This Premier League season is looking like being one of the most competitive in years, with as many as eight sides harbouring ambitions of a top four finish.
Liverpool's challenge many would argue has already been dealt a significant blow, failing to win in their first four games, but with 34 remaining, anything can happen.
A safe gambler would bet on Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal filling the top four spots, so the challengers need to keep their act together and apply the pressure.
So neither Everton or Newcastle will want to repeat Liverpool's record of two losses in their opening four games, which is what faces the loser of tonight's contest.
Whoever loses will bounce back of course, but after both clubs recorded impressive opening weekend wins, just one win recorded between them since them applies the pressure.
Newcastle beat Tottenham 2-1 in their opener, but were beaten by Chelsea and then drew with Aston Villa, leaving them on four points, while Everton beat Villa but lost to West Brom.
A draw would not be a bad result for either side, but the winner will take real impetus. It is a real six-pointer, and one Newcastle especially will not want to lose.
The Toon were last season's surprise package, finishing fifth and pushing all the way for a Champions League spot until the final two games, which included a last day loss at Goodison Park.
If Everton can replicate that victory tonight, they will seize the initiative as perhaps the biggest threat to crashing into the top four, behind Tottenham,
Newcastle have the Europa League as a distraction too, and can ill-afford further dropped points tonight, leaving them with an uphill task in the league combined with their heavy fixture schedule.
So who are the key players to watch tonight? It may sound a tad predictable to tag Marouane Fellaini here, but with Cheik Tiote likely to miss the match through injury, the midfield battle on paper at least appears to have been tipped in favour of Everton.
Combined with the home advantage of a pumped up Monday night crowd, Everton will fancy their chances of a win.
Key to Newcastle's chances are their Senegalese strikers. Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse were freescoring last season, at different times, but neither have hit it off this season.
Ba scored the winner in their opener against Spurs, but neither have found the net since, and their matches have been turned by the irresistable Hatem Ben Arfa.
A skilful player renowned for producing moments of magic, he could just reignite the spark in Newcastle's season, and set them back onto the path for a charge at the top four.
If it is Everton who bag the win, after defeating United's of both Newcastle and Manchester at home, they will certainly begin dreaming that a sustained run can see them repeat the Toon's efforts last year, and even go one better.
For both teams, this match is pivotal to their season's start, and that is why a victory for both is so desperately required.
What are your predictions for tonight's match? Who will get the win?
image: © zachleat