Van Gerwen aims for back-to-back Premier League wins in Glasgow


Van Gerwen aims for back-to-back Premier League wins in Glasgow

Van Gerwen celebrates a good score
Van Gerwen celebrates a good scoreProfimedia
Michael van Gerwen has started the Premier League well. He won in Berlin last week, giving him five points - can he take that momentum into Glasgow on Thursday evening?

Last year, the Dutchman lost there in the first round while Michael Smith, who won the first matchday this season, triumphed last year.

Luke Littler will be coming off his first Players Championship win looking to add a Premier League night to his growing trophy cabinet.

Here's who's playing who on Thursday night:

Rob Cross-Michael Smith

Rob Cross opens the evening against Smith. Cross won against Peter Wright on the first day of play. That was not a difficult task as the Scot threw only 83 average. In the second round, he lost to Gerwyn Price. Last week in Berlin, things went wrong after just one round for Voltage.

Luke Littler came up with over 104 and was too strong 6-5. Cross was also in action in Wigan on Monday and Tuesday for the first two Players Championships of this year. He did not start strongly there, losing twice in the second round. At the second floor tournament, Niels Zonneveld was too strong.

Opponent Smith wants to retain his throne in Glasgow. And there is every reason for that to come true. Bullyboy started somewhat trump in Bahrain and the Netherlands with the Masters, but seems to have found some of the old form again in the Premier League.

In Cardiff, on the opening night, he won the day straight by beating Gerwyn Price in the final 6-2. He also beat the same Price in Berlin by throwing 101 average. Van Gerwen was too strong in the semi-final, though. Smith leads the standings, he has seven points. At the Players Championships it was a bit less with elimination in the first and second rounds.

Michael van Gerwen-Peter Wright

Van Ger wen has shot out of the starting blocks this year. In Bahrain the final, in the Netherlands the win and in the major 'The Masters' he also made it to the final. Although he lost that one 11-7 to Stephen Bunting, Van Gerwen is clearly making his presence felt early on.

The Brabander is also doing well in the Premier League. With 100, 107 and 101 average, he won in Germany. 

Nathan Aspinall, Smith and Luke Littler were all beaten and so Van Gerwen credited £10,000 and five points. His total rose to seven, putting him third in the standings. Van Gerwen was not in action at the floor tournament in Wigan on Monday and Tuesday.

It took six weeks last year for Wright to get his first points in the Premier League season. Snakebite experienced a miserable 2023 anyway and has entered 2024 on the same footing. He has yet to pick up a point after two weeks, but his play is not good enough either. Last week against Luke Humphries was still going well with 94 average and only a 6-4 defeat, but a week earlier he lost to Cross with an average of 83.

Wright made it to the second round of the Masters, the quarter-finals, where he lost to Bunting. There, too, he threw 83 average and that was over a much longer format (best of 19 legs). Is there nothing positive then? Yep. Wright played a good Players Championship 2 in Wigan on Tuesday, in which he lost the semi-final to Gary Anderson 7-5.

Anderson later won the tournament. But in the Premier League, it is between the best players and Wright is not one of them at the moment. He will have to win quickly to avoid the same scenario as last year, where he was the laughing stock of the league. One advantage, Wright is playing in front of his own crowd.

Nathan Aspinall-Luke Humphries

Who is also still on 0 points in the Premier League is Aspinall. The Englishman has been on a form dip since he won the World Matchplay last year. The low point came last World Cup, where he lost to Ricky Evans in the second round 3-0 in sets.

In the Bahrain and Netherlands Masters he did not get far and in the semi-final of the major The Masters he went down hard against Bunting, going down 11-1. At the floor tournaments early this week, he was a bit better though. He made it to the fourth and third rounds in Wigan, but will really have to perform on the bigger stages again. Starting against Humphries on Thursday night.

The world champion is suffering from the world championship bug, introduced by Smith last year. Smith threw a poor 2023 after his win and Humphries is proving all the more that it is hard to keep exceeding expectations. Humphries won the last four majors last year and really couldn't do any better than that. In 2024, it's going to be tough. In Bahrain and the Netherlands, he did not get beyond the second round.

At The Masters, Bunting was too strong 10-7 in the first round and in the Premier league he only won against Wright. That puts him on two points. That is not his biggest concern, namely his form.

He did not find it at the floor tournaments either. Ian White was even 6-0 too strong in the second round on Monday. A day later, Jurjen van der Velde was too good in the first round, 6-5. So the match against Aspinall will be all about regaining some confidence.

Gerwyn Price-Luke Littler

'Price has had his first mental breakdown of the year.' That was the cynical reaction that went around a lot on X. Last year, Price was done with it after being blown out at the World Cup. Now it was the conditions in Wigan at the floor tournament that the Welshman was furious about. He gave up in the third round against Brendan Dolan last Monday and signed out on Tuesday.

Price is doing better in the Premier League. In his native Wales, he made it to the final but lost to Smith. He did go home after just one round last week by the same Smith. Price has three points and is fourth, the last spot that entitles him to the play-offs at the end.

Along with Van Gerwen, Littler is the man in form. The only 17-year-old darter has long been a sensation, but is now also playing consistently well. He lost the first Premier League night to Smith in the second round and last week's final to Van Gerwen.

As a result, Littler is third and has five points. Littler also won his first floor tournament at the PDC on Monday. Ryan Searle was beaten 8-7 in the final. He then lost in the second round a day later. But one thing is for sure, Littler is not afraid of anyone and therefore not of Price either.

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