrechts.
The two have enjoyed some memorable battles in the past but the Dutchman has held the edge over recent times and is unbeaten in their last seven meetings on television – a run that stretches back to the 2013 Grand Slam of Darts.
Lewis fired in a near-114 average against van Barneveld in week one but has not reproduced that level since. Meanwhile, van Gerwen was imperious in his first two matches before prevailing in a more scrappy affair with Anderson.
This is sure to be a fast-paced game between two former world champions and they usually bring the best out of each other. However, judging on their league performances so far, van Gerwen’s newfound consistency should be the attribute that pulls him through.
Prediction: van Gerwen 7-4 Lewis
Gary Anderson v James Wade
Fragility on the doubles served to haunt Anderson in his loss to van Gerwen and the Scotsman will face a testing challenge to get back on track against Wade, who has claimed a win and two draws in his opening three matches.
Anderson scrambled over the line against Taylor before demolishing Wright and has been impressive during the first few weeks of his reign as world champion. Wade averaged 104 in beating Huybrechts in week two, but barely managed 90 to claim a draw against Chisnall last Thursday.
Wade reversed a 3-1 deficit when the two met in the World Grand Prix semi-finals back in October, but Anderson exacted revenge last month, with victory at the Masters. However, before that match, Wade had not lost on TV against the Scot for almost three years.
Providing Anderson can pin his doubles like he has over the past 12 months, his scoring power should be enough to grab the win. But if he is sloppy for a second week running, Wade’s vulture-like qualities will punish him.
Prediction: Anderson 7-4 Wade
Phil Taylor v Peter Wright
Following a post-Christmas lapse, Taylor has returned to form over the past few weeks – with two Premier League wins and a UK Open Qualifier title at the weekend – and he threatens to dispatch a vulnerable Wright in the final match of the night.
Paying the price for regularly fiddling with his darts, Wright has only a point to his name after three weeks and finds himself at the foot of the table. In contrast, Taylor has risen to third in the league, recovering promptly from his initial defeat to Anderson.
Wright did pinch a draw after van Barneveld spurned a 5-1 advantage in Liverpool, but a failure to chalk up more than one leg against Anderson and Chisnall suggests he is severely out of form.
The evidence points towards a drubbing, Wright will need his A game to prevent one, and will probably require Taylor to be off his.
Prediction: Taylor 7-1 Wright
Stephen Bunting v Raymond van Barneveld
These two will face off on the big stage for the first time since their memorable quarter-final at Alexandra Palace last month, where van Barneveld eked out a dramatic 5-4 win.
The five-time world champion has, however, been off-colour in the defence of his Premier League crown so far but he has the chance to record his first win of the tournament against a struggling Bunting.
Last year’s Lakeside champion has endured a difficult start to his Premier League career, with two losses and a draw so far. Both are desperate for a win here or they risk being cut adrift from the field, with the bottom two set to be relegated after week nine.
A scrappy contest is likely, a sharing of the spoils would come as no surprise here.
Prediction: van Barneveld 6-6 Bunting
Kim Huybrechts v Dave Chisnall
A draw against Lewis gave Huybrechts his first Premier League point last time out and a match with Chisnall presents him with the opportunity to capture a maiden win.
St Helens’ Chisnall has won the key moments in his matches so far, accruing five points from three games (won v Wright, won v Barneveld, drew v Wade) despite averaging below 95 in all of them – a run that has placed him at a handy second in the table.
The two’s last big meeting came in the semi-finals of the Grand Slam of Darts in November. Chisnall nicked a thrilling 16-15 win on that occasion – their only previous meeting on TV.
Huybrechts has the game to win but his opponent has developed a desirable winning habit. This should be tight, but going on their performances so far, Chisnall will edge it and continue his strong start.
Prediction: Chisnall 7-4 Huybrechts
The Odyssey Arena is hosting the Belfast leg of the Premier League for the eighth time. The venue first held the event back in 2008.