Premier League Darts: Night 12 preview and schedule as the top four do battle in Dublin

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With just five more nights remaining until we head to Germany for the play-offs, the race for those top four spots will start to intensify, and this week's fixtures work out well for the chasing pack.

Premier League leader Jonny Clayton, who won last week in Aberdeen, faces fourth-placed Peter Wright - who will be looking over his shoulder if he fails to win this week.

Michael van Gerwen (currently second) and James Wade (who is third) usually make the final, so the winner of their quarter-final will hope that trend continues at the 3Arena in Dublin.

With the top four fighting it out among themselves, one or two of the bottom four can make up some ground if they can get on a run - even the bottom two of Michael Smith and Gary Anderson as they face off in a basement battle.

Gerwyn Price has struggled so far this season and defeat against Joe Cullen could well end his chances of making the top four - while it could help The Rockstar make a serious challenge for the play-off spots.

Night 12 order of play

James Wade 19:10 Michael van Gerwen Gerwyn Price 19:40 Joe Cullen Michael Smith 20:10 Gary Anderson Jonny Clayton 20:40 Peter Wright Semi-finals will start at around 21:10 BST, while the final is expected to take place at 22:15 BST.

James Wade vs Michael van Gerwen

What a start to the night we have in Dublin as second-placed Michael van Gerwen faces third-placed James Wade in a battle of two of the most in-form players in the Premier League.

Eight of the last nine weekly finals have had either Wade or Van Gerwen in them, with the Dutchman converting his five appearances into three wins and Wade struggling to match that with just one weekly win from four finals.

That conversion rate is one difference, another is in how they win their matches as MVG blows opponents away while Wade often edges closer games as one of the best matchplayers on the circuit. The Machine has won just three fewer matches than Van Gerwen but while he's won exactly the same number of legs as he's lost, Might Mike has a whopping +41 legs difference. Van Gerwen also holds the head-to-head advantage, winning three of their four Premier League meetings this season, including last week's semi-final and a rousing 6-1 success in the week nine final in Leeds.

Gerwyn Price vs Joe Cullen

They're not the most in-form pair these two, with Gerwyn Price winning just one of the last six, and Joe Cullen losing his last three matches.

There are still five nights left, but this could already be a knock-out decider, especially for Price who is nine points outside the top four heading to Dublin, while Cullen is just five points off and still has some wiggle room.

Cullen is in better Premier League form, having made the Manchester final two weeks ago, and he's also won their two league meetings this season.

Price is just enduring a tough spell right now too, and has recently spoken of how the new format is not to his liking. If the Welshman doesn't find something, this could well be where his title challenge effectively ends.

Michael Smith vs Gary Anderson

Michael Smith remains the only player in the field yet to win a weekly prize, but he's still one place above rock-bottom Gary Anderson in the table having won more matches, legs and points that the Scotsman. Anderson has still incredibly only won a match in two of the 11 Premier League nights staged so far with three of his four wins coming when he won week six in Nottingham.

Funnily enough, Anderson beat Smith in that Nottingham final and that's the last time he won a game in the league - with Bully Boy winning their other meeting 6-1. With Anderson losing five matches on the spin in all competitions and Smith only managing one win in five, there's no form at all to speak of in this basement battle.

Jonny Clayton vs Peter Wright

A victory last week in Aberdeen sent Jonny Clayton back to the top of the Premier League, and now he'll face world champion Peter Wright for the second time in quick succession.

Clayton beat Wright in last week's semi-finals as the Welshman went on to make his fourth final of this season's Premier League and earn his third weekly win.

Wright has a five-point cushion in fourth but now needs to kick on a bit to increase that gap as we head down the final stretch towards the play-offs in a tournament he's made no secret about wanting to win. Wright has just one win in six recently though, while Clayton has just one loss in six, so the world champion needs to find something to avoid an early exit in Dublin.

The article Premier League Darts: Night 12 preview and schedule as the top four do battle in Dublin appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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