VAN GERWEN AIMS FOR UNIBET PREMIER LEAGUE BOOST IN NEWCASTLE
MICHAEL VAN GERWEN is aiming to get his Unibet Premier League campaign back on track when he faces Gary Anderson in Thursday's visit to the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.
Reigning Premier League champion Van Gerwen suffered a 7-5 loss to Peter Wright in last Thursday's second league night of the season in Cardiff, despite being a comfortable 7-2 winner in Dublin against Rob Cross.
However, Van Gerwen believes that a clash with two-time World Champion Anderson in Newcastle - in a repeat of the 2015 Premier League final which the Scot won - is a perfect challenge for him to bounce back.
"I know I'm not going to win every single game in the Premier League," said Van Gerwen. "It is almost impossible but after losing I like to bounce back with a good win.
"That won't be easy against Gary but it is what I will try to do. We always have good matches and it is one of the games that the fans want to see.
"It will be fast and a very good standard and I'm really looking forward to a great match. Even though it is early days it is very important to me to win because the only position I want to be is top of the league."
Van Gerwen paid the price for nine missed doubles against Wright last week, with the Dutchman landing a 170 finish but losing out in the game's deciding leg.
"Last week was a disappointing result against Peter," added Van Gerwen. "I feel it was a game I should have won.
"I had enough chances but I missed too many doubles and he hit the right things at the right times so all credit is to him."
Wright will aim to build on that success against Van Gerwen when he takes on Rob Cross in Newcastle, although the world number two is taking nothing for granted despite the World Champion having suffered two losses in the opening fortnight.
Cross bounced back to form in last weekend's UK Open Qualifiers, which included a semi-final win over Wright on Saturday.
"Rob's come back into form," said Wright. "He's the World Champion so he's already a good player but he didn't do well in the first two weeks of the Premier League or the first weekend of the UK Open Qualifiers.
"Last weekend though he was back to normal again and his form's really good so it should be a good game. Normally when we play it's always a cracking game.
"I don't count the previous games though, I just worry about the next game. It doesn't matter if he's beaten me six times before or the other way, I'm just trying to win the game on Thursday because he's an excellent player."
Simon Whitlock sits at the top of the league table ahead of Michael Smith on Leg Difference after the pair won their opening two games.
The Australian, who reached the 2012 Premier League final, plays former champion Raymond van Barneveld in Newcastle and is aiming to continue his impressive start to the campaign.
"It should be a great match and I'm really looking forward to it because I enjoy playing Barney," said Whitlock. "I'm on a high at the moment and I couldn't have asked for a better start to the season.
"I'm there at the top at the moment but there's a long way to go yet. I've got to take it one week at a time but so far, so good, and I'm very happy.
"Michael Smith and me are playing well, and we're just doing our job and playing good darts. I can't wait for Newcastle."
Smith is aiming to continue his flawless start to the season in Newcastle as he faces winless Mensur Suljovic, who has suffered a pair of 7-5 defeats despite averaging over 100 in both weeks so far.
Third Night's Matches:
Mensur Suljovic v Michael Smith
Daryl Gurney v Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright v Rob Cross
Simon Whitlock v Raymond van Barneveld
Gary Anderson v Michael van Gerwen