Chizzy has not beaten the world No 1 since 2016, a run of 26 games that features 25 defeats and one Premier League draw. If that wasn’t bad enough, the man from St Helens hasn’t won on TV against the great Dutchman since 2013 – the head-to-head reads 47-9 in favour of Van Gerwen, with just a couple of draws.
For good measure, Chisnall is also chasing his first major televised title having lost on four previous occasions, two against Phil Taylor and two against MvG – his first major final a 6-0 defeat to the Power on the same Citywest stage.
Enough of the negatives for Chizzy, there are plenty of positives too, not least his year on the PDC circuit which has yielded three Pro Tour titles and three nine-darters – a change of darts also means he is throwing more consistently than ever before.
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However, in the opposite corner is Van Gerwen, stirring back into life at a time of year when the big prizes are handed out. By his own standards he has had a few struggles this season, but struggling has still brought him 11 titles with a third World Championship in January and a fifth Premier League title the highlights.
He will take to the stage aiming for a fifth World Grand Prix title but, crucially for a player who is always setting himself fresh targets, a win on Saturday would mean he has defended the title for the first time.
He has not lost in Dublin since a first round defeat to John Henderson in 2017 and this week he has got better and better, raising his game when challenged by Mervyn King and in sets two and three against Chris Dobey after sweeping past Jeffrey de Zwaan.
The pair have plenty of respect for each other and as well as the trophy, a Grand Prix title will set them up for a run of huge tournaments over the final months of the year.
In their own words…
Dave Chisnall – It’s hard in double-off as if you don’t get off in four or five your average can drop but it’s not about averages, it’s about winning legs.
I really enjoy the tournament, apart from the first round as that is the best of three and you have to come out fast but when it gets to best of five, seven and nine you have time to relax and that’s what I’ve been able to do.
It’s just a dart player in the final, I want to play Michael so I can get the monkey off my back. I’ve never played anyone other than Phil [Taylor] and Michael [Van Gerwen] in a big final, if it was someone else I might have a chance of winning.
I have had a great year, won a few tournaments after winning nothing last year. The main thing has been practise and this year I have practised a lot more than I have in the past.
I have to thank my practice partners who are not as good as me but still turn up and take the beating and go home!
The back end of the year is the best end, this is where you want to win as there is money to be won and we all want to win one of the big ones.
Michael van Gerwen – It hasn’t been easy as I have had to work hard for my darts to go where I wanted them to and even against Chris [Dobey], my treble 19 hitting wasn’t that good so I will work on that.
I am always on a mission, I don’t care what anyone else says, you have to believe in yourself and that’s what I do so I hope I can continue to that.
Dave is a phenomenal player with lots of talent but I think the length of the tournament and the longer format can work against him because sometimes he snatches his throw. But he has been to the final here before and you don’t reach the final of this tournament without being a good player.
The stats over the past few years show that this format also suits me but it’s easy to say that, it’s about doing it Saturday night, prime time!
Wayne Mardle’s verdict
I like the way Chizzy is playing, I like how he has looked relaxed all week, when his first dart hits the treble he is up there with the best in the world.
With Michael I feel like I am watching a man who knows he has got the game, he knows he is going to win unless someone does something extraordinary.
I’ve seen Michael since the Premier League look edgy, I haven’t seen a single dart of edginess. He looks like the best player and is acting like the best player – he’s even calling himself ‘The Boss’ tongue in cheek.
For Dave to win he is going to have to hit tops with his first or second dart. I would love to see Dave win because I think it would be good for darts, but I think Michael is a far better player than anyone else on the planet right now.
The World Grand Prix reaches it’s dramatic conclusion on Saturday night with coverage underway on Sky Sports Action and Main Event from 7pm – and you can follow our live blog at www.skysports.com/darts