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31 Jan 2018 by TSZ

2018 Unibet Premier League Darts – Michael van Gerwen vs Rob Cross Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Thursday 1st February

Where? 3Arena Dublin

What channel is it on? Sky Sports Action, Sky Sports Mix

Are tickets still available? www.ticketmaster.ie

Where can I stream the match? Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via Sky Go

THE LOWDOWN

CAREER HEAD-TO-HEAD
Michael van Gerwen 8-2 Rob Cross

MICHAEL VAN GERWEN

  • World number one Michael van Gerwen is appearing in the Premier League for the sixth successive season since making his debut in 2013, and he is aiming to win his fourth Premier League title, and his third in a row, after winning in 2016 and 2017.
  • Van Gerwen had the big disappointment recently of failing to retain his world title when he lost in the World Championship semi-final to Rob Cross. MvG missed six match darts to defeat Cross in that epic encounter, and that loss is his only defeat in the last 37 matches he has played. He has averaged over 100 in each of his last 23 matches.
  • Last weekend, he shrugged off his World Championship disappointment by winning the 2018 Unibet Masters. Van Gerwen finished the tournament with an average of almost 105 and hit 58% of his attempts at a double.

ROB CROSS

  • Recently crowned PDC world champion Rob Cross is making his Premier League debut following a remarkable 2017. Last February, he was a newcomer on the PDC tour, and his rise up the rankings in the PDC is unprecedented. Cross is currently ranked 3rd on the PDC Order of Merit.
  • Cross has captured five PDC ranking tournaments since joining the tour last year, and crowned his debut PDC season by winning the World Championship at the first attempt, defeating Michael van Gerwen in the semi-finals and Phil Taylor in the final.
  • Cross was brought back down to earth a little last weekend at the Unibet Masters where he lost 10-8 in the quarter-finals to Mensur Suljovic in a match where missed doubles, particularly early on proved costly.

THE PREDICTION

This is a mouth-watering opening night matchup between the undisputed world number one Michael van Gerwen and the current world champion Rob Cross; the man who ousted Van Gerwen in the semi-finals at the recent PDC World Championship. Cross already had the belief that he could compete with Van Gerwen at the very highest level and having achieved success against MvG on the biggest stage of all, he won’t lack confidence and he certainly has the quality to back it up.

Van Gerwen will be full of motivation to still prove he is the best, and he looked extremely determined last weekend when winning the Unibet Masters and gaining some revenge over Cross so soon after losing their World Championship semi-final would be the perfect tonic.

Van Gerwen is the favourite to edge out Cross in a high-quality encounter that could go all the way to a final leg.

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