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Will Gary Neville's nine day PL festival of football be possible?

  /  autty

There is no indication of when the coronavirus crisis might let up – and, worryingly, it could come back with very little notice once the situation has been resolved.

Inevitably, this causes massive problems for the Premier League. The season has currently been postponed until after April 30 and while fixtures could begin again, they might be curtailed.

Gary Neville jokingly suggested a solution last week: 'The last thing I'm worried about is sorting out fixtures. If footballers need to play every day for nine days they'd do it – would be a festival of football for two weeks where everything finished in two weeks. It could be spectacular - it could bring some joy back to the nation.'

That would give Liverpool a chance to wrap up the title and Manchester United, Chelsea, Wolves and Sheffield United an opportunity to nab fourth spot.

Given the possible time limits on coronavirus returning, it might make sense to try and force it all through as quickly as possible.

But could the entire season be played over nine days? What would it mean for fans? How would clubs cope?

Sportsmail has taken a – slightly less than serious – look at how it could all be played if Neville's idea is adopted by the Premier League.

How much football would each team have to play?

Well, it might seem simple on the surface. There are nine days and for the majority of teams, they have nine matches left to play.

That would suggest it would be as simple as Neville suggested – asking each player to play one game a day.

But that ignores the fact that shortly before the entire league was suspended, Manchester City's clash with Arsenal was postponed due to the beginnings of the coronavirus crisis.

Aston Villa's clash with Sheffield United was also delayed earlier in the month, giving those four teams a game in-hand.

That means four teams would need to find a way to slot an extra match into the schedule. Given those games were meant to be earlier in the Premier League calendar, it would only be fair for them to be up first.

On the first day, then, expect to see Manchester City face Arsenal and Aston Villa play Sheffield United early in the morning, before City take on Burnley in the evening.

As the night wears on, Arsenal would meet Brighton, Villa's second game would come against Chelsea and Sheffield United would face Newcastle.

From then on, the schedule would be relatively simple. A game a day, according to the fixture list as it stands.

Surely this would cause some fitness problems?

Well, yes. Although it could be manageable.

The average player runs about 11km in a game of top level football these days. That means over the course of the nine days, they'd do 99km – or in the case of Arsenal, City, Villa and Sheffield United, 110km.

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

Spread that distance out over nine days and it seems easy enough for the elite athletes of the Premier League.

There might be some tired legs by day nine, and the quality of the football might dip off a little bit – or a lot – but it is definitely within the realms of possibility that they could play a game a day for nine days straight.

Would it be a marathon for fans at home too?

You'll have to strap yourselves in. Not that you'll have much on given the current state of the world.

While a game of football officially takes 90 minutes, that varies usually.

If we assume there is about a minute of added time at the end of every first half and about four for the second – with 15 minutes for half-time in the middle – then a game of football generally lasts about 110 minutes.

The schedule, assuming it would be a regular round of Premier League fixtures, would be 10 games a day.

That means that if you decide to sit down and watch the festival on a daily basis, you will consume 18 and a third hours of football from the comfort of your couch.

Not only that, but on day one – when there would have to be 12 matches played – would require 22 hours straight of watching football.

If you're worried about fatigue among the players, those watching at home might need to be considered too.

Where would the games take place?

Logistically, it would be impossible for every team to go home and away on a daily basis. Not only that, but it is unlikely that games will be able to be played in any situation but behind closed doors in the near future.

As a result, it makes sense to hold games at the most convenient stadiums in the country.

After some thorough analysis – consulting a map – Sportsmail has cottoned onto the Midlands as the best place to hold the games.

There are three stadiums relatively close to each other – Leicester's King Power, Molineux and Villa Park. Stick the players in a few hotels near there and it would be easy enough.

Teams would have to isolate, not interact with anyone from the outside and dressing rooms would have to be deep cleaned between each game.

As a result, matches should take place on a 4-3-3 basis. There would be four at one ground every day and three at the other two, with the most-used ground rotating daily.

On the day with two extra games, there would have to be four at each stadium.

How many pundits would you need?

Ah, the question we were all waiting for.

At the MailOnline, we have a proud record of covering every Premier League game live. So this is at the forefront of our thoughts – especially the poor soul who ends up having to do 22 hours straight for one shift.

On television, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher would obviously be the stars of the show, but even they cannot cover 10 (or 12) different Premier League games every single day.

As a rule, Premier League games generally have a pundit for each team. That means 20 on a normal day during the festival of football.

But fans would get sick of seeing the same faces every single day for the same teams, so we should work on the basis that each pundit should only cover about a fifth of a team's games.

Each team therefore needs five. We'll let City, Villa, Arsenal and the Blades' man on the first day double up.

Across the league, then, there will need to be 100 different pundits. That's dipping quite far into the reserves of the Premier League. Does anyone have Xisco's number?

Any standout days?

We thought you'd never ask. Day one, with Spurs against United, the Merseyside derby and some players being forced to run 22km sounds fun.

Liverpool will then hope to wrap up the title against Crystal Palace on day two, which also features Spurs against West Ham, Chelsea against City and a tasty Champions League clash between United and Sheffield United.

Day three would see the Reds face City, while day five would include the north London derby – held in Leicester, obviously – while day six involves Arsenal facing Liverpool.

The final day would see Leicester host Manchester United and Everton face Bournemouth in the last game.

Sounds incredible, doesn't it? Gary – if you fancy pitching this, just give us a ring.