Anderson admits 'love' for Smith but must win Premier League Semi-Final to avoid wind-ups

Anderson and Smith face off on finals night (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Gary Anderson admits he “loves to bits” Michael Smith but is hell-bent on beating him in the Premier League Semi-Finals to avoid weeks of wind-ups.

The Flying Scotsman takes on Bully Boy in a fairtytale 'master and apprentice' battle at The O2 on Thursday for a place in the Unibet Premier League final.

It promises to be an epic night for the close pals as they go head-to-head in front of an 11,000-strong crowd in the capital. 

They bicker and fight like a married couple but will put their friendship to one side for one night only.

Anderson told Live Darts: "I don't think it matters who plays who now and I don't think it matters that I play Michael Smith in the Semi-Finals, one of us is going to go through, simple as that.

"Michael's a bit crook right now, a wee bit ill. But we started off the season with him beating me, that was a give me, but I got him back in Rotterdam.

"He was apologetic about beating me with a bad back on the opening night and so he should have been.

"I couldn’t even bend over to tie my shoelaces. I just seized up but it’s been hard over the past six months, there's days I wake up feeling great and days when I wake up feeling dreadful.

"It's been hard but we’ve got there and into the last four which is a happy moment. It’s down to the last day."

It is also a bizarre clash for Anderson and Smith who both are under the same Scottish management team of Dunvegan Darts, run by Tommy Gilmour, but there will certainly be no love up on the stage.

Anderson added: "Michael is Michael. If it's darts, pool, snooker, dominoes, tiddlywinks or chess, we’re out to beat each other. That’s the way we are. I do play chess. Just because I'm Scottish doesn’t mean I can't play chess!

"I love the kid to bits I really do. He’s got so much talent, I've said it for the last seven or eight years and it’s just to see him do it now. He’s got the confidence and he’s just a fantastic player. But this old boy can still play as well.

"But trust me whoever loses is in for a big wind-up for the next fortnight and the rest, so you really don't want to lose.

"It hurts because he’ll give it as good as what I do. Yes it will be great playing him. Whoever wins will cheer on the other in the final, that’s the way we are. Beating Michael van Gerwen last week shows him that I'm not finished yet."

It's been a mixed Premier League season for Anderson. He started slowly because of back problems but hit a rich vein of form culminating in three sensational wins in Rotterdam in the space of 48 hours. 

He then slumped to two sloppy defeats against Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld before beating MVG in Aberdeen a week ago.

However, there is little doubt that MVG believes Anderson is his biggest threat at The O2.

Anderson added: "I was great in Rotterdam but the preview two weeks before Aberdeen were dreadful. It was my own fault. 

"I played against Simon Whitlock and was absolute rubbish and then Barney had a walkover against me. 

"I think living out of a suitcase is hard and that’s when results suffer a bit.

"Last week The score with Daryl Gurney getting beat by Peter Wright took the pressure off me before I played Michael last week and it was a good win but it might cost me, you never know."


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Anderson admits "love" for Smith but must win Premier League Semi-Final to avoid wind-ups

Gary Anderson admits he “loves to bits” Michael Smith but is hell-bent on beating him in the Premier League Semi-Finals to avoid weeks of wind-ups.

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