Emma Paton’s Predictions: Luke Littler to capture Premier League Darts title on debut or another winner? | Darts News

After 16 weeks the league phase is done and it’s full steam ahead to the O2 Arena!

You could argue it’s been the best Premier League campaign we’ve ever had, certainly in terms of quality.

It’s been a season that’s had a bit of everything!

We’ve had spine-tingling walk-ons…Nathan Aspinall orchestrating the crowd week after week meant Mr Brightside seemed to get louder and more emphatic as the league went on, plus we had Luke Humphries changing his song from Cake by the Ocean to I Predict a Riot which went down a treat – especially in Leeds!

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Take a look at some of the best play-off moments in Premier League history

We’ve had show-stopping finishes – a 120 out with all three darts hitting double 20 – is possibly the most Luke Littler thing you’ll ever see!

And I think what maybe made this season even more intriguing was the flip-flopping of dominance – Michael van Gerwen looked unstoppable between weeks two and four, Humphries then emerged as the man to beat nights six to eight, before Littler made his mark and ended up running away with top spot. The top three all ending up with four nightly wins.

We’ve had some serious showboating and celebrating, and we even had a nine-darter as well (hooray!), so hopefully more of that on Thursday!

The top four…

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Luke Humphries couldn’t hide his delight at winning Night 15 of the Premier League in Leeds as he sung the Leeds United anthem Marching On Together

After four months, just four remain! We’re left with the top three in the world, plus Littler, wow, not a bad line-up is it!?

Littler ended up topping the table, with a tally of 40 points – a joint record in this format, what a debut!

The 17-year-old will face Michael Smith in the opening semi-final after last year’s world champion sealed his spot on the final night of league action in Sheffield.

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A look back at the best of the action from Belfast…

And how about this: Smith is one of the few players on the planet with a positive head-to-head record against the world youth champion, winning five of their seven meetings this year!

Humphries will also appear at finals night on his Premier League debut. The world No 1 ended up second in the table after 16 weeks and was also the only player to average over a ton across the last four months.

The world champion takes on Van Gerwen in the other semi-final. The flying Dutchman finished third after a fairly inconsistent season, really. Despite winning four weeks, the reigning champion was eliminated in the opening game of the night eight times.

But does that matter come finals night!? Well ‘Mighty Mike’ has won the Premier League a record seven times for a reason!

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Van Gerwen proves a point to Luke Littler by finishing off the youngster’s nine-darter by hitting a 144

Who wins then?

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Littler missed a fist-bump from Van Gerwen to leave him awkwardly hanging during their Premier League semi-final in Newcastle in February

After going back and forth (and back and forth again!), I think I’ve settled on a winner.

Before that though, who are our finalists?!

Well, are we on a collision course for a rematch of the World Championship final? If we’re looking at form from the regular season, Littler and Humphries were the two standout players. With Littler trickling in points, losing just three quarter-finals across 16 weeks, with some show-stopping form to boot – who can forget the 114 average against Van Gerwen on week seven – I think he’ll come out on top against his bogey player in Smith first.

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Humphries set the Sheffield crowd alight with a sensational 170 in the final

Humphries has a great record against MVG which I think will carry on. The world champion has won six of their last seven meetings, and really has the beating of him. ‘Cool Hand’ seems almost unplayable when he hits top form, which leads to the question, is the world No 1the man to beat?

He’s been so consistent in big games across the last six months and I don’t see that changing.

Humphries for the win and a first Premier League title!

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Luke Littler has put his name on the darting map!

It’s the Play-Offs, live on Sky Sports

Michael Van Gerwen celebrates with the trophy after winning against Gerwyn Price in the final during the Cazoo Premier League Play-Offs. Photo credit should read: Steven Paston/PDC ..RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.
Michael van Gerwen is the seven-time Premier League champion

The Premier League Play-Offs take place at The O2 in London, as the top four compete for the £275,000 top prize in the capital.

Table-topper Luke Littler will play 2018 runner-up Michael Smith in the opening semi-final, before World Champion Luke Humphries takes on reigning champion Michael van Gerwen.

Fixtures: Night 17 at London’s O2 on Thursday, May 23

Semi-finals (First to 10 legs)
Luke Littler vs Michael Smith
Luke Humphries vs Michael van Gerwen
Final (First to 11 legs)
Littler/Smith v Humphries/Van Gerwen

Premier League Darts continues on Sky Sports with the Play-Offs at the O2 Arena in London on Thursday, May 23. Stream the darts and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership. No contract, cancel anytime.