Wade's lost his way
Sid Waddell says the real James Wade hasn't turned up yet in this Premier League season.
Last Updated: 06/04/11 4:54pm
Traditionally, the standard of darts goes through the roof when the Premier League arrives in Aberdeen.
Two years ago Phil Taylor set a Premier League record - and then world record - of 116.01 in a match against John Part. Then last year Raymond van Barneveld threw a nine-darter out of nowhere in this venue.
So I'm expecting another good night and I think we will see a really good scrap for the top four places. Taylor, Barney and Gary Anderson are in the top three and Adrian Lewis and Simon Whitlock will be hoping to make a drive into the play-offs as well.
It's also a big night for James Wade, who is at the bottom of the league and needs to make an appearance to get his season back on track. He's lost six of his eight games so far and is nowhere near the form of 2009 when he won the title.
That year he was producing averages as high as 108 and he scored fourteen 180's in one night. This year his best average is 98, so he has a long way to go.
Last week I managed to predict the winners of all four matches, which is no mean feat because all of the Premier League players are capable of stringing a run of legs together.
These guys are so good and they are always competitive, so let's see if I can work out what's going to happen in Aberdeen...
Gary Anderson v Terry Jenkins
Anderson lies second in the table after beating Wade last week, but by his own admission he pinched that victory. That said, he averaged 101.5 and threw six 180's, which are significant statistics that Jenkins might struggle to live with. He is nowhere near as nervous as he used to be and he is starting matches pretty well - as we saw in Glasgow when he won the first three legs against Lewis. He used to worry about his early luck, but that simply isn't the case any more. He has got rid of his demons and is a confidence-driven beast now.
The Bull lost 8-3 to Whitlock in Cardiff and his best average so far was the 98 he threw against Mark Webster in Manchester. I can't see him getting better than a 95 average this week and that sort of form won't be good enough to handle Anderson.
SID SAYS: Anderson threw an 11-darter at a key stage against Wade and that shows his confidence. That convinces me he will win this 8-4.
Adrian Lewis v James Wade
Wade has only won twice this year, but he did beat Lewis when they met in Nottingham. That night he produced his season's best average of 98 and had three 100+ checkouts. He might need to do better than that if he's to beat the world champ again this time. He needs to get his scoring and his big finishes together - and he also needs to average 101 - but I'm not sure he can produce on any front.
I can't see him putting all of the chemistry together because I don't think the problem is psychological with James. He's has great natural talent, but he doesn't know how to turn the tap. It's almost as if he's hoping for a performance rather than knowing he's going to produce. Adrian gave us ten 140's last week and I expect him to make a drive into the top four with a victory here.
SID SAYS: Six months ago you would have said this would be a very tight match, but not right now. I say 8-3 to Lewis.
Mark Webster v Phil Taylor
These two have played each other seven times in the past with Taylor winning five, including a 6-0 semi-final win at the 2010 World Championship. However, Webster got revenge by beating The Power 5-2 in this year's memorable quarter-final. Taylor responded by beating him 8-5 in Nottingham and he will use the Alexandra Palace result as motivation to beat him again. He always looks for little battles and he'll want to teach the Welshman a lesson.
Webster isn't exactly in giant-killing form. His Week Four win over Lewis (when he averaged a brilliant 110) is starting to look like a flash in the pan. He only threw three 140's last week and that isn't enough at this level. Last week he was off the pace every way you measure it, but you can't say that about Taylor. He has averaged more than 104 on five occasions and I expect him to reach 110 here.
SID SAYS: It's a big task for Webster and I reckon it could be a win as high as 8-2 for The Power.
Raymond van Barneveld v Simon Whitlock
This should be the game of the night. The key to Barney's loss to Taylor last Thursday was that he only got seven 140's. Contrast that with Whitlock, who threw thirteen 140's against Jenkins and you can see why the Aussie will pose a real threat.
Barney won 8-3 when they met in Nottingham with four 100+ checkouts and if Whitlock can match that finishing power - and I've got reason to believe he might - then this could be a classic. Remember, he beat Barney in Belfast last year with an 83% checkout ratio and has been in very good form for the last two weeks in the League. The only difference here might be the pro-Barney crowd; he;s always very popular when we go to Scotland.
SID SAYS: Barney will have the fans on his side, so I'm going to say he'll edge it 8-6, but it will be an absolute nail-biter.