Everton play host to Chelsea on Saturday knowing that three points will take the club into eighth spot in the Premier League table and extend Sam Allardyce's unbeaten start at Goodison Park to six matches.
Chelsea make the trip to Merseyside sitting comfortably in third position, but an away victory over the Toffees would take the West Londoners level on points with second-placed Manchester United.
Before the start of the campaign, Everton would have had ambitions to finish inside the top six of the standings in May and even though the club endured a miserable couple of months under Ronald Koeman, they can still achieve their target come the end of the campaign.
That theory would have seemed far-fetched several weeks ago but Allardyce has instigated a turnaround which can leave Everton no more than six points adrift of either Liverpool or Arsenal come 2.40pm on Saturday afternoon, providing that the Toffees are able to overcome Chelsea.
Everton remain the underdogs but with Allardyce at the helm, there is now belief that points can be earned against the division's top clubs. The 1-1 draw in the Merseyside derby was somewhat fortuitous but it was proof that Allardyce is relishing the chance to come up with a formula to upstage some of the top flight's most illustrious clubs.
That said, it still remains very early days for Allardyce. The former England boss cannot be faulted for registering four victories from his first five games in all competitions, but the standard has now been set and pessimism has been transformed into excitement in barely a month.
Everton's next five league fixtures include Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur - as well as trips to West Bromwich Albion and Bournemouth - and there is a need to maintain the team's momentum heading into those matches over the Christmas and New Year period.
A rejuvenated Wayne Rooney will no doubt need to add to his 10 league goals this season, but the likes of Ashley Williams and Gylfi Sigurdsson also have a duty to continue their improvements in form after a below-par start to the season.
Recent form: LWWDWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWDWW
Chelsea are probably too far away from leaders Manchester City to mount any sort of a challenge for the league title, but Antonio Conte's side are performing efficiently enough to suggest that they are keen to finish no lower than second place by the end of the campaign.
The 1-0 defeat at West Ham United could have led to the Blues faltering throughout December but three wins in a row in all competitions has gotten Conte's men back on track ahead of a crucial stage of the season.
Last weekend's 1-0 triumph over Southampton was not pretty - neither was the narrow success against Bournemouth in the EFL Cup on Wednesday - but Chelsea have now won 11 of their last 15 matches in all competitions, with two draws also coming against Liverpool and Atletico Madrid during that period.
Conte will still need to be smart with rotating his players in the coming weeks - even though home games with struggling Brighton & Hove Albion and Stoke City follow Saturday's visit to Merseyside - but most of the Italian's players are match fit and ready to contribute.
Andreas Christensen has been a major plus for Chelsea - especially in the absence of David Luiz - but Willian and Pedro have been influential in attack over the past month at a time when neither Alvaro Morata nor Michy Batshuayi have been producing on a consistent basis in front of goal.
That said, it remains very much a team effort with Conte effectively having 17 outfield players at his disposal, without including the injured Luiz, but that togetherness could play into their favour if they continue to churn out results.
Recent form: DWWLWW
Recent form (all competitions): WDLWWW
Chelsea will have to make do without Morata due to the Spaniard picking up his fifth booking of the season after netting the winner against Bournemouth.
Luiz is again likely to be absent as he continues to nurse a knee problem, while Charly Musonda will only be selected on the bench if he has recovered from injury
Allardyce is unlikely to tinker with the team which began the 3-1 victory over Swansea City on Monday night.
Everton possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Kenny, Holgate, Williams, Martina; Gueye, Schneiderlin, Lennon, Rooney, Sigurdsson; Calvert-Lewin
Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill; Moses; Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Fabregas, Pedro, Hazard
Head To Head
Saturday's encounter will represent the 179th meeting between the two sides in a competitive match, with Chelsea claiming 72 victories in comparison to 54 wins for Everton.
Everton have enjoyed their fair share of success over Chelsea in recent years, with five wins and a draw coming over a 13-match spell between 2011 and 2016, but that came to an end when Ronald Koeman replaced Roberto Martinez.
We say: Everton 1-1 Chelsea
Allardyce would love to get the better of a top-three side at Goodison Park, but expect the veteran boss to devise a plan to nullify Chelsea in attack over pushing for the three points. It should be a tight game on Merseyside, and we expect the home team to earn a share of the spoils.