Watch: Nemanja Matic avoids red for stamp on Chelsea’s Reece James

Chelsea and England defender Reece James

Chelsea’s Reece James and Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic were involved in an off the ball altercation during the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

The flashpoint between the two players happened in the 66th minute with the scores level at 1-1 – Marcos Alonso opened the scoring before Cristiano Ronaldo equalised for United.

In typical James fashion, the England international marauded forward before attempting to pick out a team-mate with one of his signature crosses.

But Matic sniffed out the danger to block the delivery behind for a corner. With James face down on the turf after being knocked off balance, the former Chelsea man appeared to stamp on the back of the 22-year-old’s leg.

James quickly bounced up from the ground and squared up to the towering midfielder as the two temporarily pushed and shoved each other before tempers simmered down.

Matic can perhaps count himself lucky that VAR didn’t intervene and show him his marching orders. Although, in a way, it’s good to see a bit of bite between two of the Premier League’s heavyweights.

Despite Chelsea looking certain to secure a Champions League spot and potentially win an FA Cup this season, it’s been a much less successfully campaign for the Red Devils.

They’re unlikely to finish in the top four, but they do have Erik ten Hag coming in as manager in the summer.

“I strongly believe that there is a lot of things that can become better and will become better with a new manager and hopefully with some new players, with some fresh energy in that squad,” Interim boss Ralf Rangnick said ahead of match against the Blues.

“With this group of new players and the quality of players that are already here, together with the new manager, I am very positive that next season will be a lot better.”

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