Premier League 2017 - Preview Eighth Evening

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN is aiming to move top of the Betway Premier League table when he doubles up at The Manchester Arena on Thursday, as Kim Huybrechts and Jelle Klaasen bid to remain in the tournament.

Reigning Premier League champion Van Gerwen has a game in hand over his rivals in the event after missing the recent league night in Exeter due to a back injury.
The World Champion remains the only unbeaten player in the tournament ahead of the eighth league night in Manchester, where he will take on James Wade in his rearranged fixture and then face Dutch rival Raymond van Barneveld. Last week's 7-4 win over Phil Taylor in Rotterdam meant that Van Gerwen remains a point behind current league leader Peter Wright - but the world number one is aiming to leave Manchester back at the head of the standings.

"I'm the world number one and I think I should be top of the league so this is my chance," said Van Gerwen. "I'm quite confident because I've won the league for the past three years and I want to do it again this year. "I'm in a good position now, I don't have any problems with my back and I just have to make sure I prepare myself well on Thursday and play as well as possible. "Playing two games is always tough but I've done it before - we do it in the second half of the league - and won both matches, so I'm feeling good."

With only Thursday's event in Manchester remaining ahead of Judgement Night in Cardiff next week, the league's bottom two players - Huybrechts and Klaasen - face huge nights in their bids to remain in the event.
The pair sit three points adrift of Dave Chisnall - who sits out the Manchester event after playing twice in Exeter - with the trio of Adrian Lewis, Gary Anderson and Phil Taylor four points clear of the bottom two.

Klaasen faces Lewis in Manchester, and admitted: "It's a big match. "The Premier League isn't over for me yet and I'll do everything I can to not get eliminated. I've had a good rest since Rotterdam and I hope that my wrist doesn't hurt much and I'll have a good chance to win the game."

Huybrechts, meanwhile, will play Anderson as he bids to avoid elimination from the tournament. "It's a big game in that I'm playing a two-time World Champion on the Premier League stage, and maybe it's a last chance to save myself," said Huybrechts. "I've just got to focus on the game though because if you get focused on the table then it only causes extra pressure. "The ten players are all very good and can be at the top of the league or get in trouble at the bottom too - I've had plenty of chances to get more points but have blown then and that shows that you can't afford to miss in the Premier League."

The night in Manchester also sees Peter Wright bidding to continue his strong form when he plays six-time Premier League champion Taylor, who is out to end a two-game losing run.

Eighth Nigth Matches
Michael van Gerwen v James Wade
Kim Huybrechts v Gary Anderson
Peter Wright v Phil Taylor
Jelle Klaasen v Adrian Lewis
Raymond van Barneveld v Michael van Gerwen

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