It must feel like deja vu in Germany as the European Championship rolls into town. Every year since the tournament began in 2008 Phil Taylor has left with the trophy and it will take something special to stop him repeating that feat this week.
You get the feeling he might as well leave the cup on his mantelpiece in Stoke rather than incurring a ridiculous charge from Ryanair because it is hard to see it ending up anywhere else when the competition is over.
The Power is quite rightly the evens favourite and while some punters will see that as being short enough, others will take it as real value for a man who should sail through to at least the semi-final without many problems thanks to the draw.
The other side of the draw looks a lot tastier with Adrian Lewis, who just won the German Masters, facing a tricky run to try to make his third European Championship Final. Jackpot is 6/1 to leave Mulheim victorious but could meet James Wade, Raymond Van Barneveld, Simon Whitlock or Michael Van Gerwen before even thinking about Taylor in the final.
Mighty Michael Van Gerwen could be the best outside shot for the tournament. He’s been throwing plenty of impressive arrows on the floor tournaments and last time he was on our screens he hit a magic nine-darter on the way to the quarter-finals of the World Matchplay.
MVG is 25/1 which could prove to be stunning each-way value as he wouldn’t meet Taylor until the final and if he performs to his best he could blow a few big names out of the water. The 4/9 that he beats Andy Smith in the opening round on Friday looks to be the best bet of the first few days.
There may be a couple of surprises in the tasty-looking bottom half of the draw but don’t expect much drama from the Power. A potential quarter-final with 50/1 shot Mark Webster and a possible semi-final with old enemy Mervyn King, who is a 33/1 bet, won’t worry Taylor fans that much.
It could prove to be a procession for the even money favourite as the greatest man to ever step up to the oche looks to make it five on the spin.