Premier League darts: Night five schedule and preview as birthday boy Wright celebrates top spot

Jonny Clayton is out to spoil Peter Wright's birthday and celebration of being world number one in the fifth week of Premier League darts.

Two-time world champion Wright will celebrate his 52nd birthday at the Brighton Centre with a quarter-final clash with reigning Premier League champion Jonny Clayton.

Being announced as the world champion and world number one for the first time in his career is sure to make it a special occasion for Snakebite.

Michael Smith has to somehow drag himself off the floor following another major final defeat as he starts the night against Gary Anderson.

Michael van Gerwen has a point to prove as he faces James Wade while Gerwyn Price will try and take out his frustration at losing his top spot in the rankings against Joe Cullen.

Night five order of play

Gary Anderson 19:10 Michael Smith

Peter Wright 19:40 Jonny Clayton

Michael van Gerwen 20:10 James Wade

Joe Cullen 20:40 Gerwyn Price

Semi-finals will start at around 21:10 GMT, while the final is expected to take place at 22:15 GMT.

Gary Anderson v Michael Smith

You've got to feel for Michael Smith after he suffered a seventh major final defeat as he desperately searches for that big tournament victory.

Bully Boy led Danny Noppert 10-9 and missed a dart for the match before losing the UK Open final 11-10 and, coming hot on the heels of losing the World Championship final, you do wonder if Smith will ever get over the line.

Smith looks unlikely to win the Premier League this season as he props up the table, but his first opponent in Brighton is Gary Anderson, who like Smith has only won one match in the tournament so far.

It's the first meeting between the two this Premier League season with Smith holding a narrow 6-4 advantage over the last 10 meetings showing there's not much between them. Just how Smith handles that latest final defeat will be the deciding factor.

Peter Wright v Jonny Clayton

What a birthday this is for Peter Wright, as he gets to walk out as the current world champion and now world number one after he took Gerwyn Price's place at the top of the rankings at the weekend.

Snakebite also leads the way in the Premier League table by a point, and is two clear of defending champion Jonny Clayton ahead of their meeting on Thursday.

Wright won the opening Premier League night and lost last week's final 6-0 to Michael van Gerwen, before reaching the International Darts Open final but losing to Price.

Wright has won his last four matches against Welshman Calyton but again here a lot will depend on how birthday boy Wright handles the situation.

Michael van Gerwen v James Wade

Michael van Gerwen has slipped down to fifth in the PDC Order of Merit which is his lowest ranking for almost a decade, so he'll be out to prove a point in Brighton.

MVG is second in the Premier League table after winning last week's event in Exeter and is the most consistent performer in the competition having won more legs, more legs against the throw and having the best legs difference.

James Wade is also a man that has something to prove after recently saying he doesn't get enough exposure given he's a 10-time major winner. He also made an unhappy exit from the UK Open as defending champion.

The Machine doesn't have a great recent record against Van Gerwen either as he's lost nine of the last 10 head-to-head meetings.

Joe Cullen v Gerwyn Price

Gerwyn Price lost his top spot to Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price lost his top spot to Peter Wright

Gerwyn Price is now the world number two after he came up just short at the UK Open when needing to make the final to cling on to top spot.

He fell at the quarter-final stage but there's no doubt he's in brilliant form of late - throwing those two nine-darters in Belfast and then winning the International Darts Open against Wright.

That success in Germany was even better given that he was also defending his top ranking so it showed just what Price is made of, so expect him to come out firing here to prove that he's still the top dog around the darting world.

Joe Cullen is enjoying a nice run against Price though, as he's won the last three and six of the last eight meetings, so if Price is suffering from a rankings hangover then Cullen could strike.

READ MORE: Peter Wright becomes world number one darts player

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