Premier League 2024 - Preview Fifth Night

Michael van Gerwen is chasing an unprecedented fourth consecutive nightly BetMGM Premier League victory on Thursday, as he faces World Champion Luke Humphries in a blockbuster quarter-final clash.

The world's top two players will go head-to-head on Night Five in Exeter, as Van Gerwen bids to become the first player to celebrate four straight victories since the inception of the current eight-player knockout format. The Dutch superstar has established an eight-point lead at the Premier League summit following wins in Berlin, Glasgow and Newcastle, and is now aiming to break new ground at Westpoint Exeter.

"I'm having a good run, but there is still a very long way to go," insisted the reigning and seven-time Premier League champion. "I'm not going to set myself any targets. Last year I did that and I didn't do myself any favours. "I was getting too relaxed, so I need to make sure I do it differently this year. You need to make sure you learn from your mistakes, so I'm just going to look week by week. "My game is there, and my confidence is great. I want to battle, I want to perform and I want to show people what I'm capable of."

Night Three runner-up Humphries is the player tasked with halting Van Gerwen's nine-match winning run, as he seeks to avenge his defeat to the three-time World Champion in Glasgow.
Humphries has registered six consecutive ton-plus averages since Night One, although he still finds himself outside of the Play-Off places, despite boasting the highest tournament average of all eight participants. The world number one is hoping his return to Exeter can spark a change in his fortunes, having twice featured as a 'challenger' at this venue in 2019 and 2020.

"Being back in Exeter brings back some nostalgic vibes for me," claimed Humphries, who became the first challenger to triumph in the Premier League with a 7-5 success against Gary Anderson four years ago. "It's where I first began my journey of playing in big TV tournaments, and little did I know that four years later I'd be playing in the Premier League as the World Champion! "My performances have been good, and if I keep playing that way, I believe the wins and nightly victories will come. I've just got to keep the faith and make sure I keep working hard. "Michael is going to be full of confidence and he'll want to break the record of winning four consecutive nights, but he has got to lose at some point, and I'm hoping its tomorrow! "It is up to me to stop him, but I feel my game is in a good place and I'm really looking forward to the challenge."

Elsewhere on Night Five, Rob Cross and Gerwyn Price lock horns in a battle of the former Premier League finalists, with Cross one point clear of the Welshman in fourth spot.
Cross has made a solid start on his return to the Premier League fold, and he finds himself just a point adrift of second position after winning three of his four quarter-final tussles so far.

"I'm enjoying the Premier League," revealed Cross, who was beaten by 2023 runner-up Price in the Night One semi-finals in Cardiff. "I'm winning games but I don't believe I'm anywhere near my best. I'm just hanging in there at the minute. "I'm here to win. I'm not here to make the numbers up, but at the same time I know I've got to improve. "I'm really good friends with Gezzy. I love his company, but it's going to be business this week, and I'm looking forward to it."

The evening's fourth quarter-final will feature a showdown between Michael Smith and Luke Littler, who are tied on seven points in second and third place respectively.
Smith denied Littler on his way to Night One glory in Cardiff, although he arrives in Exeter on the back of successive quarter-final defeats to Cross and Nathan Aspinall.
Teenage superstar Littler landed a 104 average on Night Four before succumbing to Van Gerwen in the semi-finals - his fourth consecutive deciding-leg defeat of the season.

Elsewhere in Exeter, Night Four runner-up Aspinall will play Peter Wright, who is aiming to open his 2024 Premier League account in the south-west.
Wright produced a much improved performance in Newcastle last Thursday, averaging 103 in his 6-5 reverse to Littler, which saw the Scot miss a match dart in the penultimate leg.
Aspinall was also without a point to his name prior to Night Four, but wins over Smith and Cross ignited his campaign, moving him to within three points of the Play-Off places.

Fifth Night's Quarterfinals:
Luke Humphries v Michael van Gerwen
Nathan Aspinall v Peter Wright
Gerwyn Price v Rob Cross
Luke Littler v Michael Smith

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