With the 2017 World Darts Championship now entering the quarter finals stage, Burn FM Darts Correspondent Max Chesterton takes a look at who are the favourites to be crowned world champion, as we reach the business end of this year’s tournament.
Raymond van Barneveld
49 year old, one time winner, Raymond ‘Barney’ van Barneveld has so far been in superb form in this year’s competition, breezing into the quarter finals after a 4-3 victory over two time world champion Adrian Lewis.
Despite under performing in recent years, ‘Barney’ has returned to the form that saw him defeat Phil Taylor in the epic 2007 final.
Despite success so far in the competition, achieving averages of just over 100 in the process, van Barneveld will have to improve in his checkouts if he is to beat his next opponent, either Phil Taylor or Kim Huybrechts. During his match against Adrian Lewis, ‘Barney’ missed twenty two doubles, failing to capitalise in key moments especially in the third set.
Victories over Robbie Green, Alan Norris, and fifth seed Adrian Lewis have demonstrated that ‘Barney’ perhaps has the ability to go all the way and subsequently pick up the £350,000 prize fund.
Michael van Gerwen
2014 winner Michael ‘Mighty Mike’ van Gerwen has been in blistering form as of late, and will undoubtedly be bookmakers favourite to lift this year’s trophy.
2016 has been a spectacular year for ‘Mighty Mike’, winning the World Matchplay, World Grand Prix, Grand Slam, Premier League and The Masters to name but a few of his title winning exploits.
After easing past Kim Viljanen and Cristo Reyes so far in the competition, number one seed van Gerwen takes on tricky opponent Darren Webster in the third round, which if he succeeds will see him through to the quarter finals for a relatively easy match against either Mark Webster or Daryl Gurney.
Van Gerwen’s unstoppable form in 2016, compiled with favourable draws, will undoubtedly make him the man to beat in this year’s World Championship.
Darts most successful player, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor is undoubtedly a contender to win the 2017 PDC World Darts Championship.
The sixteen times World Champion is yet to drop a set so far in the tournament, seeing off Australian David Platt 3-0 in the first round, and defeating experienced Kevin Painter 4-0 in the second.
Despite not winning the World Championship since 2013 and perhaps being in the later years of his career, 56 year old Taylor will always be a contender to pick up the trophy.
Taylor’s wealth of experience and ever present ability at hitting the doubles, perhaps would make him an outside favourite to win this year’s World Championship.
If Taylor succeeds against 13th seed Belgian Kim Huybrechts in the third round on the 29th December, he will face old nemesis Raymond van Barneveld in the quarter finals, a repeat of the 2007 PDC World Championship Final.
Defending World Champion Gary Anderson will look to retain his trophy for a third consecutive year following his victory over Benito van de Pas in the 3rd round of the 2017 PDC World Darts Championship.
2015 and 2016 Winner Gary ‘The Flying Scotsman’ Anderson has shown so far that his aggressive style and rugged determination could be good enough to land him yet another world title.
Following convincing victories over Mark ‘Frosty the throwman’ Frost, Andrew Gilding and Benito van de Pas, Anderson has so far demonstrated that he could go all the way once again.
Anderson’s notoriety as a big game player will be handy if he is to edge his way into the semi-finals as he faces either Dave Chisnall or Jelle Klaasen in the quarter finals, both tricky customers.
Despite previously being best renowned for his ‘interesting’ haircuts, Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright has significantly improved in the last five years making him yet another favourite to win this year’s competition.
The number three seed and 2014 runner-up, has so far been in electric form in the competition, brushing past Jerry Hendriks 3-0 and Jamie Lewis 4-0 in the process.
Despite Wright’s recent upturn in form, he has yet to win a major tournament, losing the 2014 final to Michael van Gerwen along with a catalogue of semi-final defeats so far this season.
Wright next steps up to the oche against seasoned veteran and number 14 seed Ian White in the third round of the competition on the 29th December.
Following impressive victories against Jeffrey De Graaf and Brendan Dolan, 2016 semi-finalist Jelle Klaasen is perhaps the dark horse of the 2017 PDC World Championships.
The 32 year old Dutch player has shown that he can mix it with the very best in recent years and even knocked out Peter Taylor in the second round of last year’s championship before succumbing to Gary Anderson in the semi-finals.
Klaasen, who is yet to win a major PDC tournament has shown that he has the potential to beat the very best players, but will have to significantly raise his average of 94.67 if he is to beat his next opponent Dave Chisnall in round three.
However, Klaasen could struggle against Chisnall who recently beat ‘The Cobra’ 10-9 at the Players Championship Finals.
If Klaasen does succeed in defeating Chisnall, he will advance to a quarter final match against reigning champion Gary Anderson, the man who knocked him out of last year’s competition, achieving a nine dart finish in the process.
Quarter Final Schedule:
Friday December 30th
Afternoon Session (1pm)
James Wade (6) v Peter Wright (3)
Gary Anderson (2) v Dave Chisnall (7)
Evening Session (7pm)
Michael van Gerwen (1) v Daryl Gurney (24)
Raymond van Barneveld (12) v Phil Taylor (4)