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With all due respect...

Author: Sky Sports Darts

In darts you shouldn't disrespect your opponent, but you shouldn't show him too much respect either.

Some players don't understand when I say that, but I honestly think some guys show Phil Taylor too much respect. He's such a great player and such a great ambassador for the game that some of them forget to impose their own style on him.

Lewis: overcame the Power last week

That's not the case with Adrian Lewis now. Last week he imposed his game on Taylor, just as he did against Raymond van Barneveld, and refused to let The Power dominate him. He has the highest respect for him - as we all do - but he didn't show it.

I used to play like that. I always had the highest respect for Eric Bristow, but when I played against him I hated him - and you need to do that against Phil or you risk getting well beaten.


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Lewis threw a few key doubles during the match, but there was a killer 160 part way through, just as there was at the start of his game against Barney, and that got him really revved up. I think he went onto autopilot after that and said afterwards that he thought that was the turning point.

Taylor looked in command at 4-1 up and I was surprised to see him lose four legs in a row at the end. That will hurt him.

He'll be like a wounded tiger this week - and the next swipe will be a very hard one. Simon Whitlock could face the brunt of what happened last week...

But it was great to see Lewis back on such great form.

James Wade v Kevin Painter

Kevin Painter only had to stay straight to beat Gary Anderson last week; he established an early lead and never let go of it. I spoke to him afterwards and he said there have been games in the Premier League that he shouldn't have lost - and if he comes back next year he'll make sure he wins them. He's learning all the time and I think this competition has seen him grow up as a professional darts player. He's moved onto the next plateau and it was a great win last week.

James Wade is one of those natural players whereby sometimes it goes for him and other days it doesn't. That's just the way it is. He thought he would breeze it against Andy Hamilton last week, but you can't breeze any game nowadays and I think he was disappointed to walk off with a draw. If Kev can get off to a flying start then there's two points here for him, but Wade is always capable of exceptional darts. I think it all comes down to who is in front at the break.

Phil Taylor v Simon Whitlock

When Taylor loses a game then nine times out of 10 he responds by coming out with all guns blazing. It will be interesting to see what he comes up with this week, but we know what we'll get from Simon Whitlock, who has been consistent for many weeks. He is capable of pushing Taylor and has been very strong on his ton-plus finishes lately - and that's what made him a big name in darts. He needs to do that against Taylor because you don't get too many opportunities. He can't afford to be 6-0 or 5-1 down at the break and he needs to stay with him for the first half of the game.

This should be a close game and we could see a draw, but I'll just go for Taylor to win it. I also think this could be the game with the most 180's on the night (I'd usually say Lewis v Anderson, but Gary hasn't been throwing well enough lately) and it should certainly have the highest checkout.

Andy Hamilton v Raymond van Barneveld

Barney wasn't too disappointed after losing to Simon Whitlock last week. He said he was tired after the tour events he'd won and he says he still hasn't controlled his diabetes. He says he felt lethargic and he can't really do anything about it. He needs to find a way to feel upbeat after two long tour events and the only thing that will cure that is fitness and he's starting to do that, to be fair to him. He had a rest at the weekend and that's' why I'm tipping him for a win in Liverpool.

Andy Hamilton laughed when I described him as a streetfighter last week. I love his drive, I love his energy and I love the fact he never gives up. He'll fight for every inch of that stage. Like Painter, he's been a breath of fresh air in the Premier League and the crowd love his energy on the big stage. He doesn't miss many doubles and if Barney starts missing then he can expect a few Hammer blows.

Adrian Lewis v Gary Anderson

Gary Anderson doesn't seem to have the energy that he normally has after all that has gone on in his life in the last few weeks. He'll keep giving 100 per cent - and he could beat anybody on any given day - but I think he'll use the rest of the Premier League as practice. If he doesn't win this match then his hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals will have gone.

The biggest difference for Anderson has been the reduction in the number of 180's he has thrown this year. He didn't throw a single one last week and that's not like him. He's not happy with his game, he's obviously feeling down and things aren't going too well for him. Lewis needs the points and I think he'll be fired up for this one. Going by the form book you've got to go for a win for the world champ.

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