Michael van Gerwen finished the resumption of the Premier League top of the table and in perfect position to make a run at a sixth title when the competition concludes in front of fans at the end of May.
MVG dished out a 7-3 hammering to James Wade and when Nathan Aspinall and Dimitri Van den Bergh were beaten, the Dutchman – champion in 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 – had a two-point cushion at the top and four-point lead over fifth place.
MVG missed the play-offs last year, but has recorded three wins in a week to return to top spot for the first time since Night Two and signal his intentions of a return to Premier League dominance.
Jose De Sousa’s win in the opening match of the night meant the top four would not be cracked by anyone else – but Jonny Clayton ensured in he stayed in touch, while two-time champion Gary Anderson produced a classy display to ensure his own top-four hopes remained alive.
Michael van Gerwen continued his return to something like his best, finishing in three 100+ check-outs on his way to an 8-3 triumph over James Wade.
After a high-quality start, which included The Machine averaging 111 for the early exchanges, Van Gerwen produced the sort of five-leg burst that has been missing from his game over the last 12 months.
At 2-2, Wade missed two chances for a break of throw and was punished when Van Gerwen pinned the same double 10 he had missed.
The Green Machine made rubberstamped the lead with a break of his own, taking out 135 for a 12-dart leg against the throw and a 4-2 advantage that became 5-2.
While Van Gerwen’s inconsistencies have been the hallmark of his campaign, he will have been delighted with his dash to the finish line which saw him push his average above 107 for the second time in three nights.
Finishes of 104 and 84 ensured he would not be beaten and while Wade grabbed one more leg, MvG applied the gloss to a superb performance with a sizzling 128 finish that took him top of the Premier League pile.
Block 3 complete and I’m over the moon with 6 points and top of the table. I have come from far this last year and I’m now back where I should be. @JamesWade180 is a phenomenal player so I knew that I need to be at my best tonight. Thank you for all the support this week 💚💚 pic.twitter.com/eLLbvMuZ1m
— Michael Van Gerwen (@MvG180) May 7, 2021
Vintage Anderson show Premier pedigree
Fresh from his highest televised average in 41 games on Thursday night, Gary Anderson bettered that with the performance of the night to beat Dimitri Van den Bergh and ignite his top-four hopes.
Anderson began the resumption bottom of the table and lost 8-3 to Jose De Sousa on Wednesday, but victories over Peter Wright and Van den Bergh ensured he is within three points of a return to the play-offs.
The Scot, who has reached the last four the last six times he has featured in the competition, averaged almost 108, hit six 180s and took out eight of his 10 darts at double.
A high-quality contest never relented and after the first four legs had been shared, Anderson seized control with back-to-back finishes of 123 and 146 for a 4-2 advantage. Onwards he ploughed with a performance befitting his status as a two-time champion of the competition.
He took his run to four successive legs with 12 and 13 darters to leave Van den Bergh floundering before the Belgian pinned bullseye for a 132 finish.
After Anderson missed his first dart for the match, Van den Bergh grabbed a fourth leg with third dart in hand, but the Scot crossed the finished line with a classy 12 dart leg.
Jonny Clayton edged a last-leg decider against Nathan Aspinall to earn a vital three points and stay in touch with the Premier League’s top four, while Aspinall lost top spot.
The Ferret is just a point behind Jose De Sousa after holding off an Aspinall fightback that had seen The Asp rally from 5-2 down to miss a chance to earn a point in the final leg.
From 2-2, Clayton looked to have broken the challenge of Aspinall. A brilliant 11-dart leg from the Welshman finished with the first three-figure check-out of the contest and was the signal for a burst from the Ferret who followed up with a 13-darter to double his advantage.
Clayton looked to be pulling away when he claimed a third leg on the bounce to lead 5-2, but Aspinall is a danger even when not at his best and he dug deep for a pair of legs that drew him within a leg of the Welshman.
Aspinall levelled the contest when he took a scrappy 10th leg and the pair exchanged the next two before Clayton was first to claim a point when he pinned double 10.
After Van Gerwen’s victory, Aspinall knew he needed a win to stay level on points with the Dutchman, but he missed a dart at double top for a share of the spoils to allow Clayton to nip in and pinch the victory.
De Sousa form continues as Snakebite struggles
Jose De Sousa tightened his grip on a play-off place with an 8-1 victory over a beleaguered Peter Wright whose Premier League struggles look set to go on.
Snakebite reached the semi-final last year – only the second time he made the top four – but after his fourth game without a win he is anchored to the foot of the table, seven points adrift of fourth place.
De Sousa occupies that fourth spot after extending his impressive run of form to just one defeat in his last nine games.
Wright was struggling with a shoulder injury against Gary Anderson on Thursday, and it was evident in the early exchanges as he averaged just 68 and spent the first four legs switching between sets of darts.
It all allowed De Sousa to coast into a 6-0 lead before Wright – who had barely mustered a dart at a double – finally got on the board in the seventh leg of the contest.
It merely delayed the inevitable as wrapped up the win with a pair of 13-dart legs to secure a win that means he will start the final week in a play-off spot.
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