Michael van Gerwen aims to record a third consecutive Premier League victory as the third block of fixtures draws to…
Michael van Gerwen aims to record a third consecutive Premier League victory as the third block of fixtures draws to a close in Milton Keynes on Friday.
The five-time Premier League champion has bounced back from a miserable Super Series campaign in Germany last week by recording back-to-back wins at the Marshall Arena to move joint top of the table.
Van Gerwen is one of three players level on 15 points going into Night 12 and will look to take another big step towards securing a return to the play-offs by overcoming 2009 champion James Wade.
Wade has had the better of the Dutchman in recent times and notably prevailed 7-3 in their last meeting on Night Four and will be keen to complete an impressive double.
The reigning UK Open champion underlined his trademark tenacity by battling back from 6-2 down to rescue a 7-7 draw with Jose De Sousa on Thursday and remain firmly on the coattails of the top four.
Wade, who has been outside of the top four for the nine of the opening 11 nights, currently occupies sixth spot but is crucially just one point adrift of the play-off places.
Nathan Aspinall continues to lead the way at the top of the table but saw the gap reduced to just legs difference after slipping to only his second defeat of the season last night.
Aspinall was beaten 8-6 by his young rival Dimitri van den Bergh despite an average of 103.3 but remains only four points shy of the final tally he achieved last year to reach the play-offs.
The Asp aims to return to winning ways prior to the two-week break when he comes up against Masters Champion Jonny Clayton.
The duo played out a 6-6 draw in the reverse fixture and could be set for a similarly close-run contest over the slightly extended format based on their tournament stats.
After averaging 105 in his 8-5 success over Wade on Wednesday, Clayton was beaten by the same scoreline by Van Gerwen with an average 12 points fewer as he dropped back out of the top four on legs difference.
Meanwhile, joint leader Dimitri van den Bergh looks to remain firmly in contention for the £25,000 league winner’s bonus by overcoming Gary Anderson in a repeat of last year’s World Matchplay final.
Van den Bergh, who picked up his first ProTour title last week, averaged 106 in an 8-3 defeat to MVG on Night Ten before following up with a 102.8 average in edging past Aspinall.
The Belgian ace defeated Anderson 7-5 on Night Eight in a match in which both players were far below their best and will expect a much tougher examination based on Anderson’s timely resurgence last night.
Anderson ended a three-match losing streak by thrashing an out of sorts Peter Wright 8-3 to move off the foot of the table and back within two points of the top four.
The two-time Premier League champion averaged 104.6 in the process and will be hoping that performance can prove the springboard to kick-start his season after a relatively slow start by his standards.
The opening match of the night looks like being a must-win encounter for Wright as he takes on maximum machine Jose De Sousa.
Wright is currently propping up the pile on nine points and could see his play-off hopes all but ended should he suffer a third defeat in as many days.
The 2020 World Champion appeared to be struggling with a shoulder injury during last night’s clash with Anderson and may have to play through the pain barrier again here as he looks to stop the rot.
De Sousa was left to rue multiple missed match darts as he squandered a 6-2 lead against Wade on Thursday, though the point was enough to see him break into the top four for the first time this season.
De Sousa and Wright shared the spoils in the reverse fixture which featured seven 180s apiece, and a similar exhibition of scoring can be expected here, particularly from the Portuguese star – whose tournament 180 tally now stands at 64.
Night 12 of Premier League Darts gets under way from 7pm BST, with all matches to be contested over the best of 14 legs. Two points are awarded for a win and one point for a draw.
Premier League Darts 2021 Night 12 Schedule
Friday May 7
7.15pm Peter Wright v Jose de Sousa
8.00pm Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
8.45pm Jonny Clayton v Nathan Aspinall
9.30pm Dimitri Van den Bergh v Gary Anderson