The Green Machine, Mighty Mike, MVG, whatever you want to call him, Michael van Gerwen is the hottest thing in darts right now.
He won an incredible 18 titles on the PDC circuit in 2015, and with the new darting year well underway, we ask ourselves: who can stop Michael in 2016?
Surely he can’t surpass his success of last year, or can he? Van Gerwen has already snapped up the Unibet Masters title, though he was let off the hook by Phil Taylor in the semi finals.
The Power missed seven match darts to knock out the world number one, before MVG went on to lift the trophy as well as one of the UK Open Qualifiers which took place last weekend.
So, who are the men most likely to challenge van Gerwen this year and stop his winning ways?
Double world champion Adrian Lewis, who seems to have found the ‘Jackpot’ with his new darts, will be in my opinion Michael’s main challenger this year.
I can see Adrian lifting at least one, possibly two, televised events in 2016. When he’s on his game, there is no one better to watch.
Current world champion Gary Anderson will also enjoy success on the circuit, and will need to make more room his trophy cabinet I’m sure.
Can Phil Taylor challenge again this year? That’s a tough one. I think Phil will have his moments and win the odd tour event here and there, which was the case when beating van Gerwen in the third UK Open Qualifier.
But as far as challenging for the TV trophies, I think he’s going to come up short. Time catches up with everyone and Phil is no exception to this.
He seems to be happy with his new darts, but bringing this added freshness to your game does wear off, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see another change of darts from the Power during 2016.
Talking of changing darts, that brings me on to Peter Wright. I can’t remember what Peter’s current darts look like, and I’m pretty sure he can’t either! But Snakebite is definitely another player who will challenge Michael’s dominance.
Peter is yet to win a TV event, but he will be there or thereabouts again. He’s certainly got the game and the temperament to succeed, and I see no reason why in 2016 he can’t break his duck on TV.
James Wade, Dave Chisnall and Raymond van Barneveld will be trying their hardest to get in the winner’s circle. And while that might be the case on the tour, I can see the TV events being won by only the likes of van Gerwen, Lewis, Anderson and Wright.
We always see a couple of players that surprise us, and there’s usually a new up and coming face who becomes familiar to us.
I think Alan Norris is going to rise up the rankings in double quick time. He’s chucking a mean dart at the moment.
David Pallett is another player who I expect to make an impact. He’s enjoyed some big results over the top players in his career so far.
I also expect big things from young Jeffrey de Zwaan. I’ve been impressed with, not only the way he plays the game, but also the way he goes about his business on and off the board.
2016 promises to be another exciting year on the oche. It remains to be seen if players like Andy Hamilton, Simon Whitlock and Wes Newton can halt their slide down the rankings, but ultimately where the big titles are concerned, there are only three players in my mind who will challenge MVG.
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