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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

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Vlaar: We're not safe yet

Ron Vlaar has followed up his stunning first goal for Aston Villa by warning that the club have to stay on the boil for their three remaining games.

• Brassell: Villa find inner Di Canio

Villa's 6-1 annihilation of Sunderland last night dragged the Wearsiders back into the mire and also had Newcastle looking over their shoulders after they, too, were on the end of a six-goal beating at the weekend.

But the skipper insists the side have to keep their foot on the pedal as Wigan, who they have to visit on the last day, can still close to within two points by winning their (home) match in hand.

"It's not over yet," he warned. "We must carry on. Our next game is on Saturday and we want to win that as well. We want to win every game."

Villa go to manager Paul Lambert's last club Norwich in four days' time before ending their home programme against Chelsea the following Saturday.

They will be looking for a neighbourly helping hand when Wigan visit West Brom at the weekend, Roberto Martinez's side then having Swansea at home and Arsenal away on successive Tuesdays either side of their FA Cup final against Manchester City.

Villa have won five and drawn one of ten games since early February, though, and scored 22 goals in their last 11 matches – statistics that will encourage them that they can bring their survival mission to a successful conclusion.

"We could do great things, as we did against Sunderland," the Dutchman added. "To win 6-1 is very good for us.

"We have had to work hard for this because at the end of last year, we conceded a lot of goals. All the strikers have done well... Christian scored, Gabby scored, Andreas scored. It's great for the confidence."

Benteke's whirlwind hat-trick against Paolo Di Canio's chastened team means he now has 22 goals to his credit in a remarkable debut season in England. He has also netted five times in Belgian football, either for the national team or his former club Genk.

But he was upstaged last night, at least in the spectacular-finish stakes, by Vlaar himself, whose breakthrough goal for the club came from close on 35 yards with the score at 0-0.

"I don't think I have to say what Chris has done for us this season," the central defender said. "He has scored so many goals, he is so strong and we can always give the ball to him. He's very important to us.

"I heard the crowd shouting for me to shoot and I had to go for it on the wet pitch because my touch was good. Luckily, it went in, so that was very good for us."

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