Wade can hypnotise rivals, claims Van Gerwen before Premier League clash

Michael van Gerwen has come up with an unusual way of describing what it’s like to play against darts rival James Wade.

The pair meet again in the Premier League tonight as the tournament makes its much-anticipated return to Dublin. Van Gerwen and Wade clashed in the semi-finals in Aberdeen last week, with the Dutchman winning 6-3 before being beaten by Jonny Clayton in the final and losing top spot.

Wade does have a recent victory over Van Gerwen to call on, winning their Premier League meeting in Birmingham in March. And while Van Gerwen will be favourite to triumph tonight, the three-time world champion insists it isn’t easy taking on The Machine.

“I’ve played him several times in this Premier League, but tonight is a new night,” he told DartsNews. “You always have to start very sharp against him, he’s a tricky player to play against. He almost hypnotises you and you have to stay sharp. He’s a champion at pretending he doesn’t care and then throwing superbly.”

The winner of the Van Gerwen-Wade match will face Gerwyn Price or Joe Cullen in the semi-finals. The other quarter-finals see basement duo Michael Smith and Gary Anderson meet for the right to face Jonny Clayton or Peter Wright in the last four. It’s a huge night for Anderson and Smith in what is a must-win night for both. The former sits at the foot of the table with just seven points so far and only one night win to his name.

However, the Flying Scotsman insists he isn’t out of contention yet, with five points on the table if he can reach the final and win it.

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"If you can win the next three weeks then it's 15 points and I know I'm right in the mix for the play-offs," said Anderson. "If I play like I did the night that I won in Nottingham then I'll be okay – it's just that those nights are too few and far between at the moment."

On his meeting with Smith, Anderson said: “Michael's been in a couple of finals this season and we all know how good he can be. It's a few weeks now since he's won and he's in a bit of a rut, similar to me, and it's hard to get out of it.

"Even winning your first game one night can change things around but the more you lose the harder it gets. If you get a couple of results, all of a sudden things can change the other way. The way this Premier League's gone, if you get a shot and don't take it you're bang in trouble and we both know that. I always seem to turn up and play well against Michael – even in some of the floor tournaments we've had some brilliant matches."

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