It’s that time of year again! The PDC World Darts Championship rolls into town on the 18th December 2014 for two weeks of top-notch entertainment and arrow artistry.
Forget the bad Christmas jumpers, mince pies and re-runs of Only Fools and Horses and soak up the 22nd edition of the PDC World Darts Championship this Christmas period.
The defending champion
Dutch darting technician Michael Van Gerwen finally fulfilled his potential by winning his first PDC world title last year and he is seen by many as the main contender for 2015. However, he faces stiff competition from the chasing pack that is headed by Phil “The Power” Taylor – the Stoke born darts legend is looking to regain his crown and win a record 17th title.
The bookmakers have sided with the experienced 54 year-old Taylor, despite being ranked behind MVG as the number two seed, and make him the 2/1 favourite to win the trophy, while the Dutchman is priced up at around 11/4 to make it back-to-back wins.
A favourable draw?
The draw for this year’s main event was made earlier this week and Phil Taylor will be more than happy with his potential route to final. The first few rounds shouldn’t pose any problems with Jyhan Artut, Mark Webster and Ian White standing in the way of the quarterfinals.
Either Simon Whitlock or Mervyn King will represent Taylor’s toughest quarterfinal opponent with Adrian Lewis, Barney or James Wade in the semi finals. These three men are big names but Taylor has the beating of them.
The Power’s biggest problem, however, is how he handles himself mentally over the next few weeks as his 74 year-old mother is in poor health and this could be illustrated in his performances.
The 16 time World Champion has also endured one of his leanest seasons in well over decade with just two major tournament wins, the World Matchplay and the Grand Slam of Darts, so you would have to favour the 25 year-old Dutchman to end the year on a high.
A tough half
But it’s not going to be easy for the current PDC World Champion. ‘Mighty Mike’ opens his defence against Joe Cullen who defeated him 6-4 at the Players Championships just two months ago.
Should Van Gerwen negotiate that opening round banana skin then Stuart Kellet and Terry Jenkins stand in the way of a quarterfinal berth. Which, in all fairness, should be straightforward for the World number one.
However, the number eight seed Dave Chisnall will be a tough nut to crack in the quarterfinals. And to make life even tougher for the defending champion – the Scottish duo of Gary Anderson and Peter Wright, who are ranked fourth and fifth respectively, look likely semi final opposition.
A clash with Wright has the potential to be classic and could go to the wire. There is history between the pair as the flamboyant Scot claimed that MVG “wasn’t good enough” to beat him two years ago at Alexandra Palace, so the young Dutchman replied by only way he knows how, Van Gerwen won 12 out of a possible 14 legs to seal a 4-2 win after trailing 0-2.
MVG clearly has the tools to overcome either side of the draw and is the most naturally gifted darts player of his generation. He is almost impossible to compete against given his playing style and he can score heavily and unsettle opponents with his explosive action.
MVG has the full repertoire; he can blow opponents away in the blink of eye. Just ask Adrian Lewis who barely had time to catch his breath when on the end of a 6-0 hammering last year.
Meanwhile, his monstrous scoring always gives him a chance of making a comeback against any opponent.
This year’s PDC World Championships are delicately poised and should the top two seed’s come through unscathed and meet in the final, we could be in for one of the greatest matches of all time.