How Gary Neville's proposed 'nine day Premier League festival of football' would work

Southampton FC v Leicester City - Premier League

Premier League chiefs are determined to finish the 2019/20 season, so we can expect a wave of football matches to be played in a short period of time.

The Telegraph reported last week that plans are being made to resume games behind closed doors on June 1 and complete them in a six-week period.

There are still 92 games to be played in the season, so to stage them all in the space of 42 days means there will be something of a football overload.

That might not be a bad thing for fans who have sorely missed Premier League action.

Manchester United legend Gary Neville came up with his own solution to the scheduling issue - a ‘festival of football’ in which the season is completed in just two weeks.

"The last thing I'm worried about is sorting out the fixtures," Neville recently told Sky Sports.

"If football players need to play every day for nine days to finish the Premier League as a worst-case scenario, they would do it because they'd get their heads around it and make it a festival of football.

"It would be something spectacular. Football can bring some hope and joy to the country when we finally come out of this crisis.”

West Ham United v Fulham FC - Premier League

Wouldn’t that be something? We’d all be glued to our TV screens, watching games for hours on end and then coming back the next day to do it all again.

The Daily Mail have taken a look to see whether it would actually be possible and, while slightly complicated, they’ve worked it all out.

How much football must each team play?

The majority of teams have nine games left to play so it may be easy to fit that all into a nine-day window - teams play one game a day.

But shortly before the coronavirus crisis worsened in the UK, Manchester City’s clash with Arsenal and Aston Villa’s game against Sheffield United were postponed, leaving all four teams with 10 games left.

Arsenal FC v Manchester City - Premier League

The solution would be for those four teams to play two matches on the first day - one in the morning and one in the evening.

The postponed Man City vs Arsenal and Villa vs Sheffield United games would be played in the morning and all four would play again in the evening.

Man City would take on Burnley, Arsenal would face Brighton, Villa would play Chelsea and Sheffield United would meet Newcastle.

From then on, the schedule is straightforward. A game a day, according to the current fixture list.

FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-BOURNEMOUTH

Fitness problems would be inevitable, right?

Right.

But it would be manageable.

The average player runs about 11km in a game at the highest-level. So over nine days, that’s 99km, or 110km for Arsenal, City, Villa and Sheffield United players.

Japan’s Nao Kazami is an ultra-marathon runner who holds the world record for 100km at six hours, nine minutes and 14 seconds.

Spread that out over nine days doesn’t seem too bad for Premier League players, who are all elite athletes.

The quality of football would likely dip and they’d be feeling it at the end, but it’s possible to play for nine games straight.

Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

It would be a marathon for fans at home

If 15 minutes for half-time and five minutes in added time are taken into account, then a game of football generally lasts about 110 minutes.

Each regular round of fixtures would feature 10 games a day.

That means if you decide to watch each and every game, you will consume 18 and a third hours of football each day.

On day one, which would feature 12 games, you’d watch 22 straight hours of football.

Best make sure you’re comfortable and have snacks and beers in.

Chelsea FC v Aston Villa - Premier League

Where would games be played?

It would be impossible for teams to travel home and away on a daily basis, so using the most convenient stadiums in the country makes sense.

The Mail believe the Midlands would be the best setting for games as there are three stadiums relatively close to each other - Leicester’s King Power, Wolves’ Molineux and Aston Villa’s Villa Park.

Matches would be played on a 4-3-3 basis - four at one ground each day and three at the other two, with the ground staging four games rotating daily.

Leicester City v Everton FC - Premier League

How many pundits would be required?

Neville and Jamie Carragher are the best in the business but they couldn’t cover 10 matches in a single day.

The Mail suggest having five pundits for each Premier League team, so fans don’t see the same faces every single day.

That means 100 different pundits would be required. Seems excessive.

Manchester City v West Ham United - Premier League

Any standout days?

Day one would feature Tottenham against Manchester United, the Merseyside derby and Arsenal and Man City in action twice.

Not bad, huh?

On day two, Liverpool will try to secure the title against Crystal Palace, which also sees Spurs against West Ham, City against Chelsea and United against Sheffield United.

Day three would see Jurgen Klopp’s side face City and the north London derby would take place - in Leicester - on day five.

The number of matches being played would likely reduce the impact of the big games, but still, nobody’s complaining.

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