Arron Monk and Jose Antonio Justicia Perales face a vital World Championship showdown.

This is the latest in our run-down of all 32 PDC World Championship first round matches. Last up was Brendan Dolan’s tie against Nitin Kumar. You can map out all of your Ally Pally viewing by checking the full schedule here.

Facts and figures

Match time/date: 19:00, December 15

Head-to-head record: Monk 0-1 Perales

Previous meeting: Monk 0-3 Perales*, Players Championship 26 (September 2019)

Best major performance this season: Last 64, Players Championship Finals, UK Open (Monk); Last 96, UK Open (Perales)

Previous PDC World Championship appearances: Monk 3, Perales 0

Best PDC World Championship performance: Last 64, 2011, 2012 & 2013 (Monk); N/A (Perales)

Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Photo: Pieter Verbeek/PV-Darts

Preview

The World Championship is a life-changing event, that’s for sure. Sometimes it thrusts a player into the spotlight; on others, it can be a lifeline. This match definitely sits in the latter category.

Arron Monk and Jose Antonio Justicia Perales are both in big trouble. Their two-year Tour Cards are expiring, and as you can see in the below table produced by Burton DeWitt, both are set to drop off the tour once the World Championship signals the end of the season.

Neither has had a good season at all, making no inroads in the big tournaments. To his credit, Monk has managed one floor semi-final and two quarter-finals. They’ll be of little solace to him; the first ever world youth champion looks to be slipping into obscurity as the man he beat to that title aims for a fourth world title.

Jose Justicia hasn’t made headlines either – not since that bizarre clash with Adrian Lewis, anyway. He has just one quarter-final on the floor to show for his efforts this year. Yet thanks to the massive prize money offered by the World Championship, redemption isn’t out of the question. The fourth round would generate £35,000 prize money, enough for the Spaniard to survive. The third round might do it for Monk, who already has £16,000 more in ranking money than his opponent.

When this pair met for the first time in September, they managed just over two legs before Monk walked away, handing the win to Justicia. With £7,500 and a World Championship second round berth against Stephen Bunting on offer, he’ll likely hang around for this one.

Prediction

It’s a coin toss, isn’t it? Neither can really say that they’re going into the World Championship in stunning form. The difference might be that Monk always looks a little more likely to post a higher average. When there’s massive pressure on every dart, even the slightest advantage can be decisive. An Arron Monk 3-1 Jose Justicia prediction isn’t really worth the virtual paper it’s written on – whoever handles the situation better on the day will give themselves another go at saving their skin.

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Author: Ed McCosh