Whilst browsing YouTube for videos to improve my defending, I found this clip (http://youtu.be/qAKjk_reTQ0) by ProgressiveSoccer. Very good tips and it addresses many problems I personally witness on the field on a regular basis. Watch the video. For those who have run out of data for the month, I have listed out what I felt were key points of the video.
Close down your Mark
ALWAYS close down your mark. Regardless of whether he is skilful, or a dumbass, close him down. Never stand too far off him as this gives him time to think and choose the best option available. CLOSE him down until you are at an arm's length away, then slow down to prevent yourself being wrong footed by his drag backs or change in directions.
Anticipate, not React
To make your life easier, anticipate. Don't wait for your mark to receive the ball before reacting. See the ball being passed, and go. Best case is to reach him just as he receives the ball, putting additional pressure on him to control the ball perfectly. A heavy touch, and you're there to dispossess him.
Stick to your Mark like Velcro
If your mark turns his back to you to shield the ball, spoon him. Don't worry about looking gay. Stick your body into his back and make sure he knows you're there. Force him forward. Not illegally, but let him know you're a strong defending type. Make him do the added work of having to hold you off AND keep the ball.
A common mistake is to try and poke the ball away from the side. A decent player will have options to either accelerate away on your strong side, or wrong foot you by going the other way.
Be like Velcro. Give him only 1 option and even then, make him work for it.
Did I mention stick to his back like Velcro?
Get yourself closer to the Ground
When you are Velcro-ing your mark, stay low. It lowers your CG, allowing you to turn faster and/or accelerate faster. If he nutmegs you, you will still reach the ball faster if you're on your toes. Remember, as a defender, stay strong, stay intense. Don't straighten up or there's a chance your striker is gonna make you land on your ass. Like how Demichelis was made to sit on the floor doing a yoga pose by young Rashford's change of direction in the Manchester Derby on the sunday of 20 March 2016.
Go in Hard
When you see your mark lose concentration, or an opportunity for you to take the ball opens up, go for the kill. And go in hard. 100%. Don't be afraid to dish out some body to body contact. This is to ensure that even if you did not get full contact of the ball, your mark will be off balanced and be nowhere near to take advantage. If he manages to hold you off, you are screwed. Even worse, a half-f*^£ed tackle could result with you getting injured.
"More often than not you will win the ball just by staying in front of him."