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This year’s Premier League is emerging as one of the most unpredictable in recent history, the original 10-player format has returned, though anything can happen with a plethora of established names battling for form

Glen Durrant is the reigning Premier League champions following their dazzling debut campaign in 2020 He will face world champion Gerwyn Price, five-time Premier League winner Michael van Gerwen and two-time champion Gary Anderson

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Former finalists Peter Wright and Rob Cross are joined by last year’s runner-up Nathan Aspinall as the trio of Dimitri Van den Bergh, Jose De Sousa and Jonny Clayton prepare for their full-time debut after winning the television titles last 12 months

As we prepare for another season in the Premier League, here’s a look at which players are shooting at all the top hats and which ones may be cause for concern

Clayton may be the lowest ranked player in this year’s Premier League, but he is without a doubt the most in shape player on the planet right now

The Welshman had a blistering start to 2021; His first major individual win at the Masters earned him a Premier League debut He then produced a number of electrifying performances on the Pro Tour

The main criticism of Clayton was his inability to cross the payline at major events, although his World Cup success with Gerwyn Price in November appears to have had a transformative impact

Ten events have taken place so far in 2021 – Clayton is the only man to have won multiple titles, reached five finals, and prevailed in three of those encounters

He’s registered an average of more than 23 tons over this period and has a higher seasonal average than any of his Premier League counterparts, which is a good sign for fans of the ferret

After an overwhelming start in life as a world champion, Price underscored his worldwide number 1 with a series of sparkling displays at the PDC Super Series 2

‘The Iceman’ saw an opening super-series to be forgotten – punctuated by an ear infection – sandwiched between the semi-finals at the Masters and the UK Open

However, the 36-year-old clinched his first title as world champion with an all-out win at Players Championship 6 before reaching the final of Players Championship 8 just 48 hours later

Price is launching a fourth consecutive Premier League campaign and while he’s not yet in the playoffs, he’s a completely different beast from the man who was eliminated on debut in 2018

The Welshman has since posted fifth consecutive finishes Given the inconsistency of this year’s field and its established status as a multi-year winner, it would be a big surprise if Price wasn’t featured on Finals Night in May

Cross is trying to avoid the undesirable record of eliminating for the second straight Premier League, but the stats suggest he may be embroiled in another fight to prevent the drop

‘Voltage’ was chosen among the top 4 in the world when the lineup was announced and was therefore an automatic selection Still, he’s the only player on this year’s field who hasn’t had a major title for his name in the past 12 months

The 2018 world champion has given insights into his brilliant best in the last few weeks and averaged 109 points in a 6-1 win against Daryl Gurney at Players Championship 1 in February

Cross also defeated Premier League colleague Gary Anderson in the same event to make it to the quarter-finals, but since then he has not been more than the last 32 in any of his last eight events

His pedigree remains irrefutable, but he has failed to fix the obvious technical problems in his game, and given the densification of this year’s tournament, a sluggish start could prove irreparable

Aspinall was on the crest of the waves 12 months ago, but for the first time since its establishment in the world’s elite, ‘The Asp’ has a point to prove

The Stockport star put on a great performance on debut last year, beating the decorated quartet of Van Gerwen, Price, Wright and Anderson on their way to the finals in October

Even so, the 29-year-old has struggled to regain those highs over the past few months and has not made it past the quarterfinals in any of his last seven televised tournaments

He started 2021 with new darts and renewed optimism, which inspired him to a consecutive Pro Tour semi-final, but he only managed four wins over four days in the Super Series 2

To make matters worse, Aspinall abandoned his top 10 status in an early exit to Krzysztof Ratajski at the UK Open last month and while this is by no means a crisis, his latest results are cause for concern

Durrant made history on debut in 2020, ending Michael van Gerwen’s dominance in the league phase, becoming the third player in the tournament’s history to top the table before ousting Aspinall on Finals Night to get the coveted title

Even so, the three-time Lakeside World Champion will begin his campaign in Milton Keynes, desperately looking for the form that catapulted him to his first PDC major title

Just a week after his Premier League success, Durrant signed Covid-19 and experienced a nightmare over the months that followed He had to finish the opening round at the Grand Slam, the Final of the Players Championship, the Masters and the UK Open

His Super Series performances were equally alarming, with his seasonal average ranking 89th Place of 132 players on the Pro Tour circuit, 39 places behind Aspinall – the only other Premier League player outside the top 25

Duzza’s clutch combination finish has been an integral part of his success over the last year and he hopes to capitalize on this inspiration before his title defense, but he will have no illusions that he needs to improve quickly

Televised darts are returning to Sky Sports with the 2021 Premier League – the promotion kicks off Monday May 5 April, with five consecutive nights of action at the Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes

© 2021 Sky UK

Premier League

World news – GB – Premier League Darts: We evaluate which players shine or fight before the 2021 season

Source: https://www.skysports.com/darts/news/12288/12263133/premier-league-darts-we-assess-which-players-are-shining-or-struggling-ahead-of-the-2021-season