Michael van Gerwen is confident of claiming his fourth Premier League title on Thursday night at London's O2 - but Rob Cross is out to upset the odds.
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The world number one will be out to avenge his World Championship semi-final defeat to Cross when he takes on Voltage in the opening best-of-19 legs match of the evening.
MVG is Sky Bet's 1/5 favourite to meet either Michael Smith or Gary Anderson in the finale over 21 legs and 1/2 to go on and win what would be his third Premier League crown in a row.
The Dutchman topped the regular season's league table for a sixth straight year to claim the £25,000 league leader's bonus, and is aiming to continue his remarkable Premier League record.
The 29-year-old - who won the Dutch Darts Masters over the weekend - has also reached the final in each of his previous five seasons in the Premier League.
Sky Bet's Premier League Darts title odds (Click here to place your bets)
- MVG (1/2)
- Anderson (4/1)
- Cross (7/1)
- Smith (14/1)
Van Gerwen also recorded two 7-2 victories over Cross in the league stage of this year’s tournament, and the Dutchman is bidding to make it a hat-trick of wins to progress to his sixth consecutive Premier League final.
"I’m feeling quite confident ahead of my game with Rob,” Van Gerwen told www.pdc.tv. “He’s not in the best form of his life, he’s not got that edge to him that he had in the World Championship when he beat me, but you always have to be careful with him because he is a danger.
Van Gerwen won an astonishing nine games from his first 10 games, before suffering two disappointing defeats in Rotterdam. However, the two-time world champion soon got his campaign back on track to top the league phase by three points, winning a stunning 103 legs in the process.
"I like The O2, I like the tournament – it gives me a good target, week after week to fight for the points. The main thing for me is to make sure I put on my best performance at The O2 in front of an amazing crowd."
The Dutch number one is on track to break his record of 26 PDC titles in a year, and believes there are no limits to what he can achieve.
“It’s difficult to do all the time but I’m not doing too bad so far, I know there’s a lot more to come from me. I feel good and I hope I can continue this great performance starting on Thursday night at The O2."
Meanwhile Cross is 7/1 to lift the Premier League trophy on his O2 debut and he's relishing that prospect.
“I want all the biggest titles in darts and it would be an amazing one to add to my portfolio," said Cross, who can be backed at 7/2 to win his fourth televised semi-final. I’m happy to be playing Michael in the semis, because he never loses many of the finals he plays in but he has lost a few semis."
Cross began his debut campaign slowly, losing his opening two matches, before winning eight of his next nine games to cement his place in the Play-Offs and silence any doubters.
“Finishing in the top four is a success in my Premier League debut, at one point I was probably favourite to be relegated after my bad start,” added Cross, who will be aiming to improve his record of two wins from 12 against Van Gerwen.
"It doesn’t worry me that I’ve drawn my last few games because on Thursday we will play on until we have a winner. I wouldn’t say I’ve played well every week, some nights I’ve struggled but done enough to keep the points ticking over and make The O2."
Cross missed the Dutch Darts Masters due to a sternum problem, which has been diagnosed as costochondritis after the World Champion underwent tests and scans over the weekend.
Having rested and begun a course of medication, Cross will be back in action on Thursday at The O2.
“When I come into the night I will feel fresh and ready to play my best darts,” the England World Cup star continued.
Cross also revealed he will have a lucky mascot cheering him on from the crowd on Thursday.
“I’ve got my little boy coming to watch,” added the reigning World Champion. The only two games he’s been to before were the semis and the final at the Worlds so hopefully he will be my lucky mascot!"
- Overall: 10-2
- 2018 Premier League meetings
MVG 7-2 Cross - Night 1 (Click for report & stats)
Cross 2-7 MVG - Night 15 (Click for report & stats)
- Other TV major meetings
MVG 5-6 Cross (sets) - World Champ SF, Dec '17
MVG 16-13 Cross - Grand Slam of Darts QF, Nov '17
MVG 5-4 Cross - Grand Slam of Darts Groups, Nov '17
MVG 10-4 Cross - World Series of Darts Finals QF, Nov '17
MVG 11-7 Cross - European Championship Final, Oct '17
MVG 9-5 Cross - UK Open last 32, March '16
PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS 2018 STATS (MVG first)
- League Position: First - Fourth
- Matches Won/Lost/Drawn: MVG 11-4-1 Cross 8-5-3
- Legs Won/Lost: 103/64 - 87/82
- 3-dart Average: 103.56 - 97.33
- 180s: 56 - 54
- 100+ checkouts: 19 - 11
- Highest checkout: 170 - 144
- Checkout %: 45.37% (103/227) - 44.85% (87/194)
Premier League Darts Regular Season Table
- MVG P 16 W 11 D 1 L 4 LegD +43 Pts 23
- Smith P 16 W 9 D 2 L 5 LegD +24 Pts 20
- Anderson P 16 W 8 D 3 L 5 LegD +15 Pts 19
- Cross P 16 W 8 D 3 L 5 LegD +5 Pts 19
- Gurney P 16 W 4 D 8 L 4 LegD +1 Pts 16
- Barney P 16 W 6 D 4 L 6 LegD -8 Pts 16
- Wright P 16 W 4 D 6 L 6 LegD -20 Pts 14
- Whitlock P 16 W 5 D 3 L 8 LegD -18 Pts 13
- Suljovic P 9 W 2 D 0 L 7 LegD -13 Pts 4
- Price P 9 W 0 D 2 L 7 LegD -29 Pts 2
Suljovic and Price were eliminated after Judgement Night