The Phil Taylor Trophy will be lifted on Sunday night when Michael van Gerwen takes on Gerwyn Price in a heavyweight showdown in the final of the 2022 World Matchplay inside the iconic Winter Gardens in Blackpool.
Both men had questions to answer arriving at this tournament, van Gerwen with his injury and Price with a very ordinary record in this event by his standards, but they have emphatically answered them and will have their eye on the second biggest ranking title in the game.
Michael van Gerwen
If there were any doubts over Michael van Gerwen ahead of the tournament he has put them to bed and as you would imagine given that he hadn’t had the smoothest preparation coming into the event, he has improved with every match that he has played. There is a case to be made that he should have been taken out earlier in the tournament when Adrian Lewis got out in front of him but since then he hasn’t really been too troubled.
The encouraging thing for van Gerwen is that he was behind for most of his semi-final against Dimitri Van den Bergh but he didn’t let his level drop and then when the door was left open he was able to power through it. That shows he can hold himself together in adversity which will encourage him because we know he is a good front-runner. He’ll need to tidy up his display to win this final but he doesn’t lack for experience of the big stage and has the confidence of having won the Premier League six weeks ago.
It was almost inconceivable that Gerwyn Price hadn’t gone beyond the quarter final of this tournament prior to arriving in Blackpool this week but he certainly hasn’t let that bother him. He stuttered to victory in the first round against Martin Schindler, although he certainly wasn’t alone in that regard, but since then he has moved through the gears and very much looks like he is the one to beat in this final now.
Price looked very good in his quarter final win against Jose de Sousa and then took it up another notch against Danny Noppert in the semi-final, the highlight of which was that nine-dart finish in a performance that was loaded with 180s. If there was a question mark over him in that semi-final it was that his finishing wasn’t as crisp as he would have liked it to be but it is never a bad position to be in when there is room for improvement going into a final.
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These two men have met on 34 previous occasions with van Gerwen pretty dominant over the entirety of time. This will be the fifth time they have met in a final with van Gerwen coming out on top in three of the previous four including both the final they have played on the TV. It is Price who holds the edge in 2022 though with three wins from their five meetings, although van Gerwen came out on top in their last match which was out in the US Masters. The historical edge would appear to be with the Dutchman in this final.
History might be on the side of van Gerwen but that doesn’t count for much in the here and now and I think Gerwyn Price is going to be very tough to beat in this final. He has all the motivation he needs to win this final. While he secured the world number one spot earlier in the week, he will want to show he belongs there by winning the second biggest ranking title in the game, and he will also want to end his duck of World Matchplay titles and lift this trophy for the first time.
Michael van Gerwen will attempt to hang around here but he is going to need to hit top form right from the start to cope with Price in the form he is in and I’m not convinced it is going to happen. I think Price will get in front if not from the off then around the midway mark and power away to win the title. The 8/11 on Price is a fair quote but it might be worth bumping the odds up a little by taking him to cover a 2.5 leg handicap. If he throws first he has to win by a break of throw anyway so that will see him cover a 2.5 leg cap but Matchplay finals don’t tend to be close. Only two of the last 19 have been closer than 18-13 so that suggests if Price does win this match he’ll have enough in hand to cover this line.
Back G.Price (-2.5 legs) to beat M.van Gerwen for a 3/10 stake at 2.20 with BetVictor
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