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When Champions Collide

Adrian Lewis pumps his fist in celebration.


Phil Taylor and Adrian Lewis go head to head in the opening match of the 2011 Premier League season at the O2 arena this Thursday evening.

Lewis finally shook off the label of Taylor’s apprentice when he won the PDC World Championship title last month, capping off a tremendous year for the 26-year-old that also saw him beat Taylor for the first time in a televised event.

As a result he can go into this meeting with plenty of confidence in his ability to beat The Power although a first round defeat to Steve Beaton at the recent Players Championship Finals suggests that he may not be in the best of form.

Taylor, though, won that event and ended an unheralded seven-month gap between titles. Although he was far from his very best throughout the tournament there were signs that he is moving in the right direction with his game.

The bookmakers make Taylor the 4/6 favourite with Lewis 9/4 to pick up the two points on offer. Punters should also remember that the Premier League’s best-of-14 format offers the opportunity for the game to end in a draw, an outcome that can be backed at 4/1.

Lewis’s World Championship victory moved him up to number two in the PDC rankings and in doing so ended James Wade’s brief flirtation with the position.

Wade’s surprise second round defeat to Mensur Suljovic at Alexandra Palace only served to emphasise the Englishman’s inconsistencies. A lacklustre defeat to Taylor at the Players Championship Finals then reinforced the idea that he is currently suffering a lull in his game.

He faces Premier League debutant Mark Webster this Thursday and despite recent form is the 11/10 favourite for victory. Webster, who beat Taylor in the quarter-finals of World Championships, 13/8 for the win with the draw again at 4/1.

This year’s Premier League promises to be one of the most closely contested in the events history.

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