Premier League 2017 - Preview Ninth Evening

THE race to win spots in the Betway Premier League Play-Offs begins in earnest on Thursday at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, as league leader Michael van Gerwen bids to bounce back against Dave Chisnall.

Thursday's ninth league night in Cardiff marks the halfway stage of the league season, with the bottom two players - Jelle Klaasen and Kim Huybrechts - being eliminated.
The remaining eight players now set their sights on claiming a top four spot to qualify for the Play-Offs in London in May - with just six points separating the stars following eight matches.

Reigning Premier League champion Van Gerwen saw his unbeaten run ended by Raymond van Barneveld in Manchester last week, and he takes on Chisnall in Cardiff.
"It was disappointing to lose to Raymond but that game's gone now and I have to prepare myself properly for this week," said Van Gerwen. "I'm top of the table and that's where I want to be, but it's close between everyone so you can't afford any more mistakes. Dave's a brilliant player and he's one of the biggest scorers in the game, so I know I've got to be on form."

2014 champion Van Barneveld continues his top-four bid as he looks to claim a fourth straight victory when he plays James Wade.
"It's really competitive and it's great that I've beaten the number two and the number one in the world in the last two weeks," said Van Barneveld. "My form is there and the last two weeks have been great, but now I have to focus on James."

Adrian Lewis is also looking to extend his three-game winning streak as he plays world number two Gary Anderson, with the Stoke ace's run of form ending his fears of being drawn into an elimination battle.
"It's not going too bad, points-wise," said Lewis. "I know I'm coming into form and I'm practising hard. "I just go up there and try my best, and at the moment the results are coming even if I'm not at my best. I've had three wins on the trot and I want to keep that going now."

Anderson and Lewis have clashed twice in World Championship finals as well as in the 2011 Premier League final, and the Scot is predicting another entertaining contest in Cardiff.
"The games usually get built up but Adrian's back playing how we know he can," said Anderson. "He's a good friend of mine and he has me in stitches all the time, laughing about things, but we'll go up there and the best man will win on the night. "I've had a lot of draws and games I could have won. I'm trying to get more time on the practice board and I'm going to put the work in."

Phil Taylor joined Anderson and Lewis on nine points in the table when he defeated table-topper Peter Wright in Manchester, and he meets eliminated Dutch ace Klaasen in Wales.
"Jelle will be dangerous because he'll want to finish on a high and there's no pressure on him - but it's the same feeling for me too," said Taylor. "I'm enjoying it and I'm not going to put myself under pressure. "I've had 30 years of being under pressure week-in and week-out, and I've earned the right to enjoy myself a little bit, but I'm going to keep pushing to get into the top four."

The as well already eliminated Kim Huybrechts has withdrawn from the evening as his mother is terminally ill. So Peter Wright is free from play as well and will not be in Cardiff - only four matches will take place. The match will be assessed as a 7:0 win for Wright who'll get two points.

Ninth Night Matches
Phil Taylor v Jelle Klaasen
Gary Anderson v Adrian Lewis
Raymond van Barneveld v James Wade
Michael van Gerwen v Dave Chisnall

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