Rob Cross v Michael van Gerwen: Premier League Darts 2018 preview - MVG out to clinch top spot

Van Gerwen and Cross embrace (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Reigning Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen aims to secure top spot for the sixth successive season by defeating rival Rob Cross in Birmingham on Thursday.

Undoubtedly the pick of the night's fixtures features defending and three-time champion Van Gerwen taking on the current World Champion in a repeat of their epic Semi-Final at Ally Pally last December.

Cross held firm in a sudden death shoot-out to reach his first world final before going on to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy on New Year's Day, though MVG gained revenge of sorts at the first time of asking by thrashing 'Voltage' 7-2 in Week One of the Premier League in Dublin.

Cross is three points adrift of league leader MVG and still harbours hopes of snatching top spot and the £25,000 bonus from his rival's grasp with victory here and by bettering the Dutchman's result in Aberdeen next week.

After winning eight of his last nine games, Cross has gone three games without a win but crucially heads to Birmingham safe in the knowledge he will be at The O2 barring a miraculous turn of events.

Van Gerwen ended his three-match winless run with a 7-1 rout of Smith in Manchester last week to remain odds-on favorite to both finish top and go on to retain his crown.

He also claimed Saturday's Players Championship title to take his tally to nine for the season and continues to hold down the ton-plus tournament average (103.37).

The two-time World Champion, who was awarded the Dutch equivalent of an MBE this week, needs just one more point to guarantee his progression to finals night as the winner of the league phase but is unable to better his record tally of 26 points set in 2016.

Van Gerwen has won nine of his eleven previous meetings with Cross over the last two years, though the vast majority have been via considerably close margins.

Their latest encounter gets underway from around 8.45pm BST and will be contested over the best of 12 legs at the Arena Birmingham.

Player's View:


Van Gerwen: "My focus is now on preparing for The O2 and, of course, I want to win every game.

"I think I performed well through the season even though I had a few slip-ups, but I'm happy to be in the semi-finals.

"I think I’m going to finish top of the league and hopefully I can do that by finishing the regular season with two wins."

Cross: "I want to secure my place in the Play-Offs and I'm feeling positive. Every week's been a new experience for me and it's all still a learning curve.

"If Michael is under par one week it's irrelevant because you know he'll come out and produce better in the next.

"I expect him to play really well against me and it should be a great game."



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Rob Cross v Michael van Gerwen: Premier League Darts 2018 preview - MVG out to clinch top spot

Reigning Premier League champion Michael van Gerwen aims to secure top spot for the sixth successive season by defeating rival Rob Cross in Birmingham on Thursday.

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