It is not enough for football teams to have players who are great in possession as it is just as important for them to have individuals who are adept at reading the game and winning the ball back.
The defensive side of football is just as important as the attacking bit of it, even though the plaudits usually end up being showered on the ones who do the latter. Players who can read the opposition's movements and get in a position to halt attacks before they can prosper into anything threatening are of crucial to a football team.
To make interceptions, a player needs to have good footballing intelligence. He needs to be able to anticipate the opposition's next move before it is in motion. These are the kind of players who end up being difference-makers as they are the ones who facilitate the transition from defence into attack.
Without further ado, let's take a look at five players who have the most interceptions in the Premier League this season (2020/21).
#5 Harry Maguire (Manchester United) - 59 interceptions
The Manchester United captain is one of those players who gets a lot of unwarranted criticism. While his one-on-one defending might be a little suspect, Harry Maguire's all-round game is quite impressive. He is a dominant force in the air and has a particularly good reading of the game.
There have been several instances where he has stepped in to make an interception and helped transform his team from defence to attack thanks to his ability to read the course of the opposition's attacks.
Manchester United are deadly on the counter attack and as such, Maguire's role at the back as someone who halts the flow of play is crucial. The Manchester United captain has also showcased incredible fitness levels and wants to start every match across all competitions. He has made 59 interceptions from 33 Premier League appearances this season.
#4 Matthew Cash (Aston Villa) - 59 interceptions
Aston Villa have had a surprisingly good season after surviving the drop by the skin of their teeth last time around. Several players have stepped up and Matty Cash is one among those individuals who have really made a difference for Dean Smith's men this term.
The 23-year-old, who joined Aston Villa from Nottingham Forest last summer for a sum reported to be around £16 million, has been doing a great job at right-back.
Cash has made a whopping 59 interceptions from 25 Premier League appearances and is a thorn in the neck of opposition attackers due to his ability to anticipate what's going to happen next around him.