Phil Taylor is hoping to continue his Betway Premier League Darts revival when he takes on old foe Gary Anderson as the tournament visits the Westpoint Arena in Exeter on Thursday night.

Premier League Darts

Unbeaten – Lawrence Lustig/PDC

The 16-time World Champion had suffered his worst start to a Premier League season in the nine years of the competition by losing his opening three matches last month.

However, Taylor broke that run with a fine performance to defeat basement rival Simon Whitlock 7-3 in Glasgow last week, averaging almost 105 and finishing seven doubles from nine attempts in his best display yet on the big stage since changing darts earlier in 2014.

The six-time Premier League Darts champion faces in-form Gary Anderson in the fifth week of the season in Exeter on Thursday, knowing that another win would further boost his challenge and further lift his confidence ahead of the defence of his UK Open title this weekend.

“It’s a massive weekend ahead and it would be a brilliant way to start it with a win in Exeter,” said Taylor. “My form’s picking up and now I know that everything I’m doing in practice is right.

“You do everything to try to improve, and now I know it’s working after last week so I want to take that into the game with Gary.

“We often bring the best out of each other and it’s been great to see him getting back to his best recently. We always say to each other “Don’t miss!” and I’ll be warning him again on Thursday!”

2011 Premier League champion Anderson produced another superb display as he picked up his second victory of the season a week ago, hitting a 170 finish and averaging 108 against Dave Chisnall, and is looking forward to another clash with Taylor.

The pair have enjoyed many memorable contests, with Somerset-based Anderson taking victory in the 2007 World Darts Trophy decider only to lose out to his rival in the 2010 UK Open and 2011 Grand Slam of Darts finals.

“I enjoy playing Phil and I never expect anything less than him at his best,” said the Scot. “He knows what he’s going to get from me too and we’ve had some cracking games over the years.

“I seem to keep coming up against players in great form – Barney and Robert didn’t miss a thing against me recently and that may be the case against Phil too after last week, but I’m looking forward to it.

“He’s still the boy [to beat]. It doesn’t matter who’s coming on the scene or what they’re doing, or what they’re going to do, he’s still the boy – but I’ll be up for it.”

World Championship finalist Peter Wright is the Premier League’s only unbeaten player following his emphatic 7-1 win over Adrian Lewis in Glasgow a week ago, and he faces fellow Scot Robert Thornton in the Exeter opener.

“At the start of the season my target was to finish in the top eight and avoid relegation, but now my target is to be in that top four and play in the Play-Offs at The O2 in May,” said Wright.

“Hopefully I can keep on doing what I’m doing and keep this going. I believe in my game and my mental state at the moment and I think I can go on and win a major title this year.”

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barneveld meets Dave Chisnall in the night’s second contest, as he bids to consolidate his top-four place after continuing a bright start to the season with superb win over Michael van Gerwen last week.

“Last week was great for my confidence,” admitted van Barneveld. “Not many people are beating Michael at the moment so I was very proud of that, and I want to continue that form against Dave this week.”

Van Gerwen and Lewis are both looking to bounce back from their disappointing results in Glasgow when they clash in Exeter, with the Dutchman having won their last three meetings, including a 6-0 sets victory in the World Championship semi-finals.

The night’s other game sees Simon Whitlock, who has lost all four of his games so far, bidding to celebrate Monday’s 45th birthday with a maiden win of the campaign as he takes on Wes Newton, who sits fourth after last week’s draw with Thornton.

A small number of tickets for Thursday’s Betway Premier League Darts at the Westpoint Arena remain available by calling 08444 99 99 55 or via www.ticketzone.co.uk.

Betway Premier League Darts Week Five Fixtures

March 6, Westpoint Arena, Exeter
Peter Wright v Robert Thornton
Raymond van Barneveld v Dave Chisnall
Adrian Lewis v Michael van Gerwen
Phil Taylor v Gary Anderson
Wes Newton v Simon Whitlock
Tickets: 08444 99 99 55 or www.ticketzone.co.uk

Betway Premier League Darts Week Five Betting

Peter Wright v Robert Thornton
4/5 Peter Wright
9/2 Draw
9/4 Robert Thornton

Raymond van Barneveld v Dave Chisnall
4/5 Raymond van Barneveld
9/2 Draw
9/4 Dave Chisnall

Adrian Lewis v Michael van Gerwen
2/1 Adrian Lewis
9/2 Draw
17/20 Michael van Gerwen

Phil Taylor v Gary Anderson
57/100 Phil Taylor
5/1 Draw
3/1 Gary Anderson

Wes Newton v Simon Whitlock
13/10 Wes Newton
4/1 Draw
13/10 Simon Whitlock

Outright Betway Premier League Darts Winner Odds

6/5 Michael van Gerwen
3/1 Phil Taylor
5/1 Adrian Lewis
8/1 Peter Wright
12/1 Raymond van Barneveld
25/1 Gary Anderson
40/1 Robert Thornton
50/1 Dave Chsinall
80/1 Wes Newton
150/1 Simon Whitlock

For other bets and special offers, visit www.betway.com. Odds above correct at time of writing and may be subject to change.

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