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Premier League Reaction - Darts: What we learned from Premier League Finals

Michael van Gerwen claimed a sixth Premier League Darts crown to equal the number of titles won by the great Phil Taylor after a thrilling 11-10 victory over Joe Cullen.

A fantastic season of Premier League Darts came to an end with the playoffs in Berlin on Monday night. Jonny Clayton, Cullen, van Gerwen and James Wade were the four arrowsmiths to make it through to finals night and it was MVG who walked away with the title.

However, it was far from a comfortable victory for the Green Machine and Rockstar missed a dart at double 16 in the final leg, which would have handed the Bradford man the trophy and the £275,000 winners cheque.

With the World Matchplay just around the corner let's take a look at what we learned from this year's Premier League event.

Clinical Cullen capable of major victory

Cullen has always been a capable performer in patches, but he looks to now be putting together a consistent run of top-level performances.

Rockstar lifted the Masters crown at the start of the year and he has backed that up with a runners-up spot in the Premier League.

Of course, it's a different format from most competitions, with a small pool of players competing against each other week, but it's a high-class field and Cullen has shown he deserves his place at the top table.

The Yorkshireman is one of the biggest scorers on tour and he now seems to have found the finishing groove.

Rockstar hit 45 per cent of his finishing doubles in his Premier League semi-final against Clayton and that rose to 50 per cent in the final against MVG.

A repeat of those numbers is going to give Cullen a huge chance of glory in the upcoming World Matchplay. The Blackpool extravaganza gets under way on 16th July and a big run from Rockstar is on the cards.

Van Gerwen not ready to dominate

It was a superb final performance from MVG and the Dutchman remains a wonderfully talented performer. However, a return to the Green Machine dominance we saw a few years ago looks unlikely.

The Premier League was the first major title Van Gerwen has picked up since he collected the Players Championship trophy in 2020 and the fear factor and consistency is yet to return.

Of course, a player of MVG's talent is always going to have brilliant games and win tournaments, but the standard across the tour has never been higher and it's no certainty that the titles will continue to flow.

MVG is also due to have surgery on an arm injury, and clearly the Dutchman will need time to recover. Van Gerwen will miss this week's Players Championship events, as well as the World Cup at the end of the month, and the Green Machine will not be back in action until the World Matchplay.

What's next for darts' superstars?

Both van Gerwen and Cullen will sit out the Players Championship 16 and 17 events, which get underway today, but the bulk of the Pro Tour will be in action in Niedernhausen, Germany.

Play gets under at 13:00 on Tuesday and the likes of Peter Wright, Michael Smith and Nathan Apsinall will be battling it out for the £12,000 winner's prize.

There are valuable ranking points up for grabs, ahead of next month's World Matchplay and the Winter Gardens event remains one of the highlights of the darting calendar.

A good run in Niedernhausen can help boost Blackpool qualification hopes and the top-16 ranked players at the cut-off point on 11th July will be seeded for the tournament.

Smith has been in excellent form, winning the last two Players Championship events and Bully Boy also captured the bet365 US Darts Masters earlier this month.

The St Helens' man looks set for another good run in Germany and it would be no surprise if Smith made it three Players Championship titles on the bounce.

Five-time World Champion Raymond van Barnveld is also in action in Niedernhausen, but the Dutchman has been handed a tough first-round draw against the mercurial Jose de Sousa.

Jelle Klaasen is another player to look out for this week. The Cobra has dropped off the PDC Tour, but he won the WDF Dutch Open last week, putting up some good numbers along the way, and that suggests that some of his old ability remains.

Klaasen gets his bid underway against Tony Martinez on board two later this afternoon.

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