Premier League watch: Four players from 2017 line-up who could be dropped next year

In part two of this three-part series, I take a look at four players who played in the 2017 Premier League and have been Premier League regulars over the past few years. I make a case for them being dropped, in addition to a case against them being dropped.

Adrian Lewis

The Case For

It hasn’t been the greatest 20 months for the double world champion. Since losing out to Gary Anderson in the 2016 World Championship final, Adrian Lewis has failed to reach a premier TV final, apart from the pairs format World Cup. His only other TV final of any level came in a World Series event in Auckland. Outside the Matchplay, he hasn’t been past the last 16 of a single ranking major, and in the floor events he’s managed just one title since February 2016. If he doesn’t improve soon, he could be out of the top 16 come January. And that doesn’t even get to the fact that he struggled mightily in the Premier League this year.

The Case Against

His form is no more worrying than that of Gary Anderson a few years ago, and it didn’t cost Anderson his spot in the Premier League. Moreover, he’s given flashes to make us think an upswing in results isn’t too far off. And none of that gets to the most important point that Adrian Lewis is, after Phil Taylor, the biggest active name in English darts. With Taylor retiring, the Premier League will suffer a major headlining hit. It is a business, and Adrian Lewis’s CV says he deserves a free pass, at least for next year.

Dave Chisnall

The Case For

He’s already been dropped from the World Series rotation, missing out on the last five World Series events, including Germany. That’s on top of some indifferent form since the summer recess, losing all four matches he has played at the European Tour and in the Champions League this month. He’s only won his board at half the Players Championship events he’s played this year, a low number for a Premier League-caliber player. And he’s gone out second match at both the UK Open and the World Matchplay, the two ranking TV majors to date.

The Case Against

Despite falling short of the play-offs this year, Dave Chisnall was undoubtedly the best player during the second half of the Premier League. He went unbeaten, and just missed a couple of tricks that in the end cost him a spot at the O2. His form up to the final in Shanghai is about as good as anyone has shown in the World Series events this year. Okay, he hasn’t had a deep run in a ranking TV event this year, but he’s made a good account of himself. And we all know Dave Chisnall’s best darts generally come deep into autumn. Even if he hasn’t done enough right, he’s not done anything to merit getting dropped.

Raymond van Barneveld

The Case For

Outside the World Championships, there’s not much to distinguish Raymond van Barneveld from the other contenders for the Premier League. He played all the World Series events and made just one final, and his form in the Premier League this year was as bad as it has ever been. All that would be fine if the PDC wasn’t already going out and trying fresh faces. But the PDC has been, and those fresh faces have reached two World Series finals (Daryl Gurney and Corey Cadby) and won another (Kyle Anderson). The days of Barney getting free passes may be limited.

The Case Against

He’s Raymond van Barneveld. He’s a five-time world champion who is still nearly as popular now as he’s always been. And with Phil Taylor retiring, losing van Barneveld from the Premier League will be a huge marketing loss. Moreover, he’s shown he still has it. Had it not been for an untimely power cut, Barney may well have won the UK Open, and he never got going in the Matchplay because he had to play Phil Taylor second round. And then there was the Champions League this past weekend, where he beat Michael van Gerwen and only got knocked out in the semi-final by a 160-out from Mensur Suljovic. It’s not panic time yet for Barney.

James Wade

The Case For

Since the UK Open, James Wade has entered 21 ranking tournaments and has only made it further than the last 16 twice. He went out first round of the World Matchplay, and his performances in the World Series events have been at best uneven, including a defeat to Canadian Dawson Murschell in Las Vegas. He’s dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in over a decade, and is outside the top 24 in seasonal ranking earnings, which no one has ever done and still made Premier League. Add in that he only finished seventh in the Premier League, ahead of only Adrian Lewis, and got only three points against the top 6 in the second half of the season, and it might be time for Wade to get another break from the Premier League.

The Case Against

Although Wade hasn’t gotten results as of late, he put in some turn-back-the-clock performances in New Zealand and Australia. Moreover, he’s not defending that much money in the back end of 2017, which could see him rise back into the top 8 or even top 6 by just a marginal increase in form. Wade will have ample opportunities over the next few months to make an even stronger case, and it’s hard to imagine someone of Wade’s talent not making one or more deep televised runs before the World Championship. His case may now look shaky, but give it time and it will make itself.


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