Premier League 2018 - Preview Fifteenth League Day

GARY ANDERSON will be aiming to secure his place in the Unibet Premier League Play-Offs in front of a passionate Scottish crowd as the league season ends at The BHGE Arena in Aberdeen on Thursday. The two-time Premier League Champion needs to win just three legs against Michael van Gerwen to guarantee his place at The O2 on May 17.
Anderson's only rival for the final top four spot is Daryl Gurney, who must win at least 7-2 against Peter Wright and hope league leader Van Gerwen records a big win over the Scot. The 47-year-old will be hoping to bounce back from defeats to Simon Whitlock and Raymond van Barneveld in the past fortnight to join Van Gerwen, Michael Smith and Rob Cross in the Play-Offs.

"Obviously Michael will be a tough opponent," said Anderson, who won the Premier League in 2011 and 2015. "I've just got to make sure I do enough to get to The O2 without any dramas. "It's all about producing at the right times now, I want to win in Scotland and I love coming home. It's always very special and I've got a decent record in Aberdeen. "I really don't care where I finish in the top four and who I face at The O2. All I'm fussed about is playing my best game when I get there."

Van Gerwen secured top spot with a convincing 7-2 win over Cross in Birmingham last week and will be looking to add a fourth Premier League crown to his ever-expanding trophy cabinet next week. However, the Dutchman insists he will not be taking his eye off the ball against Anderson on Thursday.

"I've got an important few weeks coming up, I feel fantastic and I want to keep this winning feeling going," said Van Gerwen, who could face Anderson in the play-off semi-finals at The O2 next week. "I never want to lose, I fight for every leg and I don't like to take anything for granted. "Even though I am safe in top spot, I want to show everyone how good I can be. "I'm Michael - I'm a winner, I do my thing and I don't care what anyone else does."

Meanwhile, Gurney hasn't given up hope of walking out at The O2 next week and will be aiming to pile the pressure on Anderson with a big victory over Wright.
"I need a miracle now and I'm not expecting that but I'll go to Aberdeen and give it my all," said Gurney, who is one of four Premier League debutants in 2018. "I knew I blew my chance when I got all the draws at the start but that's my own fault. "If I can finish fifth in my first Premier League that's what I deserve because all the top four players beat me. The league table doesn't lie."

The Northern Irishman will face a tough test against 2017 runner-up Wright, who picked up a much-needed win over Whitlock last week.
"I'm gutted I'm not in the top four but I haven't been good enough across the season, I've had too many ups and downs," said Wright. "If I get picked next year then I'll make sure I'm ready. "I want to finish with a flourish in front of my home crowd in Aberdeen. "It will be very difficult against Daryl Gurney. He's fighting for fourth place and I'm fighting to finish as high as I can and get as much prize money as I can."

Elsewhere, Smith, who secured his Play-Off place last week with a 6-6 draw against Gurney, will take on Van Barneveld in the opening game of the evening in Aberdeen. The St Helens ace insists he won't be relaxing as he aims to secure a second-placed finish in just his second Premier League season on Thursday.

"I'm not going to relax against Raymond," said Smith, who returned to the Premier League this year after a one-year absence. "Last time we played I beat him 7-0 and he's going to try to do the same to me, so I know I can't afford to take things easy this week. "I want to win as many points as I can to make sure I finish as high as I possibly can in the table and I want to keep the winning feeling going ahead of The O2. "To finish second in the Premier League at my second attempt would be a great achievement."

Meanwhile, reigning World Champion Cross, who has already secured his Play-Off spot in his debut Premier League campaign, will face Whitlock. Cross can still finish as high as second place, if he beats the Australian and Smith loses to Van Barneveld.

Fifteenth Night's Matches
Michael Smith v Raymond van Barneveld
Simon Whitlock v Rob Cross
Peter Wright v Daryl Gurney
Michael van Gerwen v Gary Anderson

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