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With a 5-3 aggregate lead heading into stoppage time at the Santiago Bernabeu, Manchester City were seemingly on course to reach their second successive Champions League final and set up an all-English showdown with Liverpool.
The Citizens could have put the tie to bed had Jack Grealish found the net with two glorious chances in the closing stages, but those missed opportunities – along with the plethora of squandered chances missed in the first leg – proved costly as a calamitous collapse in stoppage time saw Real Madrid level the tie courtesy of a late Rodrygo brace, before Karim Benzema netted from the penalty spot in extra time to send City crashing out in heartbreaking fashion.
City’s painful wait for Champions League glory goes on, but Pep Guardiola, his players and the fans have no other option but to rise from the canvas and turn their focus to the Premier League title race, as they bid to end the season on a high with domestic success.
At the time of writing, the Citizens are positioned at the summit, sitting one point clear of quadruple-chasing Liverpool in second, and victory in each of their final four league fixtures will see them crowned as champions for the fourth time in five years.
City will be confident of success on Sunday as they have lost only one of their last 28 league games against Newcastle, winning each of their last 12 on home soil in the process.
Guardiola’s men have had no problems finding the net in the Premier League, scoring 16 times in their last five outings. City have also scored 17 in their last five league encounters against the Magpies so they will be hoping for more joy in front of goal this weekend.
Man City duo Kyle Walker and John Stones are both doubtful with respective ankle and muscle injuries; the former was withdrawn midway through the second half against Real Madrid while the latter did not travel to the Spanish capital.
Joao Cancelo started at left-back in midweek, but he could switch over to the right if Walker misses out, with either Nathan Ake or Oleksandr Zinchenko to operate on the left.
Kevin De Bruyne – who has scored nine of his 11 Premier League goals at the Etihad this term, is expected to start in midfield alongside Rodri and Bernardo Silva, though Fernandinho and Ilkay Gundogan will also be pushing to start.
Out of the three City attackers who started in Madrid, Phil Foden is seemingly the most likely candidate to keep his place, while Raheem Sterling and Grealish will be hoping to displace Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus.
As for Newcastle, they will be without Ryan Fraser, Isaac Hayden, Jamal Lewis and Fabian Schar due to injury, the latter of whom was forced off against Liverpool with an ankle problem.
Jamaal Lascelles is set to replace Schar and partner Dan Burn in the heart of the defence, joining full-backs Emil Krafth and Matt Targett in the back four.
Kieran Trippier has been sidelined with a fractured foot since February, but the former Man City youngster has returned to training this week and could be involved in the matchday squad on Sunday.
Callum Wilson has also returned to training this week, following a four-month injury layoff, and although the 30-year-old striker has stated that he is “fully charged” for the remaining fixtures of this season, it remains to be seen whether Howe will throw him straight into the first XI, with either Joelinton or Chris Wood more likely to lead the line at the Etihad.
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Jonjo Shelvey, Bruno Guimaraes and Joe Willock all started in centre-midfield against Liverpool last time out, and the trio could retain their places at the Etihad, while Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron are set to start again on the flanks.
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Dias, Laporte, Zinchenko; Bernardo, Rodri, De Bruyne; Sterling, Foden, Grealish
Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Dubravka; Krafth, Lascelles, Burn, Targett; Willock, Shelvey, Guimaraes; Almiron, Joelinton, Saint-Maximin