I will not predict anything this time. Not after all those wrong predictions last time. But I have a look at the European Championship which really can take place despite all those problems which the Corona crisis presents. There even will be a crowd though only a small one as only 250 people per session will be allowed into the König-Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen.
At the first view it looks like the usual European Championship in which the top 32 of the European Tour Order of Merit will take part. But nevertheless will be a strange tournament. The European Tour had only four events this year and we all have no idea about the real form of some of the participants. The seeds look very different to the usual seeds for the tournament as well - the number 1 seed is Joe Cullen. On the places three and four we have Jose de Sousa and Devon Petersen. With Ross Smith we even have a player in the mix who only played one of the four events and with Andy Hamilton qualified a player whose tournament average is around the mid-80s.
Consitency seems to be a problem for many players at the moment. One of the examples is the number 1 of the World Michael van Gerwen who rarely turns up at his best and often has big problems with the accuracy on his doubles. Glen Durrant had to withdrew due to his positive Corona test, Peter Wright had decided not to turn up for the last two European Tour events due to the Corona crisis - so there to be sure will be some upsets and the winner will be the player who will manage to avoid any slump in his performance during the event.
Of course we have the usual suspects for the win - Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen as you never can write him off. Reigning champion Rob Cross, well, he lost second round of the International Darts Open against German Franz Roetzsch. Nothing runs right at the moment for the former World Championship.
The four European events this year were won by Gerwyn Price, Devon Petersen, Jose de Sousa and Joe Cullen but with the exception of Gerwyn Price the players probably are no favourites for the win of the European Championship. But Price route via a win doesn't look easy - it is paved with names like Peter Wright, Mensur Suljovic, Krzysztof Ratajski, Jose de Sousa and Michael Smith though he would not meet Michael van Gerwen till the final. The same applies for Peter Wright - the bottom half of the draw certainly has a lot of high hurdles for the players.
The upper half - in which we find Michael van Gerwen - looks less difficult though it is even more unpredictable as with a few exceptions one can find there several players who might turn out to be the dominant players of the tournament - James Wade for example played quite impressively in the International Darts Open as did of course Joe Cullen. Rob Cross might have been able to get rid of all his problems, Nathan Aspinall could be back in best form, David Chisnall might be able not only to keep up his brilliant performance for only one match and Michael van Gerwen well could stumble again against Mervyn King in the second round.
To be sure this tournament is very hard to predict, you can't take anything for granted at the moment. Though the PDC and the PDC Europe do a great job in offering the players opportunities to play tournaments, some even with a crowd, of course the Corona pandemic affects the players. Travelling is far more difficult, you always have to be tested -with unknown outcome - and you are very restricted on-site. The contact to the fans is more or less non-existent even should there be a crowd. There are far less tournaments than usually, probably far less practice with colleagues and nobody knows what will happen next. It might get far worse than it is at the moment before it hopefully will get better.
When a tournament is unpredictable it doesn't mean it will not be interesting. So I really look forward to be able to watch another live event and pass some enjoyable hours in front of the TV.