Column #CM99 The second half of the Premier League begins!
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
The second half of the Premier League begins!
The second half of the Premier League begins today and – in what is certain to be a joy for the players and fans – on the last four League days and the play-offs a thousand fans per night will be allowed in the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
For me as television viewer, until now – even without a live crowd – it has still been an interesting and often thrilling Premier League. But a crowd brings that “extra something” to a live sport event. You never know in which way (or whether at all) the crowd will affect the players.
Of course, the crowd could have a positive effect on players like Michael van Gerwen and Peter Wright who might flourish. But all in all, the Premier League so far, behind closed doors, has been a spectacle and the only downer was Glen Durrant’s battle against exactly what, who knows.
It might be Durrant’s problems stem from his Covid illness – or it could be he has lost all self-belief. He thinks he has a problem with his throw and was not really happy with the sympathy of his colleagues which draw him down even more. Probably no one will be happy should he again find his form.
Apart from that, Rob Cross – who was the second player eliminated after Judgement Night – went out on a high. All in all, he played much better than before the tournament, though it was not enough to survive. But to be sure he can build on it.
So far, after each League day the table changed completely. One could enter among the top four and after the night be in the thick of the battle against elimination.
Between the head of the table and the last in the table before the second half there are only five points. Two players head the table with thirteen points each – Nathan Aspinall and Dimitri van den Bergh, the two youngest players in the event. None of the players won all their matches, none of the players dominated and there were none who didn’t sway between outstanding and mediocre performances.
Two of the debutants – Jonny Clayton and Jose de Sousa – threw nine-darters and de Sousa equalled the record for 180s thrown. The three debutants all showed that they were justly nominated, and all are a real gain for the tournament. de Sousa sometimes presented us – well, actually, himself – with arithmetic challenges, and then often offered creative solutions!
James Wade, who moved up after Gerwyn Price tested positive for Covid, took his time to warm up but now can be found in the thick of the battle.
At the moment, Gary Anderson is the player with the most problems – he tells himself he is playing crap but that can change from day to day.
This year, Michael van Gerwen has a better chance to reach the play-offs but still is in the hunt for his consistency.
And so, after the first half of the season it is still more or less unpredictable who will win this year’s Premier League. It is difficult as well to predict who will be the four players to reach the play-offs. But there is no player in the race who wouldn’t deserve it.
I can only say, assuredly, that all those players who seemed to be out of form before the tournament are now on top of their game. It is a Premier League in which all players are on par – and I can say that I neither miss Gerwyn Price nor Michael Smith (who said recently that he should be in Premier League ahead of those players who were nominated).
I am looking forward to the second half of the season and I am sure I will feel entertained again.
Who will win in the end? Isn’t that almost subsidiary?
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