Saturday’s eagerly awaited Etihad derby promises to be an extra-special occasion for David Silva.

With our Spanish maestro departing at the end of the season, it means the 179th match-up between Manchester’s blue and red tribes will be last time Silva graces the Etihad pitch for a Premier League showdown with our arch-rivals.

From a slow burn derby introduction at the onset of his City career – a cagey goalless Etihad draw in the Autumn of 2010 – match-ups with United have more often than not brought out Silva’s magisterial best.

In 17 meetings to date over the past nine years, the 32-year-old has conjured up four goals, four assists and a lifetime of memories to cherish.

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In the Premier League alone, from 14 appearances against the Reds, Silva has played a pivotal part in eight wins, drawing once and losing out on five occasions.

Fans and team-mates alike would all concur that Silva’s impact on the showpiece fixture has been little short of immense.

From his stunning assist for Edin Dzeko’s final goal in our iconic 6-1 win at Old Trafford in October 2011 to crucial goals in our derby successes in at Old Trafford 2017 and the Etihad last November, El Mago has regularly helped light the derby blue touch paper.

Amidst the frenzy and white-hot heat that always surrounds the game, the Spaniard’s ice-cool intelligence has often proved a defining factor in shaping the outcome.

And reflecting last year on the importance of the derby and his own illustrious personal back-story against United, Silva revealed it was a fixture that never fails to fire his own competitive juices.

“We know the derby is important for the fans and us too as when you win, it gives you a morale boost,” Silva declared.

“Every derby match is different, just like every season is different. You can see that regardless of what position either side is in the table.

“I have scored in some recent games, but it is not all about scoring - it is about having a great game.

“Taking the three points is the most important thing… if you score or assist that’s a bonus.

“The most important thing is the three points and to make ourselves and the fans happy with our performance.”

Of course there have been a number of stand-out derby wins in Silva’s nine years at the Club– with our 1-0 FA Cup semi-final win over United in April 2011 and that equally dramatic 1-0 league win at the Etihad in May 2012 - which set up our first Premier League title - both many a firm favourite with fans.

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Silva has also found the net at opportune moments – bagging a poacher’s opener in our 2-1 win away to United in December 2017 which set up a 2-1 win and dispatching a stunning strike to help inspire last November’s superb 3-1 Etihad triumph over the Reds.

But reminiscing on his own rich derby history, Silva admitted it was that 6-1 victory away United in October 2011 - another derby where he found the target – that resonated most strongly with him.

Typically humble, he also sought to play down the stunning instinctive 30 yard half-volleyed pass that split the United defence asunder and put Dzeko in the clear to round off one of the most incredible days in derby history.

“There are many memories because we have won a lot of games and I have been lucky enough to score some myself,” Silva added last year.

“Vinny’s goal was really important. That game was key in that we went on to win the title. But the 6-1, for the fact that it was at Old Trafford, too, was probably even more important. That was one of those games that goes down in history.

“The 6-1 game will go down in history. We had a great game and scored some great goals. It will be there forever.

“It was an uncommon assist that’s why its remembered but Edin did very well to score that goal.

“I think that was a turning point - winning 6-1 at United.”

Now Silva and the Blues will be striving to serve up another moment of magic to help create the latest unforgettable chapter in our derby history. 

Silva’s derby record

(City score first)

2010/11: 0-0 h, 1-2 a, 1-0 (FA Cup semi-final)

2011/12: 6-1 a, 1-0 h, 2-3 h (FA Cup), 2-3 (Community Shield)

2012/13: 2-3 h. 2-1 a

2013/14: 3-0 a

2014/15: 2-4 a

2015/16: 0-1 h

2016/17: 2-1 a

2017/18: 2-1 a, 2-3 h

2018/19: 3-1 h, 2-0 a