Things are heating up at the Ally Pally in more ways than one, and Michael Van Gerwen has added some fuel to the fire.
This year's PDC World Darts Championship has been all about homegrown talent so far. Keane Barry and Steve Lennon are flying the flag.
Eventually, the Irish contingent will stumble across some of the heavyweights in the tournament. Barry knows that as he prepares for Jonny Clayton late on Sunday.
Speaking of heavyweights - Michael van Gerwen is a three-time World Championship winner and came into this year's event ranked at number three.
'The Iceman' Gerwyn Price is the man to beat, however, holding down the number one ranking and defending his crown after last year's victory over Gary Anderson.
There's no love lost between van Gerwen and Price but 'The Iceman' is keen to get one up on his Dutch rival ahead of the biggest dates on the Darts calendar.
What can I say it felt so good to be back on that stage tonight and the fans were phenomenal. I missed to many doubles but the first game is all about winning. Credit to Chas who will get his card at QSchool. Now to help Vincent get ready. Thank you for all the support 💚💚 pic.twitter.com/I7UWzLorgg
— Michael Van Gerwen (@MvG180) December 19, 2021
After van Gerwen's opening win against Chas Barstow, MvG was asked what he thought of some comments made by Price before the World Championships.
"I spoke to Gerwyn Price in the buildup to the tournament," a reporter asked. "He says he thinks he's going to play you in the final and he wants to play the second-best player in the world."
"Do you think that's a bit of mind games?" This was van Gerwen's response:
He's got one thing right, and that's playing me in the final. The other thing is absolute nonsense. We all know he's full of himself but deep in his heart, he knows. Yeah, if I play mind games they are all dependent on me. They're not even allowed to stand in my shadow.
Van Gerwen will be hoping for a better showing this time around after being dominated by Dave Chisnall 5-0tooQ-School in the quarter-finals in 2021.
He's come close in several tournaments this year, including semi-final bow outs in the Premier and World Matchplay as well as making the final of the PC20.