Boss Manuel Pellegrini rested the likes of Alvaro Negredo, Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri for City's second game inside three days, and ultimately, it was one of his changes, Edin Dzeko, who struck the winner midway through the first half following a Jesus Navas cross.
It had been a frustrating afternoon for Dzeko and his teammates up until then, but ultimately, they were grateful to goalkeeper Joe Hart for making fine saves on Jason Puncheon, Mile Jedinak and Joel Ward.
It is to Palace's eternal credit that they kept going and refused to be on the end of the kind of hammering that many had predicted, with boss Tony Pulis doubtless left delighted by the effort and commitment shown by his side.
City took the points, though, and as they go two points clear at the top of the table, they'll be eyeing a golden year in 2014.
Here are six lessons learned from the Etihad: