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Sunderland 1-3 Arsenal: Ramsey double puts Gunners top (video)

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SUNDERLAND — Arsenal eventually eased to a 3-1 victory over Sunderland after dominating for large spells of the game at the Stadium of Light.

The Gunners took an early lead through Olivier Giroud but squandered several other chances to extend their advantage. They were made to pay for that as Sunderland equalized just after half time when Craig Gardner scored a penalty. But soon after Ramsey scored twice in quick succession to seal Arsenal’s win.

A lively home crowd made the game a spirited affair as Arsenal began to get their passing game going, with the Black Cats looking to hit Jozy Altidore and Steven Fletcher early.

However it was the away team who took the lead in the 10th minute as Mesut Ozil showed everyone why Arsenal spent $60million to sign him from Real Madrid. The German international beautifully teed up Giroud to sweep home from close range and put Arsenal 1-0 up.

Sunderland almost equalized straight away but Modibo Diakite’s 12th minute header cannoned off the bar.

Arsenal came close to adding a second goal twice, as Theo Walcott got in behind Jack Colback but fired his effort straight at Kieren Westwood on both occasions.

And Walcott could have had at least a hat trick as just before the half Wilshere chipped in a perfect cross to the back post but the England winger headed wide. Then shortly after Walcott was thwarted again by Westwood as the ball broke to him in the box.

Sunderland tried to rally as half time approached but the Gunners looked comfortable going in 1-0 up at half time.

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Di Canio is sent away from the dugouts following a spat with the referee.

After the break the home side looked much better and Adam Johnson picked up a loose ball in the box and was taken down by Laurent Koscielny as Sunderland won a penalty. Gardner smashed the spot kick home to make it 1-1 after coming on barely minutes before at half time for James Vaughan.

Sunderland were buoyed by the goal and really took the game to Arsenal with Steven Fletcher scoring, but was ruled offside in the 58th minute and then Gardner’s curling free kick somehow missed everyone before bouncing off the inside of the post and away to safety.

But then Arsenal came roaring back into the game in swashbuckling fashion in the 67th minute when Carl Jenkinson broke down the right and pulled back a ball to Aaron Ramsey, who hit home a spectacular volley on the turn.

Shortly after it looked as if U.S. international Altidore had grabbed another equalizer for Sunderland as he broke free of Bacary Sagna’s challenge before slotting home and the USMNT forward ran off celebrating. However referee Atkinson had pulled the play back for a foul by Sagna on Altidore, even though the Sunderland man clearly had an advantage. The Stadium of Light was incensed with the decision.

Then in the 75th minute Arsenal sealed the win as a lovely flowing move saw Ramsey play a one-two with Giroud and Ozil before slotting the ball home to make it 3-1. The final few minutes  played out with the home side trying to get back into the game but Arsenal managed to hold on to a hard-fought 3-1 win away from home. Their seventh league away win in a row.

Victory sees the Gunners top the league momentarily while Sunderland are still searching for their first win this season, and sit bottom.

LINEUPS

Sunderland: Westwood, Celustka, Colback, Roberge, Diakite, Vaughan (Gardner 46), Mavrias (Borini 71), Ki, Johnson (c), Fletcher (Wickham 77), Altidore. Subs not used: Mannone, Brown, Larsson, Cuellar.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Sagna, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil (Vermaelen 80), Walcott (Monreal 89), Giroud (Akpom 90). Subs not used: Fabianski, Frimpong, Ryo, Gnabry,

Thibaut Courtois committed to Chelsea despite links to PSG

WATFORD, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03:  Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Watford and Chelsea at Vicarage Road on February 3, 2016 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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Thibaut Courtois has denied reports he could leave London for Paris Saint-Germain this summer after a disappointing season at Chelsea.

The 23-year-old goalkeeper missed a large portion of the season through injury and failed to regain his top form when healthy as the Blues struggled throughout the year.

With a new manager in Antonio Conte taking over in June, some believed Courtois would be sold to allow the Italian to bring in a goalkeeper of his choice.

[ MORE: Atletico Madrid reach UCL final ]

Despite recent reports linking Courtois with a transfer to PSG that would make him the most expensive goalkeeper in the world, the Belgian international does not fancy a move to France.

Speaking to French newspaper Le Parisien, Courtois said he is happy at Chelsea and will “100-percent” be back at Stamford Bridge next season.

