2021 PDC World Darts Championship review – Who Will Win?
Yes, the World Darts Championship starts tomorrow, the 15th of December, finally after what can only be described as one of the worst years in our lifetime, outside of darts. Having played this sport for nearly four decades and having seen champs come and go, that may give me an idea or two about who will become the World Champ come the 1st of January 2021.
Controversial? No not really. Will you disagree? Probably. But if you’re after a sit on the fence view, or a bob each way, then stop reading. I’m not going to waste your time. This is just my view, based on my experience. So, sit back, relax and take a few minutes because here’s where I see will be the winners and losers and why and also my view on who will take the World Darts Championship title and hold that throughout 2021.
No chance: Now I’m not here to knock any player, because they could all beat me left-handed, blind folded and throwing from two feet behind the oche. But I’ll start with Mensur Suljovic, the Serb that actually made a final this year but was beaten soundly by MVG 8-1 in Germany in mid-September. He’s no world champ in my book, not at this stage. Then there’s Adrian Lewis, the two-time World Champ, but he will not be this year as his game has disappeared for now. Glen Durrant who has also been a World Champ 3 times (in the BDO) may upset, as he did in October to win the Premier League Darts title, but at 50 he has a bit too much ahead of him to win a PDC World darts championship this year. Previous World Champ’s, Rob Cross and Gary Anderson are far from playing their best, Anderson who seems focused more elsewhere lately won the first Player’s Championship in early February and made one other final. I like him as a player, but right now, he’s not going to add a third world title to his resume.
Cross showed form in Austria in the World Series of Darts Finals and was only pipped by Gerwyn Price 11-9 in mid-September and will need that form throughout, but I can’t see that happening. Then there’s Daryl Gurney, an ex-Premier League player that has gone missing in the year of Covid-19. On the flip side Nathan Aspinall (The Asp), Dave Chisnall and Joe Cullen who beat MVG 8-5 to take the International Darts Open in late October have all played well and have proved to be in top form in 2020, but I can’t see any of them taking the big title come January the 1st. Australian Damon Heta burst onto the scene after qualifying fourth from Q school in January and is a quality player, both mentally and at the oche.
When your average is over 150 after a few legs against a professional opponent as it was in the World Cup of darts earlier rounds against Ratajski and made that quality of an opponent look average, there’s a future for you in professional darts. But I doubt he’s ready for the World Champ title this soon in his career. Dirk van Duijvenbode, the European Darts Grand Prix and Grand Slam of Darts champ Jose De Sousa and also World Matchplay winner from July, Dimitri Van Den Bergh have all had a standout year on the professional darts scene. But one (or two) wins or a final this year does not make a World Champion. They’ll be in the mix for the top 16 or even 8, but I can’t see any further from any of them. Then there’s these players who have played some of the best darts of their lives, Devon Peterson, Simon Whitlock (who shot a record 20 x 180’s in a match), James Wade, Ian White and even Mervyn King have all had an outstanding season in 2020. Yes, they may well feature in the top 16, 8 or even further, but a world championship title will not happen for any. Michael Smith has also played a blinding season and on his day can beat any of the top professional players. But Smith has lacked that final punch to win this title. He made four tour event final’s this year and won two. Remember he’s got a current world ranking of 4 and was a finalist in this event just under two years ago, but I think he will fall short once again. That’s just my view remember.
Likely….. and then there was three. Now it’s not about who I’d like to win the World title, it’s about who I think will. Remember all the players will be well rested having at least two weeks since the Players Championship at the end of November where some players complained of fatigue. So, this will not be an issue. What will though, is the format that the World Champs is played, a set format. Most of the tournaments this year have been a shootout, best of 15 or 21 and so on. In this, if a player loses a set, they can recoup, re-focus and go again for the next set. So, the mental game becomes even more important with the players that can compose themselves normally coming out on top.
OK so who wins you say? Gerwyn Price is going to be there or there abouts. He has made eleven tour event finals on the pro circuit this year, more than anyone else, he has also won seven of those finals. In fact, he has won his last five! He went to the semi-final last year but lost by 6 sets to 3 by the eventual winner, Peter Wright. This may be his year, but I don’t think so. Then there’s the current champ, Peter “Snakebite” Wright (who I picked would win last year whilst watching the final in a little pub in Galway). Peter too has had a solid season in this Covid impacted year and has made eight tour event final’s this year losing just one by a tight margin 7-8 to MVG back at the 9th Players Championship (ProTour, Summer Series) in Milton Keynes in early July. With stats like that, how can you go past the current World Champ to take the title again this year? Well, call me stupid (‘cause I’ve been called much worse), but I have. Michael van Gerwen (MVG) has made nine tour event final’s this year, winning five of them. His record in final’s in the past three months is 2-2, won 2, lost 2. His form this year has been far from his best by being beaten as much as he has won. Many no longer fear the man they call (or he does) “Mighty Mike”.
Some believe he’s passed his use by date and no longer has the sting he did when he dominated the sport a few years back. So why MVG for the title? Two reasons, experience and format. MVG has made the World Darts Championship final three times out of the last four years. He is third on the all-time appearances list as this will be his 14th finals appearance. (Phil Taylor 25 and can you believe Steve “The Bronzed Adonis” Beaton will make his 30th World Championship appearance if you include the BDO). MVG has made the World Darts Championship final three out of the last four years. I know, I have repeated that on purpose. MVG does well under the “sets format”. Don’t get me wrong, so do many other players, but this suits MVG’s style of game. Yes, he will have a couple of weeks or so to chill, practise and practise some more and so too will all the other players. But that will make him ready after one topsy turvy year. Will the old MVG then turn up come crunch time? This writer thinks so.
One thing is for certain, although Christmas is already busy here at www.bullseyedarts.co.nz , I’ll still have time to watch a lot of telly over the Christmas/New Year period in my house as this is going to be one fantastic championship!
Safe holiday’s and straight arrows everyone.
Owner – Bullseye Darts