Premier League Darts: Phil Taylor faces Michael van Gerwen as top two showdown
The world's top two go head-to-head in Premier League Darts' Aberdeen leg with Phil Taylor taking on Michael van Gerwen.
Last Updated: 17/04/14 9:08pm
Dutch ace Van Gerwen took the Premier League Darts title from Taylor's grasp 12 months ago and has since succeeded the Stoke-born star as both World Champion and world number one.
The 24-year-old also claimed a stunning 7-0 whitewash win when the pair met on the opening night of this year's Premier League Darts season in Liverpool, Taylor's heaviest ever defeat in ten years of the event.
However, after overcoming his shaky start Taylor is now unbeaten in his last five games and moved into play-off contention for the first time when he defeated Adrian Lewis 7-4 in Sheffield last week.
The 53-year-old claims he is not out for revenge when he faces Van Gerwen at a sold-out GE Oil & Gas Arena, but claims the reigning champion should be worried.
"There's no thoughts of revenge, you just move on and you've got to get on with it," Taylor said. "It's just about winning this week, and if I can beat him 7-0 then I will.
"I want to get back up - I want to be number one or number two in this, I don't want to be down there at the bottom, so I'm fighting now and everything's right.
"They're all scared of me now. They're running scared - even Michael."
With Taylor entering the Premier League season on the back of a six-week break and with a new set of darts, Van Gerwen believes that his match-sharp opponent will prove a greater challenge this time around.
"The 7-0 win was lovely and I'd love to do that again, but it's going to be difficult," he said. "Phil's playing better and better all the time and he's getting there.
"You can't underestimate him at any time because he's always a big player and he always will be a big player. He's the biggest player on the planet - but at the moment I'm top of the Premier League, the world number one and World Champion and he needs to beat me."
Van Gerwen sits a point clear of fellow Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld at the head of the Premier League table, but could extend his lead as he faces a second match against World No 3 Adrian Lewis later in the night.
Lewis also doubles up in Scotland as he opens the night with a clash against Gary Anderson in a repeat of the 2011 Premier League Darts final between the two in-form stars.
Lewis had won his first World Championship at the start of 2011 as he defeated Anderson with the aid of a nine-darter in the final, only to see the Scot avenge that as he picked up Premier League glory in his debut season.
Peter Wright slipped to third place in the table as he suffered two defeats in Sheffield last Thursday, and the Scottish-born ace is bidding to revive his challenge for a play-off place against Dave Chisnall in their Aberdeen debut.
The night also sees fellow Scot Robert Thornton aim to bounce back from consecutive defeats when he takes on Raymond van Barneveld.
The five-time World Champion - who hit a nine-darter in Aberdeen in 2010 - followed up a run of five successive draws with a win against Chisnall in Sheffield as he moved up to second in the table.
"It will be a big game," said Van Barneveld. "Robert played extremely well last week, he's hitting so many 180s but hasn't always got the results.
"Every week you're seeing the best of the best, and the first target is not to be relegated and the next is to get into the top four. We've got eight players left and they can all still reach the top four so I can't relax."
Thursday's visit to the GE Oil & Gas Arena in Aberdeen, which will be played in front of a sell-out crowd, can be seen live on Sky Sports 2HD from 7pm.