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Wright on cue for Van Gerwen upset at European Championship

Michael van Gerwen kicks off his bid for a fourth successive European Championship title on Friday when he takes on fellow Dutchman Jan Dekker.

The tournament takes place in Belgium and involves the top 32 players in the Order of Merit, although there are some notable absentees such as Phil Taylor, Gary Anderson, James Wade and Raymond van Barneveld.

Van Gerwen may be the hot 17/20 favourite, but the Dutchman has been hampered by a foot injury which forced him to withdraw from last week's German Masters.

The PDC world champion beat Martin Schindler in the opening round in Dusseldorf only to pull out of the tournament with a condition called bursitis in his left ankle.

Van Gerwen has declared himself fit for the tournament, saying: "I've had a good rest since the weekend and had some treatment for my ankle and it's feeling a lot better now. I've been practising again and I'm feeling good."

However, it remains to be seen whether MVG will last five rounds over the space of four days and better value may be found in Peter Wright at 4/1. The 47-year-old Scot wiped the floor with Phil Taylor to win in Germany last week and already has five European Tour titles to his name this season, only one behind van Gerwen.

The draw has not been particularly kind to Wright, who potentially could face unseeded third favourite Daryl Gurney in the quarter-finals and Rob Cross in the last four.

Gurney defeated Simon Whitlock to win the World Grand Prix at the start of the month, while Cross has reached two European Tour finals in the last couple of months, losing to Van Gerwen on both occasions.

Cross is excellent value at 18/1 and it's 12/1 for Gurney, beaten 10-7 by Taylor in last week's quarter-finals, but it would be no surprise to see either of these two go all the way.

However, Wright's form this year is too good to ignore and he has a great chance to win back-to-back titles.

Peter Wright to win the European Championship @ 4/1

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Warren Barner
@warren_barner in Darts