DOUBLE DUTCH IN DUBLIN AS BETWAY PREMIER LEAGUE VISITS IRELAND
The visit to Dublin^s 3Arena sees the ten stars competing in the penultimate league night before the bottom two players are eliminated following next week^s Judgement Night in Manchester.
However, the visit to Dublin could see bottom-placed Kim Huybrechts^ fate sealed should he lose to Phil Taylor and both van Barneveld and Adrian Lewis - who sit two points above the Belgian - pick up points from their clashes in Dublin.
Reigning champion van Barneveld kick-started his season in Glasgow a week ago with a stunning win over Phil Taylor, and takes on unbeaten league leader van Gerwen in Dublin in a repeat of last year^s final.
"I^m on five points now and it^s a really exciting league," said van Barneveld. "I^ve still got to work hard but if I can play like I did last week then I^m going to give every opponent a hard night.
"I^m really happy with how I^m playing and with my darts and last week was unreal. I^m practising harder than ever before because I know now that if these darts go in like last week, why not every week?"
However, van Barneveld is up against the year^s form player in van Gerwen, the current world number one and unbeaten Premier League leader.
Van Gerwen also followed up last week^s Premier League defeat of Dave Chisnall with victory in the Gibraltar Darts Trophy over the weekend to continue his incredible form so far in 2015.
"I feel great and confidence is really important in this game," said van Gerwen. "I know when I^m confident that I can play really well and I hope I can keep this going for a long time.
"Raymond will be confident too after beating Phil last week and he^s a fantastic player, but I will be the huge favourite. I^ll just play my own game and try not to make any mistakes, and it will be great to play him in Dublin."
Lewis joined van Barneveld on five league points last week when he drew with James Wade in Glasgow, and the two-time World Champion admitted that he is expecting another high-quality clash with Dave Chisnall in Dublin.
"Chizzy^s had a fantastic season so it^s going to be a tough game, without a shadow of a doubt," said Lewis. "He^s trying to stay in the top four and I^m trying to gain points on him.
"I think we^ll hit lots of 180s and I^ll keep doing what I do because I^m enjoying my game. I^ve got a good tournament average but I^ve had some people play brilliantly against me."
The fight to avoid being dragged into the elimination battle sees the two players on six league points - Peter Wright and Stephen Bunting - facing key contests.
Bunting meets World Champion Gary Anderson, who sits second in the league table, and is looking to bounce back from seeing a 5-1 lead slip away as he drew with Wright a week ago.
"The thing I^ve learned over the last few weeks is not to look back and I^ve always been a positive player," said Bunting. "I didn^t play my best last week and still got a point, so I^m looking forward to Dublin."
Anderson had picked up a homecoming win in Glasgow against Huybrechts, and is aiming to continue his push to secure a Play-Off place with a sixth win of the season.
"I think the pressure^s off me and I can relax a little bit," said Anderson. "My darts are doing well and I was pleased to get the win in Glasgow last week.
"Stephen should have wrapped up a win against Peter last week and he^ll be desperate to get the points this week so he^s going to have to come out firing."
Wright, meanwhile, is unbeaten in five matches but has picked up four draws during that run, and is setting his sights on moving up the league table away from the elimination battle.
"Top four is still in reach, and I don^t want to be losing," he said. "I^m playing some good darts and the results will come eventually, but I^m doing okay at the moment.
"I^ve been under the weather for the last couple of weeks but I^ve settled on my darts now and they^re going well, and I feel good about my game."
Over 9,000 tickets have been sold for Thursday^s Betway Premier League at the 3Arena, with a small number still remaining on sale via www.ticketmaster.ie or by calling 0818 719 3000.
Betway Premier League
Night Eight, Thursday March 26
Adrian Lewis v Dave Chisnall
Gary Anderson v Stephen Bunting
Peter Wright v James Wade
Michael van Gerwen v Raymond van Barneveld
Phil Taylor v Kim Huybrechts
Tickets: 0818 719 3000 or www.ticketmaster.ie.
Week Eight Match Odds
11/10 Adrian Lewis
7/4 Dave Chisnall
8/13 Gary Anderson
3/1 Stephen Bunting
7/4 Peter Wright
11/10 James Wade
1/2 Michael van Gerwen
4/1 Raymond van Barneveld
1/2 Phil Taylor
4/1 Kim Huybrechts
Odds courtesy www.betway.com and subject to fluctuation.