Premier League Darts 2021: Wayne Mardle insists Michael van Gerwen is still the man to beat

Michael van Gerwen’s form in this year’s Premier League has fluctuated from the sublime to the ordinary, yet despite his inconsistency, the Dutchman still finds himself two points clear at the summit.

The 32-year-old has largely dominated the event since making his debut in 2013, topping the league phase for seven consecutive seasons, only to finish sixth during last year’s interrupted season.

Van Gerwen is without a title in 2021 thus far and following an abject showing at last month’s Super Series, there were many questioning whether the three-time world champion would be denied a play-off spot for a second straight year.

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Nevertheless, the world No 3 silenced his critics in emphatic style, registering three successive wins across the latest batch of fixtures, which featured 109 and 107 averages in wins over Dimitri Van den Bergh and James Wade respectively.

Despite his recent resurgence, Van Gerwen is still yet to post consecutive ton-plus averages in this year’s Premier League, but Wayne Mardle insists the five-time Premier League champion is still the best in the world…..

Michael van Gerwen is top. I still find it weird. It is incredible. The human being that Michael van Gerwen is – the dart player in him is just phenomenal.

A lot of people know I have called him the best player I have ever seen in my life. I mean that for when he plays well. He is nowhere near as consistent as Phil Taylor, this period is proving that.

We mentioned the last block of games – 109 average, 95 average and 107. What on earth? He finds himself top and I foolishly said he would not make the play-offs, but I did not know he was going to win three out of three then!

“He is still the best. We know [Gerwyn] Price is world No 1 and world champion, but when they all play well, when they all play their A-game, nobody matches Van Gerwen.”

Mardle on MVG….

His doubling percentage has improved, his scoring has improved – you name it, it’s improved in the last couple of weeks. It would not surprise me if the top four, which is Van Gerwen, Aspinall, Van den Bergh and De Sousa – stayed as that. There are so many stories going on.

Michael’s celebrations – it is trying to intimidate without actually touching your opponent. You are trying to let them know that: ‘You’re going to have to go some to beat me, because I want it’.

Against Jonny Clayton, I was in the commentary box. We are probably 80 feet away, behind six-inch Perspex in a box, and every time he was shouting, I am recoiling back in my seat!

How it must have been for Jonny – he must have been thinking: ‘What on earth is going on?’ It can be off-putting, but I really believe Michael has just got to that point – when I play well, I win.

He wants to get himself playing as well as he can. He knows every time he’s had these ton-plus averages, he’s absolutely annihilated his opponents.

Van Gerwen’s 2021 PL Averages

He is still the best. We know [Gerwyn] Price is world No 1 and world champion, but when they all play well, when they all play their A-game, nobody matches Van Gerwen.

He is top, and he’s had so many low 90s averages, because when he plays well, he wins. There are mind games of course there is, but this is sport, there has to be mind games.

Lloyd: Van Gerwen proved he’s still the man

“Michael’s averages dip because he is not finishing. He is still scoring quite highly, but the amount of times he will have six darts at a double and won’t get it and lose the leg – you see his facial expression as if to say: ‘How on earth did I lose that leg?’

“I think that plays on him a little bit for the next leg, but then he’ll still go 140, 180 and then have another five darts at a double. The scoring is there and I think the poignant point of the last three nights – he had such big averages because he was taking out big shots.

Had a great practice session today. Feeling great and I can’t wait to welcome the fans back it’s going to be phenomenal 💚💚 pic.twitter.com/cBLhI7Qlgd

“Those three-dart combinations; Taylor was always amazing at it and that is what really hurt you. Those three nights Michael was doing that, and he was doing it in clinical fashion.

“I think he will be top of the group now. He has got that confidence now. He kept saying he had got it, he kept saying: ‘It’s ok, I’m not panicking. I’m still the man’. Those last three matches he proved he is still the man.”

The 2021 Premier League concludes next week, with five consecutive nights culminating with the Play-Offs on Friday, May 28. Watch all the action live on Sky Sports.

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