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Everything you need to know ahead of the PDC World Darts Championship

The magical fortnight that is Christmas darts gets under way tomorrow.

World number one Michael van Gerwen.
World number one Michael van Gerwen.
Image: AFP/Getty Images

€1.5 MILLION AND the Sid Waddell Trophy is up for grabs once again as the PDC World Darts Championship begins at Alexandra Palace tomorrow evening and runs until 4 January — with breaks for Christmas Day, St Stephens’ Day and New Year’s Eve.

Last year

Dutchman Michael van Gerwen defeated Scotland’s Peter Wright 7-4 in the 2014 final, having lost out to 16-time world champion Phil Taylor in the previous year’s decider.

Van Gerwen’s defence starts at 10pm when he faces Joe Cullen and he has targeted closing the gap on Taylor’s daunting haul after getting his hands on the trophy at the second time of asking.

“I didn’t want to lose that one,” he told The Guardian. ”I had a big lead but then you start looking at the trophy and that’s the worst thing, but I pulled it out at the right time.

“That was my sweetest moment in life. Nothing beats becoming world champion unless, maybe, you do it a second or third time.

I would love to catch Phil but it’s not going to happen. Sixteen world titles is amazing. I’m trying to win 10 but there are so many good players.

“When Phil was on top he was so above everyone else. Now, it’s much more competitive.”

Darts - Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championships - Day Sixteen - Alexandra Palace Van Gerwen holds the Sid Waddell trophy after winning last year. Source: Clive Gee/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The favourites

16-time champion and current favourite Taylor was unexpectedly dumped out by Michael Smith in the second round last year. In 2014, Taylor has already won the World Matchplay, Grand Slam, German Darts Masters, Players Championship (Crawley), UK Open Qualifier, Perth Darts Masters and Sydney Darts Masters.

And Van Gerwen says the legendary Englishman remains his main competition for the title.

“He’s always my main rival,” he said. ”But we both have a long way to go before this next final.

“They say the most difficult one to win is the first world title and I really hope it is because I’d like to become a three-time world champion in the next four or five years.”

Taylor – in the opposite half of the draw to Van Gerwen – begins with a first-round clash against Jyhan Artut of Germany, and is in a positive frame of mind.

“I’m confident this year because I feel as though I’ve had to prepare correctly,” he told The Daily Record. “I’ve had time to rest, time to get my sleep and do things properly as opposed to running around the country.

In the past few years, I have been here, there everywhere but this year the mobile has been off, the house phone has been off and I’m doing things right for the first time in ages.”

Double world champion Adrian Lewis faces off against David Pallett in his first-round clash but first up is three-time winner John Part against world youth champion Keegan Brown at 7.10pm.

Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan, 11th in the rankings, is up against the winner of Nolan Arendse and Alex Hon on Monday.

What can you expect from this year’s Championship?

The rivalry between van Gerwen and Taylor is definitely one to watch. Taylor was victorious in their earlier meetings, but last year van Gerwen overtook Taylor as world number one, and then completed the first ever whitewash over Taylor in Premier League history — beating him 7-0.

You should probably also watch out for van Gerwen’s signature celebration when he headbutts the air with his bald head.

Peter Wright’s haircut — he generally sports a mohawk — changes colour every tournament thanks to his hairdresser wife. It’s definitely worth looking out for.

Darts - Betway Premier League Darts - Brighton Centre Source: Chris Ison

Where can I watch it? 

You will find all the action live on Sky Sports 3 from 7pm nightly.

The betting:

  • Phil Taylor 2/1
  • Michael van Gerwen 5/2
  • Gary Anderson 6/1
  • Adrian Lewis 11/1
  • James Wade 16/1
  • Stephen Bunting 22/1
  • Peter Wright 33/1
  • Dave Chinall 33/1
  • Raymond van Barneveld 40/1
  • Simon Whitlock 50/1
  • Brendan Dolan 200/1

Additional reporting from Jessica Farry

First published at 07.00

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