Michael van Gerwen dismissive of the challenge of Stephen Bunting at the PDC World Darts Championship

Michael van Gerwen expects to see off the challenge of Stephen Bunting (Picture: Getty Images)

Michael van Gerwen is not overly concerned by the challenge of Stephen Bunting at the PDC World Darts Championship on Friday night, knowing the Bullet will have to produce his absolute A-game to upset the world champion.

Van Gerwen has strolled into the fourth round of the tournament, with comfortable victories over Jelle Klaasen and Ricky Evans, dropping just one set en route.

Bunting has also impressed, edging out Jose Justicia, but then steamrolling Jonny Clayton 4-0 in the third round to set up a clash with the world number one.

Dutch publication AD reported that Bunting described Van Gerwen as ‘vulnerable’ but Mighty Mike certainly does not feel fragile on the Alexandra Palace stage.

‘Stephen needs to say something, he is the one that will be under pressure,’ said Van Gerwen via Live Darts.

‘What else can he say? That he will be slaughtered? No, but that will happen of course.

‘He is a phenomenal player, but often it goes wrong for him in an important match. I hope that will happen again now.

‘Stephen is playing quite well but he is going to have to play the darts of his life to beat me.’

Van Gerwen’s serene progress into the last 32 has cemented his place as firm favourite to lift the Sid Waddell Trophy for a fourth time on New Year’s Day.

Other challengers for the title have fallen by the wayside, with the likes of Rob Cross, Michael Smith and Daryl Gurney all out of contention before the quarter-final stage.

The world number one issued another threat to the rest of the field after his 4-0 win over Evans, saying he was nowhere near his best at a 96.75 average.

‘I could have done a lot better today unfortunately,’ said MVG after beating Evans. ‘He is a good player and every set was a bit tough, but I didn’t turn up 100 per cent.’

MORE: Gerwyn Price is a ‘big problem’ for Michael van Gerwen at the PDC World Darts Championship, says Phil Taylor

MORE: Michael van Gerwen identifies how many players can win the PDC World Darts Championship


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