De Sousa was perhaps the closest player to victory on the opening night, having taken a 6-4 lead. However, a spirited fight-back saw Rob Cross take out an 88 to break the Special One’s throw in the final leg.
Clayton continued his fine form of late with a scintillating performance against Peter Wright but was denied a win by Snakebite’s near-flawless finishing. The Welshman ended the night averaging 105.6 – the highest figure of the evening.
In yet another thrilling encounter on the opening night, the points were shared between Van den Bergh and Michael van Gerwen. The Green Machine took out 101 to snatch a point against the Belgian, with Van den Bergh’s performance deserving of a win.
After the first night of action
Night’s two and three saw the table start to shape, with both Van den Bergh and Clayton recording back-to-back victories, whilst de Sousa’s two defeats saw him drop to ninth.
Van den Bergh tasted victory for the first time in an excellent contest against Aspinall, before a 7-0 whitewash of Glen Durrant – a game highlighting the relentlessness of the adapted Premier League this year.
Clayton also recorded his first ever Premier League win on night two, comfortably beating Durrant before stealing the show against de Sousa.
It took just two and a half days for a nine-darter to appear, and it was the in-form player of world darts who impressively hit it. Clayton was a man oozing in confidence in his 7-3 victory, but the Portuguese star still managed a mightily impressive 108.5 average.
The Special One put in another sparkling performance on day four but was still unable to claim his first win in the competition. De Sousa, who was on the receiving end of a nine-darter on the previous night, hit one himself against Aspinall, but The Asp responded brilliantly and earned a draw.
Van den Bergh was then unable to record his third successive victory on night four, sharing the points with Wright, after missing three darts to secure a point at 5-4.
However, Clayton’s 7-3 defeat to Rob Cross eliminated the possibility of the Welshman going undefeated for the first week, with Voltage performing brilliantly throughout.
But, The Ferret responded admirably on night five, securing a 7-4 win over Gary Anderson to top the table.
The Welshman leapfrogged over Dimitri Van den Bergh, who lost 7-3 to de Sousa in a match of the highest quality – an occasion where The Special One was victorious for the first time on the Premier League stage.
Reflecting on the week's drama
After five days of action, Clayton and Van den Bergh occupy first and second place, and whilst de Sousa finds himself second from bottom, only three points separate him from Clayton at the summit.
De Sousa's ninth position is not at all a reflection of his Premier League start. He has accumulated the most 180s thus far and recorded 11 on the fourth night – the joint highest number of maximums since 2010.
The 47-year-old’s Premier League average is also above 100, another indicator of the seemingly false position he currently finds himself in.
Only Clayton possesses a superior average at present, with the Welshman’s figure of 100.9, a clear reflection of how confident he is. Leading the way so early on comes with the pressure of maintaining it, but that will not faze The Ferret, who is certainly a contender for glory.
Van den Bergh will also be fancying his chances in this year’s competition. He possesses the third-highest average behind the aforementioned duo and is a player who consistently shines against the very best.
He also ranks second in the 180 statistics with 23, a mere three behind de Sousa – a player that has not stopped hitting maximums.