MARTIN SAMUEL'S 5 POINTS: If you're picking Manchester United for the Premier League title, watch out for the prediction police… plus Arsenal's Per Mertesacker, captain, leader, leg injury


Why are our footballers almost always rubbish and our athletes world class? I ask this all the time but in less words than Martin Samuel. BobW, United Kingdom.

No, Bob you ask it in fewer words than Martin Samuel. ‘Words’ is plural and ‘words’ can also be counted. So you write ‘fewer’ words; not ‘less’. And that’s probably just as well because, rotten grammar aside, I try to come up with answers rather than just pose questions. Asking questions is the easy part, Bob. Any doofus can ask questions. Answers, that’s the key to it. And I don’t always have them, but I try. So when I drew the comparison between England’s failing footballers and Great Britain’s successful Olympians, it wasn’t enough to point out that one group wins and the other loses because we can all see that. If there is an identifiable explanation it is likely to be more complex than can be laid out in a newspaper…


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