Unibet Premier League – Week 11 Preview & Predictions

It’s the turn of Liverpool this week, as it hosts leg eleven of the Unibet Premier League. The M&S Bank Arena is treated to four high quality matches with massive implications at both ends of the table.

With basement boys Michael Smith and Peter Wright taking on the top two in the league, the table could really start to take shape at the end of the night.

Here is my take on the latest instalment of the competition.

Rob Cross (1st) v Peter Wright (7th)

Rob Cross takes a rare night off from beating players in their home towns by meeting Scot, Peter Wright in Liverpool. He has beaten Jeffrey de Zwaan in Holland and Daryl Gurney in Northern Ireland.

Wright is desperate for points and form after an alarming recent slump, and defeat could signal the end of any play-off hopes he might have harboured.

Premier League Week 10

Cross was again at his brilliant best with an 8-4 win against Daryl Gurney in “Superchin’s” home City of Belfast last week. A 104.71 average and a solid 50% on the doubles was more than enough to see him cruise to maximum points.

Wright scrambled to a 7-7 draw with fellow struggler Michael Smith in Northern Ireland, despite averaging nearly ten points less than his opponent.

Players Championships 9&10

Cross had a quiet weekend in Barnsley. He suffered a second round exit to Jose de Sousa in Saturdays tournament, before being forced to withdraw from Sunday’s event due to illness.

It was a weekend to forget for “Snakebite” in Yorkshire. He crashed out in the opeing round in both events. On Saturday he was beaten 6-4 by rising star Jamie Hughes, and Sunday saw Ronny Huybrechts turn him over in a 6-5 reverse.

Prediction: Cross may have missed out on Sunday’s action in Barnsley, but as long as a fit and healthy “Voltage” turns up, I can’t see him being defeated. Wright has been subdued and under par for a fair few weeks now, and I think Cross’ power scoring and intense finishing will carry him to an 8-5 win.

Gerwyn Price (6th) v Mensur Suljovic (3rd)

Although three places separate them in the league, Gerwyn Price could leapfrog his Austrian opponent with a win in Liverpool. Suljovic has been upwardly mobile for a few weeks now, and will look to cement his position in the top four with maximum points here.

Premier League Week 10

Price will rue not being able to put Michael van Gerwen away after building a strong lead against him in Belfast. At 5-1 up there was only one player in the contest, but MVG clawed away at the deficit, and caught up with the Welshman in the end to come away with a 7-7 draw.

Suljovic was involved in a low quality grind against James Wade last week. A just over 93 average was good enough to see off Wade for an 8-6 win.

Players Championships 9&10

Price enjoyed a rare week away from action, as he missed both events last weekend.

It was back to back first round exits for “The Gentle” in Barnsley. He was defeated 6-3 on Saturday by Ross Smith, while Mark McGeeney sent him packing 6-2 on Sunday.

Prediction: Price should benefit from a weekend off the circuit, while Suljovic’s confidence will have been dented by two tame first round defeats. I favour Price to come through this one 8-6.

James Wade (4th) v Daryl Gurney (5th)

Only leg difference separates James Wade and Daryl Gurney going into their meeting this week. The two are arguably the most in form PDC players of late.

Premier League Week 10

Wade was surprisingly off colour in a struggle against the awkward Austrian, Mensur Suljovic in Belfast. Wade averaged well below his best, and was beaten 8-6 by a not much better Mensur.

Gurney’s recent good run of form in the league was halted under the weight of his home crowd in Northern Ireland. Rob Cross took full advantage and impressively ran out an 8-4 victor.

Players Championships 9&10

Wade lifted the PC9 Title on Saturday with a classic example of his right place, right time mentality. He survived five match darts from Adrian Lewis in the quarter finals to win 6-5, before surviving a sudden death shootout with the rapidly rising Scott Baker. The final was a procession though, as the Aldershot man thumped Michael Smith 8-2 to scoop the £10,000 first prize. Sunday saw the unheralded Jose Perales dump Wade out 6-2 in the first round.

Gurney missed out all together in Barnsley, opting to take the weekend off.

Prediction: Although Wade hammered Gurney 7-0 in their last meeting, both have been in splendid form on the circuit. Gurney picked up the winner’s trophy in Germany two weeks ago, and his form has improved in the league too. I’m sitting on the fence for a 7-7 draw.

Michael Smith (8th) v Michael van Gerwen (2nd)

Only three points separate Michael Smith from the top four, but his play-off hopes would be well and truly over should he lose to Michael van Gerwen on Merseyside.

Premier League Week 10

Smith will have been frustrated in only taking a point from his match with Peter Wright in Belfast. He averaged over 100 to Wright’s just over 90, but had to settle for a share of the spoils.

MVG was more than happy with his point in last week’s action, plugging a 5-1 gap to Gerwyn Price to escape with a fortuitous draw.

Players Championships 9&10

Smith enjoyed a solid run all the way to the final of PC9 on Saturday. He had constant eye watering averages throughout, but sadly saved his worst for last, averaging under 85 in an 8-2 towelling at the hands of James Wade. Sunday saw a last 64 exit to one of the players of the weekend in Jose de Sousa.

van Gerwen swerved the weekend’s events in favour of rest ahead of a busy few months.

Prediction: van Gerwen is going on and off the boil lately, and it’s about weather Smith can capitalise on this with him not being in great form himself. A run to the final of PC9 will have been a boost. I think the first few legs may be give and take, before the Dutchman takes over for a simple enough 8-5 win.

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