I have never had any contact with PSG. I have played a lot against PSG recently – twice last season, again this season in a friendly and twice more in the Champions League this year.

They are a good club who win their league easily. Me, I like playing in England. Paris is a very good club but I am happy at Chelsea.

I have a contract for three years, so I will say 100 per cent [be staying at Chelsea]. Rumours affect any club where things are going badly. People think the top players want to leave because they are not in the Champions League.

Those words show quite a change from Courtois’ opinion a few months ago, when he cast doubt over his Chelsea future.

At just 23, Courtois has already made more than 200 appearances in his career for Atletico Madrid and Chelsea. Although he did not have a standout season this year, Courtois has shown his talent as a potential top-five goalkeeper in the world and Conte would be wise to keep him.

Former CONMEBOL president has petition to stop extradition rejected

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ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) Paraguay’s top court has rejected a petition by Nicolas Leoz, the former head of the South American football confederation, to halt his extradition to the United States.

Leoz is being held under house arrest in Paraguay. He is accused of receiving millions in bribes and kickbacks and was among dozens of top officials indicted in the FIFA corruption scandal.

[ FOLLOW: Leicester City’s miracle ]

Leoz’s lawyer Ricardo Preda told The Associated Press that his petition was turned down, but that he would continue to appeal against the extradition.

Leoz was the head of CONMEBOL from 1986 until 2013 when he resigned, and was replaced by Eugenio Figueredo of Uruguay.

Figueredo is under house arrest in Uruguay on similar charges. Figueredo was replaced by Juan Angel Napoul of Paraguay, who is under house arrest in Miami.

Cristiano Ronaldo back healthy for Real Madrid; will play vs. Man City

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 03:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid warms up during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Second Leg between Real Madrid and Manchester City at Valdebebas training ground on May 3, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo is “100-percent” for Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal match against Manchester City.

Ronaldo missed the first leg at the Etihad while recovering from a thigh injury, which ended a scoreless draw.

[ MORE: UCL semifinal preview ]

The Champions League’s all-time leading scorer with 93 goals, Ronaldo has not featured for Real since suffering the injury in a La Liga match against Villarreal on April 20.

Real Madrid had the better of chances in the first leg in Manchester, but Joe Hart’s heroics stopped Zidane’s side from grabbing an all-important away goal. However, Ronaldo’s absence was clearly visible and his return is a massive boost for Real.

[ RELATED: Atletico Madrid eliminate Bayern Munich, advance to UCL final ]

Even if Ronaldo is not 100-percent fit as Zidane claims, his inclusion in the lineup is still vital for Real’s success. A threat in so many different aspects of the game, his presence alone can throw off opposing defenses, leaving more time and space for his teammates to expose a City back-line that has its flaws.

Premier League chairman: Leicester City made mugs of all of us

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 03:  Leicester reacts to Leicester City's Premier League Title Success on May 03, 2016 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
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Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore has been around football for a long time, but even he can’t explain Leicester City’s miraculous title run.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Leicester coverage ]

With the Foxes now officially champions of England, Scudamore hailed the achievement as “the biggest sporting story ever.”

Speaking to BBC Sport, the Premier League’s top exec said Leicester’s run has silenced all the bookmakers and critics who said it could never happen, but that he wouldn’t want it any other way.

It’s probably the biggest sporting story ever and the biggest sporting achievement ever.

Nobody saw it coming and even when it was halfway through the season nobody said it could be sustained.

We don’t know what the future holds because we’ve all become completely hopeless at predicting anything, including the bookmakers and everybody else – because this one nobody saw coming.

It’s made mugs of all of us and that is just the most fantastic feeling.

If the bookmakers had it as a 5,000-1 event, you would imagine you should achieve these type of things once every 5,000 years. It gives us 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years of being able to say: ‘Leicester 2016. Just remember Leicester 2016.’

Pegged as pre-season favorites for relegation, Leicester defied the odds (5,000-1 odds) and claimed the most unlikely of championships. A top executive with the Premier League since 1999, even Scudamore had to admit he had a bit of egg on his face.

[ VOTE: What is the top moment from Leicester’s fairytale run? ]

Scudamore may not have believed in the Foxes, but few outside the city really did. One thing the chairman did have right though, is that we will all remember ‘Leicester 2016.’