Everton attempted to put behind them the bitter disappointment of a defeat which has handed Arsenal an advantage in the chase for the fourth Champions League position, by announcing a two-year contract extension for goalkeeper Tim Howard.
The 35-year-old's performances in a campaign which has seen Everton register a record Premier League points haul have erased the impression he might be quickly eclipsed by Joel Robles, who manager Roberto Martinez brought across from Wigan Athletic, where the Spaniard was on loan last summer.
The American's new deal extends his Everton career by up to four years and means he could become only the fourth player in the club's history to make 500 first team outings. His appearance in the 3-2 defeat by Crystal Palace – which left Everton a point behind Arsenal – was his 343rd.
Martinez said Howard had been the best goalkeeper in the Premier League this season. "It is fantastic news," the Spaniard said. "To have Tim performing as he has been this season, I cannot see past him to choose the best keeper in the league.
"I am extremely proud of Tim's achievements for the club. On top of his goalkeeping, it's his personality in the dressing room. He is a strong leader."
Martinez said he expected Howard to play beyond the age of 40. "Being a goalkeeper is not like being an outfield player," he said. "Tim is very fit. I know he will play on beyond 40. He is at the peak of his powers."