Preview finals night 2023 Premier League Darts: Who will walk away with prestigious title on Thursday night?

After sixteen weeks of action, Thursday night is the big conclusion of Premier League Darts. At the O2 Arena in London, Gerwyn Price, Michael Smith, Michael van Gerwen, and Jonny Clayton will battle for the prestigious title.

For the first time since 2019, the O2 Arena will again host the Premier League Darts play-offs. The venue hosted the final night eight times from 2012 to 2019, but due to the corona pandemic, the PDC had to move to another venue for the past three years.

The line-up for the play-offs includes the numbers one, three, four, and seven in the world rankings. Number two Peter Wright is missing, he finished last in the league standings after a disappointing campaign. Former Premier League champion Clayton was still the only player outside the top four of the PDC Order of Merit to make it to the final night.

The Welshman owes his qualification to a strong second half of the competition. Jonny Clayton started this Premier League Darts moderately and was in seventh place after eight rounds of play.

The turnaround came during the ninth week of play in Berlin, which Clayton won. 'The Ferret' then also won the following week of play in Birmingham. With another final and two semi-finals, Clayton narrowly edged rival Nathan Aspinall out of fourth place.

On Thursday night, Clayton will play compatriot Gerwyn Price in the semi-finals, who qualified for the final night of Premier League Darts for the first time in his career. 'The Iceman' also did so as the winner of the league stage.

Price made it to the final no fewer than nine times, four of which he managed to win. Especially from the seventh round of play, the former rugby player picked up a cartload of points. During the last 10 weeks of play, Price lost his first match only once. In that period, seven of his nine finals were reached.

Just when Price was on the up, Michael van Gerwen was going downhill. The six-time Premier League champion won most of his points during the first eight weeks of play. In the first half of the competition, Van Gerwen reached five finals, three of which resulted in a weekly title. During the last eight weeks of play, 'Mighty Mike' did not reach a single final again, losing four times in the first round.

As a result, Van Gerwen lost first place to Price, but later also lost second place to reigning world champion Michael Smith. Still, 'Bullyboy' made a shaky start in the league stage. Of the four semi-finalists, only Clayton (eight times) lost his first round more often. Smith happened seven times, compared to five straight defeats for Price and Van Gerwen.

However, Smith, like Price, did manage to win four weekly titles and also lost three times in the final. However, the form does seem to be on point for the world number one. Although he went down in his first round against Dimitri van den Bergh during the last week of play, he managed to win the 13th, 14th, and 15th rounds all to his liking. Smith, incidentally, was in the Premier League playoffs once before. That was in 2018, and then 'Bullyboy' lost 11-4 in the final to an unleashed Van Gerwen, who then threw an average of 112.

Does winning league guarantee the title?

Gerwyn Price became the fifth winner of the league stage in Premier League Darts. Previously, Phil Taylor (eight times), Michael van Gerwen (eight times), Glen Durrant (once) and Jonny Clayton (once) preceded him.

In 12 of the 18 cases, the winner of the league stage actually managed to lift the trophy on finals night. Taylor did so six times, Van Gerwen five times and Durrant managed this last in 2020.

Thus, in 2021, the league stage was won by Clayton, but the final victory went to Van Gerwen. Last year, the roles were just reversed. Clayton was the best during the league phase, but at the supreme moment Van Gerwen stood tall and 'Mighty Mike' took his sixth Premier League title.

Van Gerwen on record hunt

In winning his sixth Premier League Darts title, the Vlijmen native equaled the record of darts legend Taylor. Both are also balanced when looking at the number of Premier League finals played.

Van Gerwen and Taylor were in the final eight times; both won six and lost two finals. Taylor, however, needed 13 participations to do so, compared to 10 for 'Mighty Mike'.

With a top performance on the final night next Thursday, the Dutchman can only become the record holder in Premier League Darts. Besides Van Gerwen and Taylor, only Gary Anderson (twice) managed to win the Premier League multiple times. James Wade, Raymond van Barneveld, Glen Durrant, and Jonny Clayton all stand on one title.

How much prize money is there to win?

The eventual winner gets to lift the trophy of course, but even more important is the accompanying cheque. A handsome financial reward awaits the title holder.

The four semi-finalists are guaranteed £85,000 in prize money anyway. That amount will be transferred to the two players who lose in the semi-final.

On winning the semi-final, the proceeds already rise to at least £125,000. A cheque for 275,000 pounds then awaits the eventual winner of Premier League Darts.

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