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AFC Bournemouth sign Christian Atsu on loan

AFC Bournemouth have their continued Barclays Premier League preparations with the season long loan signing of Christian Atsu from Chelsea, subject to Premier League approval.

The Ghana international, who signed for the Blues in September 2013, operates as a winger, although he can also play as an attacking midfielder.

Since joining the Premier League champions, Atsu has gained experience out on loan with Everton and Vitesse.

Collecting almost 40 caps for his country since his debut in 2012, he has played in the 2014 World Cup and was selected for two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments for Ghana.

The midfielder started his professional career in Portugal with Porto, where he was coached by former Chelsea and Tottenham manager Andre Villas Boas.

He continued his development with Rio Ave as he won the club’s player of the season award and attracted the attention of Chelsea.

The London side paid a reported fee of £3.5million for Atsu and offered him a five-year contract, with the chance to impress with Vitesse in the Eredivisie.

On his return to England 12 months ago, he agreed a loan deal to play under Roberto Martinez for Everton in the Premier League and Europa League.

Departing for international duty at the Africa Cup of Nation in January, Atsu was named the player of the tournament following a number of impressive performances.

The 23-year-old will be available to feature for the Cherries in the league, but unable to face his parent club in fixtures at the Goldsands Stadium and Stamford Bridge.

Southampton earn valuable point at Chelsea

Southampton's Dusan Tadic scores his penalty Credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Southampton remain in the hunt for a Champions League place after a 1-1 draw at Chelsea.

Dusan Tadic equalized from the penalty spot after Diego Costa gave Chelsea the lead at Stamford Bridge.

The result has moved Southampton up to sixth position in the Premier League, three points behind fourth place Manchester United who play later against Tottenham Hotspur.

Saints score late winner at Loftus Road

Southampton's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Southampton are third in the Premier League after a late winner at Queens Park Rangers.

Sadio Mane fired a powerful shot into the top corner in the 93rd-minute in a 1-0 win at Loftus Road.

The result means Ronald Koeman's side remain in the Champions League qualifying position, despite last week's disappointing home defeat against Swansea.

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Sunderland players "to refund fans" after team thrashed 8-0 by Southampton

It's being reported that Sunderland’s players will look to reimburse the 2,456 supporters who travelled to Southampton to watch them get thrashed 8-0

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone said he would ask his team-mates to agree to the gesture.

According to The Chronicle Mannone thinks the team owes the fans.

He said: “We should do it because we didn’t put our foot (down), we didn’t work hard."

Photo update: Southampton's Premier League 8-goal thriller leaves home fans elated

Southampton's Dusan Tadic (second right) celebrates scoring his goal with Jack Cork Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire
Southampton's giant display shows the final score, 8-0, after the Barclays Premier League match against Sunderland Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire
Southampton's Victor Wanyama (right) celebrates his goal with team-mates Dusan Tadic (center), Jose Fonte and Morgan Schneiderlin (left) Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire
Sunderland's Santiago Vergini picks the ball from the net behind goalkeeper Vito Mannone after Southampton's Sadio Mane scored his side's eighth goal Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire
Southampton's Sadio Mane scoring his side's eighth goal despite the attentions of Sunderland's Patrick van Aanholt Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Southampton's biggest ever Premier League win

The players celebrate their 8-0 win Credit: PA

Ronald Koeman well and truly disproved the manager of the month award as his Southampton side decimated a woeful Sunderland outfit 8-0.

There is a longheld theory that the boss who collects the monthly accolade slips to defeat in the next game but Saints returned to winning ways with their biggest ever Barclays Premier League win as Graziano Pelle scored twice to seal a memorable week on a personal level.

A goal in either half saw Pelle move onto six Barclays Premier League goals for the season and add to his match-winning Italy debut and player of the month award.

The former Feyenoord striker would have been proud of Vergini's own goal, which opened the floodgates as Southampton inflicted a damaging defeat on Gus Poyet's side.

Sunderland had started the game brightly as they looked to build on their maiden league win against Stoke before the international break but Vergini scored a clinical own goal from the edge of his box to set Southampton on their way to a stunning victory.

Pelle then scored with a tap-in with Jack Cork, brought into midfield in place of Victor Wanyama, killing the game off before the break.

Sunderland then shipped four goals in 16 second-half minutes as a another own goal, courtesy of Liam Bridcutt, was added to by Pelle's second and efforts from Dusan Tadic and Wanyama.

Sadio Mane had been rested following international exertions but came on to add the eighth late on, leaving some Sunderland fans in tears.

Saints may boast the player of the month in Italian striker Pelle but they also have the best defence in English football having conceded a measly five league goals this season.

Sunderland's defence is not as watertight and it starting leaking goals after just 11 minutes as Morgan Schneiderlin eased past Wes Brown, with the ball falling to the edge of the Sunderland box, where Argentina international Vergini thrashed the ball into the corner of his own goal with deadly accuracy.

