Selby to shine in Guildford
Jeff Anderson previews Thursday night's Premier League action and believes Mark Selby can reignite his title challenge by thrashing Stuart Bingham.
- Related Content
Premier League Snooker continues on Thursday night from the Guildford Spectrum with three matches taking place.
Stuart Bingham opens and closes the night with matches against Mark Selby and Neil Robertson respectively while Judd Trump plays John Higgins in between.
Selby needs to win here and win heavily to have any chance of making the last four - and even then will need other results to go his way. His performance in the league this year have been acutely disappointing.
In his opener he seemed tentative was punished when losing 5-1 to Robertson and followed this up with a patchy display a fortnight ago in a 4-2 defeat against Ding Junhui.
Contrast this with his world number one status and his remarkable form in the Belgium Open PTC last weekend where in the six matches he played to make the final he won 24 frames and conceded just four in a very strong field.
Selby knows he is still in with a shout but the fact that qualification for the semi-finals is slightly out of his hands will help him relax. He sees the shots very quickly and can be very difficult to play against under time pressure - he just hasn't proved it so far in the event this year.
His opponent Bingham finally shook off his journeyman status by winning the Australian Goldfields Open last year. This is a good example of the benefits of the packed modern snooker tour.
Not only has it raised the standard with the extra match practise that players have under their belts, it also takes the pressure off those lower down the rankings because they know even if they lose there will be another tournament next week or in a fortnight where they'll get another opportunity.
Under the previous regime of Rodney Walker the break between ranking tournaments could be weeks which piled the pressure on those scraping a living from the game. Because they knew that if they lost a match then the next chance to earn any decent prize money could be a month away or even longer.
Bingham still hasn't quite sealed the deal for me though. On debut here this year he impressed to go 3-0 up against Shaun Murphy but then couldn't get over the line and ended up tying the match and was fortunate to beat Ding next time out.
Selby is the consummate professional and will be up for this. I expect Bingham to feel the pressure here too especially if he gets behind early on because a loss means he will need a good result in his later match against Robertson.
There aren't many whitewashes in the league now because players earn the right to be here whereas previously it was by invitation only so there were bigger contrasts in form. But we'll still have a small punt on a Selby 6-0 at 22/1 (general) simply because he needs it..
In the second match of the night Trump should account for Higgins, who has really struggled in the two matches he has played in this league campaign.
Despite all games involving Stephen Lee being declared void due to his suspension, he is sitting quite well with two points from one outing even though his win over Mark Allen was distinctly unimpressive.
Trump is in the same position in this group but his form when beating Peter Ebdon in the league last month will be good enough to see him prevail. The 11/8 (general) about Trump should be doubled with Selby and pays 3.75/1 (general).
Bingham plays again in the last match of the night - rescheduled from two weeks ago because of Lee's suspension - but this is impossible to predict as he'll only know what he needs to do after his result in the opener so we'll leave this game alone.