Anderson gunning for Van Gerwen’s number 1 spot in 2016
Holly Thackeray | January 4, 2016
Anderson can oust Van Gerwen
The ticker tape and champagne corks may only just have been swept away, after Gary Anderson celebrated his second successive PDC World Championship title at Alexandra Palace, but the ambitious Scot is already looking forward.
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) January 3, 2016
Michael van Gerwen’s slot as world number one is certainly in The Flying Scotsman’s sights and increasingly under threat, after the usually deadly Dutchman was dumped out at the quarter-final stage, despite a strong autumn and winter of wins.
Having suffered a blip at the back end of 2015, since claiming his first world champ crown and a prestigious Premier League Darts title, Anderson appeared back to his previous imperious self on the Ally Pally oche.
Indeed, PDC majors seemingly bring out his bullish best, and did here in the form of a quarter-final thrashing of James Wade, a superb semi-final nine-darter plus a 170 checkout to win the Sid Waddell silverware (and £300k, but who’s counting?).
Number one not set in stone
Now the formidable 45-year-old is closing in on Mighty Mike’s ranking, as he asked press in the wake of his 7-5 win over Adrian Lewis: “I’m not too far behind him now, am I?”
There’s no rest for the Scottish star, as he will seek to defend his PL trophy from February 4th, as an automatic pick facing nine other pretenders to his throne across four months before the finish line/final in May.
Coral customers can back Anderson at a princely price of 3/1 to retain that crown and also, far into the distance should you fancy, at 4/1 to keep hold of his world champ status – as a second favourite in both markets behind, you guessed it, Van Gerwen.
The Green Machine may have amazingly stumbled in London, but expect him to come back with even more motivation in the New Year, after exiting the Worlds with the highest-ever losing/knock-out average of 105.78.
With five PDC premier events claimed across 2015, his campaign was undoubtedly a success but, when asked about his achievements, Van Gerwen said: “It doesn’t matter. I want to win this one. I want to throw all the other ones in the bin for this one. I didn’t win this one so it hurts extra much.”
Though, once the darting drama has died down, MvG is 6/5 to recover and take the Premier League by storm, ahead of Anderson, Phil Taylor, Peter Wright, Lewis and co.
— Michael Van Gerwen (@MvG180) December 30, 2015
Before all that, however, in the Masters at the end of January (30th-31st), Van Gerwen can unleash his venom on Stephen Bunting, who has been left out of the upcoming PL after a poor calendar year.
While, back to Anderson, The Flying Scotsman will flex his muscles against Dutch Destroyer Vincent van der Voort, who he only just dispatched 4-0 in the third round of the World Championship.
“It’s squeaky bum time now”
Speaking of the upcoming challenges for both himself and MvG, while using a phrase coined by a fellow Scottish legend of the elite sporting echelons, former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Anderson stated: “It’s squeaky bum time for him now.
“Michael’s got a lot to defend – he’s got a lot to win. We’ve all been there, we’ve all slipped down that road. “He’s got a great future ahead of him, but now you’ve got all these youngsters coming through that are just as capable.
“The youngsters coming through have no fear. They want to play Adrian Lewis, your Andersons and your [Phil] Taylors. For Michael to keep going for the next 20 years at the top, he’ll have a hard battle on his hands,” finished the high-flying Scotsman.
Talkin’ ’bout my generation
Indeed, the Ally Pally recently displayed the next darts generation in all their glory, with the likes of Rene Eidams, Dimitri van den Bergh, Rowby-John Rodriguez and Benito van de Pas not doing their reputations any harm.
While one of those promising pretenders in Michael Smith, has capped off an astonishing individual output after reaching the business end of a number of competitions including the Worlds and the Grand Slam of Darts, and has been rewarded with a Premier League place.
— Coral (@Coral) January 3, 2016
Bully Boy and World Grand Prix winner Robert Thornton are the only new faces, at the expense of beleaguered Bunting and Kim Huybrechts.
Old dog, new tricks
Young blood of course intrigued at the Ally Pally and will inject new life into the Premier League in the form of Smith, but it was a well-worn and battle-hardened veteran that captivated viewers in the English capital.
Audiences were enthralled as most decorated Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld provided oche entertainment galore at the World Championship, with cracking clashes in which he valiantlyknocked out Bunting and Van Gerwen, followed by a thrilling comeback against Smith.
— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) January 1, 2016
Having made it to the semis, bold Barney then ran out of his nine lives, but still put in an inspiring performance when 5-0 behind to Lewis, clawing back three sets to truly scare Jackpot. Now justly back in the top 10 rankings, the Barney Army will be hoping this at times inconsistent arrowsmith has turned a corner after an indifferent spell.
The Dutch master himself told media “It was an up and down year, I did well in the World Championship last year and made the Masters final then struggled in the Premier League for the first few weeks and nearly got relegated, but then I had fantastic results in the last eight or nine weeks.
“I made it to the semi-finals and lost to Van Gerwen there, then had a bit of a dip in the summer months,” Van Barneveld, who was subject to much celebrity support recently, added.
“It cost energy because I know what I can do but I didn’t have luck on my side. I had luck on my side for the last eight days but– 4-3, 4-3, 5-4 and then 5-0 down, it takes its toll.”
In his next televised tussle at the Masters, buoyed Barney will once again battle Smith, but will perhaps hope for a less nail-biting encounter. Punters can also place a stake on the revived great, fresh from proving doubters wrong, at an excellent outside price of 25/1 for Premier League Darts glory. Good times are to come, with such a strong line-up of oche events in 2016.
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