Michael van Gerwen heads to Blackpool for the World Matchplay suffering from a rare dip in form and in need of a pick me up.
However, after losing in the first round at the Winter Gardens last year and being placed in the tougher half of the draw, it looks worth opposing the 11/10 favourite for one of the highlights of the darts season.
Only three former winners are included in the field and ‘Mighty Mike’ is amongst those having taken the honours in 2015 and 2016. His troubles at the oche lately mean he could struggle to add a third title to his CV, unless he can get back to his best quickly.
While the top half of the draw contains the like of MVG, defending champion Gary Anderson, 2018 runner-up Mensur Suljovic, Michael Smith and James Wade, the bottom half appears more straightforward.
2018 World Champion Rob Cross is one of those players to benefit from the luck of the draw as he seeks his first title of the year.
‘Voltage’ has reached three finals in 2019, including the deciders at the UK Open and Premier League, but has come up short on each occasion. He’s also reached three semi-finals and it appears only a matter of time before he finally gets over the line given he’s averaging 98.50 this year.
Cross has been knocked out in the second round twice on his two previous appearances at the Matchplay but is worth supporting as an each-way selection given his potential path to the final.
‘Snakebite’ heads to the seaside as one of the most in-form players on the PDC tour having teamed up with Anderson to help Scotland claim the World Cup last month. He has since followed that up by winning his first ranking event of the year – the German Masters – before claiming back-to-back Players Championship titles.
Wright and Gurney look the class acts in this quarter and with the 2017 World Matchplay runner-up having only lost one of his last eight meetings against ‘Superchin’, coupled with his ongoing 18-match winning streak, Wright is worthy of support.
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