Michael van Gerwen has looked in imperious form over the last two weeks as he closes in on yet another table-topping Premier League campaign. The Dutchman has had some blips in the 2019 Premier League season which includes a defeat against James Wade but the way he performed against Smith and Cross suggests he is really hitting top gear at the right time.
Rob Cross lost in disappointing fashion to Michael van Gerwen last Thursday and will be looking to respond in a positive way as he has done after both of his previous two losses in the 2019 Premier League.
This is a match Daryl Gurney may have to take two points from if he is to make it into the play-offs. The Northern Irishman has had a couple of blips recently to halt his momentum and he needs to pick up a win to get back on track or risk losing ground on the players ahead of him.
Mensur Suljovic has been picking up wins over the past few weeks without particularly playing as well as he was early in the campaign, where he was playing to a higher standard but coming up against opponents who raised their level.
The 2019 Unibet Premier League season takes place from February to May across 17 nights (16 nights of a league phase leading up to the play-offs at the O2 Arena).
Peter Wright has much to do if he is to push himself into contention for a top four finish with so many players also in the mix and Wright three points off the pace. It really has been a frustrating Premier League season for Snakebite with only two wins from 11 matches and too many below-par performances across those. Wright did show some encouraging signs last week in his defeat against Cross but consistency has been an issue and it is hard to know what kind of performance we will see from him.
This clash between the top two players in the table is without doubt the standout match of the night – they are both well ahead of the chasing pack and will only have eyes on claiming top spot in the league table ahead of the play-offs.
Michael Smith needs to turn his improved performances into wins if he is to try and reach the play-offs for a second consecutive year, a win against Gerwyn Price could bring him back into contention but defeat may leave him with too much to do. Price himself occupies a top four place and has picked up five points from his last three games.
Both players are eyeing up a place in the play-offs and with only leg difference separating the pair the stakes are high. Suljovic has not performed well over his last four matches and will certainly need to improve if he is to make the top four. Gurney played excellently against Wade last week and although he didn’t win, he will take encouragement, especially from his T20 scoring.
Michael Smith’s 2019 Premier League campaign has been a struggle. There have been signs of an improvement in form from the St. Helens man in the past few weeks but a failure to pick up points will have been a big frustration. Michael van Gerwen has shown he is not invincible, with three wins from his last seven Premier League matches, but in fairness his performance levels have still been excellent by most people’s standards.
Fourth-placed James Wade and fifth-placed Daryl Gurney are level on points in the table so there is plenty at stake in this encounter, especially as they are both coming off disappointing results in Belfast last week.
With only two points separating these players this is a crucial fixture in the race for a top-four place. Suljovic has put himself in contention with four wins from his last five matches since he lost to Gerwyn Price on night five. Price has kick-started his campaign with a win against Peter Wright and a draw against Michael van Gerwen in his last two matches.
League leader Rob Cross will be looking to extend his advantage at the top of the table with victory against an opponent in Peter Wright who has struggled for wins during the 2019 Premier League season. With Michael van Gerwen playing later on in the evening, Cross has a chance to extend his lead to three points by the time the Dutchman takes to the stage.
Michael van Gerwen moved ominously back to the top of the table with two 7-1 victories in Rotterdam and he will be looking to maintain his place at the summit with two points against an opponent he has defeated on all 15 of their previous encounters.