Prince of defenders, Vincent Kompany, played his first match since being out injured since October, while midfielder Fabian Delph also returned after two months out.
And with Sergio Aguerro likely to be fit in a week, there is a familiar menace about Pep Guadiola’s line-up.
There was a satisfying symmetry of ability and aggression spread over 90 minutes that was far too much for struggling Crystal Palace to deal with in this fourth round tie.
Kompany relished his return, saying: “It wasn’t just a relief to get through a game without being injured, it was something more, the basic reasons I play football.
“I grew up as a kid wanting to play and I got a chance. It is all I have ever wanted to do the basic reasons for enjoying the game. So I was determined I would, despite all the set backs.
“I am a fighter, I will not give up, I just wanted to go on playing. I did not have much preparation for this game, but I knew how to deal with it and to handle a comeback after 13 seasons.
Vincent Kompany is delighted at ending his Manchester City injury hell
Fabian Delph also starred for Manchester City at Selhurst Park
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“The more I play, the better I will be and I can trust myself to do what is right. After all there are few moves that players do that I haven’t seen or dealt, or thought about.”
Kompany was first injured at Selhurst Park a year ago, and has had a nightmare 12 months.
He said: “I didn’t bother me that I was returning to a ground where everything first started to go wrong for me.
“But I keep going, I fight on until the next step. Mentally I am very ready to play two games a week, whether the manager agrees to that I shall have to wait and see.”
Delph, meanwhile, added industry and aggression to a performance that suggests so long as he stays fit, he stays in the side.
Raheem Sterling scored as Manchester City booked their place in the FA Cup fifth round
With vital players coming back, City, in fifth place in the Premier League, could presssure Arsenal in second.
Guardiola said: “Vincent is such an important player for us, him returning is one of the better things about today. The medical team have done an exceptional job on him.”
For Palace, there is growing pressure of a different kind. They face Bournemouth tomorrow and Sunderland, who are currently bottom, on Saturday and Eagles manager Sam Allardyce: “When we get on the training ground, I am going to bore the pants off my players. They will learn they must defend as a collective unit.
“That’s where we are struggling, my total frustration is with the defence, and they way we are leaking goals.”