Michael van Gerwen continues to show he can handle the pressure as he extends his lead at the top of Premier League
Michael van Gerwen continues to show he can handle the pressure as he extends his lead at the top of the Unibet Premier League. (picture: Lawrence Lustig / PDC)

Michael van Gerwen continues to show he can handle the pressure as he extends his lead at the top of Premier League

Michael van Gerwen cemented his position at the top of the Unibet Premier League at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield on Thursday evening.

samstraw
Sam Straw

Michael van Gerwen further cemented his position at the top of the Unibet Premier League at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield on Thursday evening with another routine victory. 

The 28-year-old Dutchman comfortably saw off Simon Whitlock in a 7-1 victory in front of a capacity crowd in the Steel City. It was another very impressive performance as Van Gerwen continues to stroll through the competition with ease. 

This result, his ninth win of the campaign, sees him move four points clear at the top of the Premier League and all-but secure his place in the play-offs at the O2 in London in a couple of weeks time. 

Van Gerwen was left delighted with his performance and is looking forward to next week's trip to Rotterdam for a dramatic double-header. 

He said: "I cannot really complain. Overall, I played a good game with steady finishing.

"Of course, it is going to be brilliant (next week in Rotterdam). There is a lot of pressure on my shoulders but I have shown before that I can handle that.

"I am looking forward to trying to put a performance on in front of my home crowd."

An emotional night in Sheffield

Whitlock came into this match in confident mood having beaten Gerwyn Price 7-3 last week in Liverpool. However, the 49-year-old never really threatened Van Gerwen. 

Despite this, Van Gerwen insists that it was not an easy match.

He said: "It was not easy, especially at the beginning because Simon played well but you have to be strong and that is what I did, especially with my finishing. The 121 and 106 were important and they came at lovely moments.

"I was still above the 100 average and you want more - I was at 108 for most of the game - but I got the win and that's the most important thing."

All eight players came onto the stage before the night's action got underway to join the Sheffield crowd in paying tribute to Eric Bristow who sadly passed away last week with a minute's applause. 

Van Gerwen felt that this was the least they could do to pay tribute to such a legendary figure within the game.

He said: "I thought that was the least we could do. It was something that had to be done. He (Eric) would say that the 'show must go on'."

Despite the fact that finishing top of the league does not give you any advantage in the play-offs, Van Gerwen feels the confidence it gives you could give him the edge if he is to remain at the top. 

He said: "I would rather be at the top of the table with a lot of confidence rather than going in by just hanging in there. It makes a big difference to me."

He added: "There is also an extra prize for being at the top of the table."

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