It did not take the hosts long to double their lead as Steve Davis was released down the left and crossed for Pelle to tap home from close range to continue his impressive form.

Shellshocked Sunderland looked like they might peg their hosts back immediately but goalkeeper Fraser Forster was equal to a well-struck Sebastian Larsson free-kick.

Poyet was left angered when his side were denied what appeared to be a clear penalty as Forster cleaned out Steven Fletcher after the Scotland forward had latched onto Lee Cattermole's through ball - but referee Andre Marriner simply signalled for a goal-kick.

The Uruguayan's mood was not helped as Southampton added their third from the very next attack. Tadic crossed from the left and picked out an unmarked Cork, who got enough on his shot to force it past Vito Mannone.

Pelle should have done better with a chance on the stroke of half-time but cut his effort well wide of goal as Saints continued to dominate.

Southampton came close to extending their lead early in the second half as Shane Long squared to Tadic inside the box, but the Serbia winger saw his shot cleared off the line by Patrick van Aanholt.

The fourth goal duly arrived and it once again came courtesy of a Sunderland own goal as Mannone got a strong hand to a low Pelle shot, only for the ball to squirm over the line off half-time substitute Bridcutt.

The misery continued for Poyet and his players as Pelle soon made it five, slotting home first time having been played in by Tadic - although he did balloon a hat-trick opportunity high and wide soon after.

Tadic was soon on the scoresheet himself as he was gifted possession by a poor Mannone clearance and swept the ball in for his first Premier League goal.

Sunderland were in pieces by this stage and Southampton showed no mercy, adding a seventh just seconds later as substitute Wanyama thrashed an effort past the hapless Mannone.

Still it continued and Mane was the next to get in on the act as the Senegal man hit his first Saints goal, with Tadic again supplying the ammunition from the left flank.

There was to be no record-equalling ninth for the hosts but this was a signal of intent from Koeman's side as they look to prove their impressive start is no flash in the pan, with the huge victory taking them third in the table and leaving Sunderland in abject misery.

Southampton's manager, Ronald Koeman, praises team for winning start to season

Southampton manager, Ronald Koeman, watches his team beat QPR at St Mary's Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Ronald Koeman told Southampton to "take a picture" of the Barclays Premier League table after Graziano Pelle volleyed "one of the goals of the season" to see off QPR.

Saints boss Koeman heaped praise on Pelle's scissor-kick winner as Saints edged out Harry Redknapp's side 2-1 at St Mary's, conceding his surprise at his side's impressive start to the campaign.

Southampton held on to second place thanks to strikes from Pelle and loan man Ryan Bertrand that secured their fourth straight win.

Koeman admitted Southampton have exceeded his pre-season expectations, shaking off Mauricio Pochettino's exit and a raft of player departures.

"I'm a little bit (surprised) by our start yes, because always you have to wait after a lot of changes in the team," said Koeman.

"But we had a good pre-season, we had some difficult moments in the club, a lot of people, even the press was a little bit afraid, with questions about relegation.

"But we know what our qualities are, and little by little we have shown them.

"I'm satisfied with how we're playing. Now we can watch the table tonight and take a picture.

"Then we start again on Tuesday."

Koeman will now hand his Southampton players two days' rest ahead of next weekend's league clash with Tottenham.

Southampton's players turned down a day off on Wednesday in a bid to seize on the good feeling fostered by Tuesday's Capital One Cup victory at Arsenal.

Pelle's acrobatic volley separated the teams on Saturday, the Italian pouncing just moments after Charlie Austin had levelled with an impressive finish for QPR.

Koeman believes there will be few more spectacular Premier League strikes this term than the improvised winner.

"It was a great finish - it will be one of the goals of the season," he said.

"And still it's more important because it made it 2-1.

"I'm happy about his performance from the start of the season, because he has showed his quality and personality.

"He will always keep the ball for the team.

"And that's important for the team in how we play.

"And if you can score like this, you can't do it better."

Rangers boss Redknapp shook off taunts from Southampton fans on his south coast return, owing to his defection from Saints to Portsmouth in 2005.

The ex-Tottenham boss was impressed by Austin's second league goal of the campaign, but admitted his side must sharpen up further in their bid for top-flight stability.

Brazil star Sandro returned after knee trouble only to depart in the opening exchanges due to a heavy blow to the head.

Redknapp allayed fears about any lasting damage, admitting the medics had to remove the holding midfielder as a precaution.

"It was a great finish, he's proved again he can score at this level and that's important and encouraging," said Redknapp.

"We didn't play too badly at all to be honest, but we can still keep improving and we've got to make that progress.

"We were sorry to lose Sandro so early in the game, after a matter of minutes.

"We kept going, kept working, lots to work on and we can keep going.

"He got a bang on the head and the doctor was worried about it.

"He didn't look too bad at half-time, but obviously the doctors have got to err on the side of caution.

"There have been plenty of new directives on head injuries and we just couldn't take any risks at all."

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