World Matchplay Darts: Who are the favourites?
We look at the four players who stand every chance of winning.
The World Matchplay Darts heads to Milton Keynes on Saturday – away from the usual Winter Gardens venue in Blackpool – for a behind-closed doors tournament with a £700,000 prize pool.
Could the lack of fans present help ease the pressure on players? Will the usual suspects rise to the top? We take a look at the four favourites going into the tournament.
The world No. 1 has struggled in the World Matchplay in recent years but ‘The Green Machine’ remains a two-time winner and impressed in the recent PDC Summer Series, taking two of the five titles.
Despite declining to take part in the PDC Home Tour, Van Gerwen looks no worse for the break and in his second Summer Series victory he was posting consistent 100+ averages, as he beat World Champion Peter Wright in the final.
However, in the three days where Van Gerwen didn’t win he fell early on, failing to make it past the last 16 on three of the five days, coming second overall in the Order of Merit.
He’ll hope to find a more consistent level of excellence when he faces Brendan Dolan in the opening day of the World Matchplay.
‘Snakebite’ is arguably in the best form of any player going into the tournament, despite being seeded sixth, after topping the Order of Merit in the PDC Summer Series last week.
He won the fifth title, beating Gerwyn Price in the final, having been beaten at the same stage by Van Gerwen on the opening day.
Across the week Wright proved himself the most consistent performer and he’ll hope that he can maintain that high standard when he faces Jose de Sousa across the oche on Sunday.
While the two names above him both came away from the PDC Summer Series with titles to their name and reasons to be optimistic, Price will be disappointed.
Having only made the final on the last day and falling to defeat to Peter Wright, for the most part he failed to find his rhythm during the week and wasn’t playing to his usual high standard.
On the fifth day though, he came alive, posting averages of 100+ en-route to the final, beating the likes of William O’Connor, Darius Labanauskas, Jose de Sousa, James Wade and Devon Peterson in a tight 7-6 semi-final.
Price will face Danny Noppert on Monday in their first-round Matchplay tie.
At just 28, Aspinall only made his World Matchplay debut last year, losing in the first round to Mervyn King, despite averaging 103.
Aspinall was the star of the PDC Home Tour, beating all three other finalists in the Championship Group, posting a 98.67 average as he defeated Jelle Klaasen, Gary Anderson and Jonny Clayton.
‘The Asp’ failed to make it to a final in last week’s Summer Series, making it as far as the semi-final and two quarter-finals, although a close match with Peter Wright on the fifth day showed some promise. Aspinall faces Dimitri van den Bergh in his Matchplay opener on Tuesday.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.