BIG GUNS FACE OFF AS BETWAY PREMIER LEAGUE VISITS DUBLIN
THE world's top four players will clash in the Betway Premier League in Dublin on Thursday, as Michael van Gerwen faces Adrian Lewis and Gary Anderson takes on Phil Taylor.
World number one van Gerwen and unbeaten league leader Lewis will clash at the 3Arena in a high-profile contest between two of the sport's most exciting talents.
Lewis, the 2011 Premier League runner-up and a two-time World Champion, has started the season in superb style with wins over Michael Smith and Dave Chisnall, and is in confident mood as he prepares to meet the Dutch superstar.
"Michael's been the best player in the world for the last couple of years in my opinion," said Lewis. "It means everything when you play him and I'm looking forward to it. I can't ask for any more with my form and that showed in patches last week. I'm feeling good and if somebody beats me then they're going to have to play really well."
Van Gerwen bounced back from his opening-night loss to James Wade with a 111 average as he swept aside Anderson in Newcastle last week, before he then won the Dutch Darts Masters European Tour event over the weekend.
"The crowds in Dublin are great and I really like to play there," said van Gerwen. "It will be a good game and I hope I can continue my form because my confidence is high at the moment and I know what I can do. Adrian's a fantastic talent but sometimes he can let his focus go a little bit and then you need to take advantage, and that's what I'll be looking to do. Hopefully we'll both have won two out of three by the end of the night!"
Taylor also bounced back to form in Newcastle as he responded to his opening loss to Raymond van Barneveld by averaging 111 himself as he return to his best against James Wade.
The six-time Premier League champion admitted: "The defeat against Raymond was a kick up the backside that I needed but last week was a fantastic result for me and I want to keep pushing forward now. It's going to be brilliant and Gary will be ready for it. I've been doing everything right and it's just a matter of getting up there and doing it on the dartboard. Now that I'm playing properly and I've got my equipment right, I can't wait and I'm really looking forward to it."
Peter Wright is the Premier League's other unbeaten player following two weeks as he prepares to face Wade, who has won two games out of three after he stepped in to compete twice in Newcastle in the absence of Robert Thornton.
"I'm quite happy to have won two out of two but I'll have to be better this week," said Wright. "I know James will play well. James got the better of me last year but I've got a good record against him from the last few times we've played."
Thornton will return to action following a chest infection when he meets 2014 Premier League champion Raymond van Barneveld in Dublin, while St Helens rivals Smith and Chisnall also clash.