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Pritchard was so nearly the hero for Canaries at Leeds as match sharpness returns

PUBLISHED: 10:13 17 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:13 17 December 2017

Norwich City forward Alex Pritchard takes aim from distance - and hits the top of the crossbar - in their defeat to Leeds United at Elland Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Norwich City forward Alex Pritchard takes aim from distance - and hits the top of the crossbar - in their defeat to Leeds United at Elland Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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Our latest Norwich City player watch followed the fortunes of fit-again playmaker Alex Pritchard, who went close to an equaliser on three occasions during Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Leeds.

It was the 24-year-old’s second successive start since returning from his pre-season ankle injury, having played a starring role in last week’s 3-1 home win over Sheffield Wednesday.

Here’s how his afternoon unfolded at Elland Road...

Alex Pritchard

3 – Harrison Reed intercepts and gets Pritchard forward, crosses from the right for Nelson Oliveira but Liam Cooper heads clear.

9 – Helps Marco Stiepermann keep possession before trying to slip Oliveira down the left but Pontus Jansson intercepts.

11 – Jansson pulls Pritchard back as they jostle to meet an Angus Gunn clearance, free-kick is wasted though.

16 – Wonderful pass from Mario Vrancic into the left channel but former Tottenham man doesn’t have the pace and fouls Ezgjan Alioski trying to keep possession.

17 – Superb touch to control wayward kick from Leeds keeper Felix Weidwald, cuts inside Ronaldo Vieira and curls low shot which the keeper holds easily.

22 – Dances away from two markers and hits a ball over the top which Marley Watkins chases but is unable to reach.

23 – Important defensive work, helps out Reed on the edge of the City box and then bails out Vrancic as he loses possession.

25 – Puts his foot on the ball under pressure and spreads right to Watkins to start move which ends with Pinto firing a shot across goal.

34 – Combines well with James Maddison, Oliveira flicks into the box, Maddison shimmies but Kalvin Phillips makes excellent saving tackle.

37 – Fouled by Kemar Roofe on the right after an Ivo Pinto pass put him into a difficult position.

46 – Loses possession in midfield with a wayward pass trying to set Maddison away.

48 – Watkins crosses from the left, Pritchard controls and Wiedwald makes a good save to keep out his rising shot.

58 – Nice flick from Reed allows Pritchard to push ahead but Oliveira’s touch is poor and move breaks down.

62 – Spins away from Phillips and Ronaldo Vieira, combines with Vrancic, who crosses to the right and Pinto’s weak shot is held by the keeper.

73 – Hits the bar with a looping shot, turning on a fine Maddison pass, but is furious that a corner isn’t given as felt it deflected off Alioski.

75 – Adjudged to have handled the ball on halfway.

76 – Oliveira spreads right and Pinto held back by Alioski, free-kick squared by Maddison and Pritchard hits fine shot which Wiedwald sprawls to prevent going into the top-left corner.

87 – Tees up a shot from 30 yards but it’s well over.

Verdict: Good to have such an influential player available again, although still finding full match fitness and sharpness. Sure to play a pivotal role in City’s attack for the remainder of the campaign but just couldn’t force the issue on this occasion, with Wiedwald twice denying him with good saves.

Rating: 7 out of 10

• Catch up with all the post-match reaction and analysis at pinkun.com/live

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