Phil Taylor - Manchester United

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A staggering 16 world championships and seemingly endless list of other major honours mean that Phil Taylor’s achievements can never be matched any time soon.

That decorated history stretches all the way back to 1990, when he first set about knocking the old guard off their perch, though that has not stopped him winning six of 12 Premier League titles since 2005 as well.

Like United, such relentless success has meant that neutrals have tended to reserve their affections for others, though a recent changing of the guard with their powers now on the wane has changed the landscape of the sport entirely. 

Raymond van Barneveld - Liverpool

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Raymond van Barneveld is another darting institution, whose rivalry with Taylor predates the modern era and helped to transform the sport.

Yet despite being one of the most celebrated players of all time, Barney has struggled to keep pace with the new generation during recent years, having not won a World Championship since 2007.

He does, however, remain one of the most popular figures around, with an enduring ability to rise to the biggest occasions helping to maintain his romantic air of nostalgia. 

A former great, whose 2014 Premier League victory proved that he is still capable of the odd Istanbul moment.

Michael van Gerwen - Manchester City

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Given Pep Guardiola’s testing first season in England, this might seem a strange comparison for the undisputed world No.1, who has effortlessly won virtually every trophy going during the past 12 months.  

Both, however, represent the emerging force in their respective sports, even if the lingering impression is that they are yet to make the very most of their considerable talent.

In the same way that City have struggled to establish their superpower status, two world titles and a pair of Premier League victories represents a slightly underwhelming return for MVG at the very biggest tournaments.

When it does all click into place, though, there are few – if any – with the resources to stop them.

Adrian Lewis - Arsenal

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Back-to-back world titles in 2011 and 2012 mean that Adrian Lewis has enjoyed his fair share of success in the not too distant past.

Yet, as one of the top four players in the world, he has traditionally struggled to keep up with the Premier League pacesetters, only making the play-offs once in the last five years.

The first player to throw a nine-dart finish in a World Championship final – and the only one to do so in last year’s Premier League – Lewis is capable of playing beautifully when the mood takes him. But, like Arsenal, it is his mental fortitude that can often let him down.

Also nicknamed Jackpot after winning $72,000 in Las Vegas but being too young to collect his prize, the frustration of having cash to splash but being unable to spend it is one that Gunners fans know only too well.

Gary Anderson - Chelsea

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Like Chelsea after the arrival of Roman Abramovich, it is only fairly recently that Gary Anderson has carved out a place among the elite of the sport.

The Scot joined the PDC in 2009, but had just one major honour to his name – the 2011 Premier League title – before personal circumstances contributed to him dropping out of the top 16 in the world rankings.

Yet The Flying Scotsman came storming back with consecutive world titles in 2015 and 2016, as well as another Premier League crown in between – a renaissance not dissimilar to the one the Blues are currently experiencing under Antonio Conte.

Peter Wright - Tottenham Hotspur

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As with Spurs’ high-energy team and their remarkably mellow manager, a curious dichotomy exists between Peter Wright’s colourful on-stage persona and the quiet, almost shy, character that lies behind the glitter.  

Like Tottenham last season, he made a strong start to the 2016 Premier League before fading away towards the end.

Now playing as well as he has ever done, having fought to a career-high No. 3 in the world rankings, the time has come for Snakebite to finally turn all that talent into trophies. 

Dave Chisnall - West Bromwich Albion

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After consistently excelling in darts’ second tier of the BDO, Dave Chisnall has firmly established himself as a top-flight player – winning nine Pro Tour titles since joining the PDC in 2011.

A 2015 Premier League play-off followed by a first World Championship quarter-final appearance just a few months ago, meanwhile, suggests that, like the high-flying Baggies, he is now ready to take the next step.

As with the direct and uncompromising style of Tony Pulis’ team, Chizzy’s game is based on ruthlessly efficient power scoring, though a lack of guile when it comes to finishing can occasionally let him down.

Fail to match his strength, though, and he will grind you down.

James Wade - Everton

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James Wade's position among the top bracket of players has been virtually unbroken throughout the last decade, even if the quality of others has meant that it's tended to be among the equivalent of the Europa League places.

Yet despite having a claim to being the best of the rest, his seven honours between 2007 and 2011 - the highlight of which was the 2009 Premier League - and three World Championship semi-finals between 2009 and 2013 suggests that his challenge to the established order used to be slightly sterner than it is now.

Think Everton under David Moyes, as opposed to the more inconsistent years since his departure.

Kim Huybrechts - Burnley

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Kim Huybrechts’ only previous Premier League appearance in 2015 was a brief one, being eliminated on Judgement Night after finishing bottom of the table with just a single win to his name.

Having secured a top-flight return after just a one-year absence, though, he, like the Clarets, looks far better equipped to compete at the sharp end this time around.

Quarter-finals at the 2016 Masters, World Matchplay and World Grand Prix – as well as a place in the last 16 at this year’s World Championship – demonstrate that this stint should not be quite so fleeting.

Jelle Klaasen - Bournemouth

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Jelle Klaasen may not be the youngest among the Premier League field but, now increasingly comfortable among more esteemed company, he is at the forefront of a new wave of players.  

With his sharp haircut and diamond earring, he is also perhaps the closest that darts has to a posterboy – a bit like Eddie Howe when it comes to English managers.

Like Howe, Klaasen earned his stripes lower down the pyramid after becoming the youngest player to win the BDO World Championship in 2006, aged just 21.

His quick, snappy action also makes The Cobra exciting to watch and, having reached last year’s World Championship semi-final – beating Phil Taylor along the way before losing to eventual champion Gary Anderson – there are signs that he has what it takes to make it all the way to the top.

Do you agree with our selections? Let us know which ones you'd change on Facebook or in the comments below as well as who you'll be cheering on in the Betway Premier League this year...

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