Premier League Darts 2021: Can Gary Anderson topple Michael van Gerwen on Night Seven?

Michael van Gerwen vs Gary Anderson is a fixture that unfailingly sets pulses racing. The pair have enjoyed a captivating rivalry throughout the last decade, contesting some of the most memorable clashes in darting history.

Van Gerwen and Anderson irrefutably rank among the top five of all time, although more recently the Dutchman has monopolised this rivalry, despite relinquishing his world No 1 status for the first time in seven years.

Their last televised meeting saw Van Gerwen run out a comprehensive 10-2 winner in November’s Grand Slam of Darts, and that dominance has been a familiar pattern of late.

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Anderson defeated the 31-year-old during last year’s Premier League, although that’s somewhat of an anomaly given their recent record, which has seen Van Gerwen win nine of their last 10 meetings.

Neither player has produced the goods consistently during the opening six nights of action, although Van Gerwen only trails league leader Dimitri Van den Bergh via legs won against throw, while Anderson sits in fifth spot, one point adrift of the pace-setters.

Van Gerwen and Anderson are the only current players to boast multiple Premier League titles – Phil Taylor being the other – but as these two darting juggernauts prepare to go head-to-head once more, we assess one of the most high-profile rivalries in the sport…

The season so far…

Van Gerwen’s return of six points from his opening five games was his worst at that stage of a Premier League season.

His irrepressible display against Rob Cross on Night Three was sandwiched in between mediocre performances against Peter Wright and James Wade – the latter of which saw Van Gerwen succumb 7-3 to ‘The Machine’.

The five-time Premier League winner shared the spoils with Dimitri Van den Bergh and Nathan Aspinall before returning to winning ways against a beleaguered Glen Durrant on Night Six, but inconsistency has been the issue for the world No 2 thus far.

Anderson also endured a topsy-turvy start, as he bids to reach the play-offs for a seventh consecutive campaign – the longest active streak in the competition.

‘The Flying Scotsman’ averaged between 95 and 99 in his opening five games, but he was yet to truly catch fire and his return of five points left him languishing precariously above the elimination zone in eighth spot.

However, the two-time champion defied a ton-plus average from Rob Cross to register a precious two points on Night Six, which leaves him just a point off top spot heading into his clash against MVG.

Head to Head

Michael van Gerwen vs Gary Anderson

The pair will clash for the 66th time on Night Seven, as Van Gerwen bids to continue his recent dominance against ‘The Flying Scotsman’.

Nobody has inflicted more defeats on Anderson [44] than ‘The Green Machine’, who has also won nine of their last ten meetings.

The Scot defeated the three-time world champion during last year’s Premier League, but his last televised win over MVG prior to that came during the 2018 Grand Slam of Darts.

However, five of Anderson’s 19 career wins against the Dutchman have come in the Premier League, and he’s unbeaten in seven of his 16 encounters against Van Gerwen in the sport’s biggest roadshow.

Mardle’s Verdict

“It is a massive rivalry but that time they played at the Grand Slam in mid-November – it was 10-2 to Michael and it was one of those where you couldn’t envisage Gary winning the game.

“We know that Gary beat him last year in the Premier League, but before that you’ve got to go back to 2018. I don’t get why Gary doesn’t get as much out of Michael as he should.

“Maybe he doesn’t think he’s as good as Michael, I don’t know. But we watch Gary Anderson enough to know that when he is at it, he railroads anyone. He annihilates anyone.

“It may be as simple as – Michael van Gerwen is a better darts player than Gary Anderson. That’s why he beats him more often.

“I’m not sure if Gary even knows the record against Michael, but you do seem to know as a player: ‘Do you know what, I cannot remember the last time I actually hit the winning double and shook his hand, rather than the other way round’. You do think these things.

“Maybe the tide will turn. Van Gerwen on his day and Gary on his day – we like them going at, and let’s hope they are both at it on Night Seven.”

Don’t miss an arrow as Premier League Darts continues on Tuesday from 7pm on Sky Sports Action – and stick with us through the week for updates, interviews and reaction from start of this year’s competition

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