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16 May 2018 by HUGZ

2018 Unibet Premier League Darts Semi-Finals – Michael Smith vs Gary Anderson Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Thursday 17th May

Where? The O2, London

What channel is it on? Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action

Where can I stream the match? Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via Sky Go

Are tickets still available? www.axs.com

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

CAREER HEAD-TO-HEAD
Michael Smith 3-9 Gary Anderson

MICHAEL SMITH

  • Michael Smith suffered elimination from the Premier League on his debut back in 2016, but he has come back with a bang in 2018 and qualified for the play-offs with a second-place finish in the league.
  • Smith won his opening four matches of the campaign and was a permanent fixture in the top four throughout the season; his only defeats in the league phase came against Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson and Rob Cross.
  • Smith averaged over 98 in only four of his 16 league matches and he has the lowest tournament average of all the remaining four Premier League title contenders.

GARY ANDERSON

  • Gary Anderson is chasing his third Premier League title having won the tournament in 2011 and 2015. He entered the play-offs having finished third in the league phase on both of those occasions and earned his spot in the play-offs with a third-place finish this year.
  • Anderson won only one of his opening six matches of the campaign but then recovered to win seven of his remaining ten matches to clinch a place in the top four.
  • The Flying Scotsman hit a ton plus checkout in 13 of his 16 league matches and his overall tournament tally of 18 ton plus finishes is bettered only by Michael van Gerwen.

THE PREDICTION

Good pals Michael Smith and Gary Anderson will put their friendship to one side as they battle to win a place in the final. In their two meetings during the league phase they each won one match, though Smith’s win against Anderson on night one of the campaign was when the Scotsman was suffering from a back complaint and that was Smith’s first win against Anderson since 2014. Anderson gained his revenge for that defeat when he averaged over 110 in hammering Smith 7-2 later on in the season.

Although Smith finished higher in the league table than Anderson and was more consistent over the course of the league phase, he never peaked at the same levels as Anderson did and of course the extra experience of having won this tournament twice goes in Anderson’s favour whilst Smith has yet to win a big TV title.

Smith has been suffering with pleurisy over the past couple of weeks which is hardly ideal heading into a massive night of play-off action. Even a fully-fit Smith would struggle to defeat Anderson on the big stage. The Flying Scotsman is unlikely to go easy on his friend and should book his place in the final.