After their best performance of the season, the Baggies moved to the top of the table for the first time this season. It was expected to be temporary, but as Leeds, Preston and Swansea all proceeded to drop points, Slaven Bilić’s team remained at the summit at 5pm.
It is the first time this century that Albion have been top after nine games and only Di Matteo’s 2009 side had a better record as they sat in second place at this stage with 20 points behind eventual champions, Newcastle United.
Nine league matches unbeaten from the start of the season matches a club record which has been achieved on two previous occasions.
The first was in the 1953-4 season when Vic Buckingham’s “Team of the Century” took the First Division by storm winning seven of their first nine games before eventually succumbing to defeat at home to Charlton Athletic in their tenth match. Ultimately, they missed out on the first League and Cup double of the 20th century by four points with Wolves going on to claim the title.
The second occasion was somewhat less auspicious. Brian Little’s 1999 side won two and drew seven of their opening nine games before losing at home to Walsall in their tenth. It took the intervention of Gary Megson and a last day win over Charlton Athletic to save the club from relegation to the third tier.
Bilić’s men still have some way to go to match the club record of unbeaten league matches at any stage of the season. That stands at 17 and has also been achieved twice. The first was during Albion’s first season in the second tier, 1901/2, a heavenly season in which they eventually won the title under secretary/manager, Frank Heaven.
The second was another of the great Vic Buckingham’s teams in 1957/8 – the unbeaten run in the autumn put Albion in second but was ended by a 5-1 thrashing at Luton. The Baggies ultimately finished fourth, some 14 points behind eventual champions, Wolves.
If Albion are to make history and extend their unbeaten start into double figures, it will take an excellent performance against a dangerous Leeds United side on Tuesday evening. However, Bielsa’s team have looked less than clinical in recent weeks having won just one of their last four despite dominating possession, and the Baggies will go to Elland Road full of confidence.
|* Positions are recorded as Albion’s position in the table after all fixtures for that day have been completed.|
|2001/2002||25/09/2001||Portsmouth (A)||W||2-1||Clement, Dobie|
|2003/2004||27/09/2003||Stoke City (H)||W||1-0||Dobie|
|2006/2007||23/09/2006||Luton Town (A)||D||2-2||Carter, Gera|
|2007/2008||03/10/2007||Stoke City (H)||D||1-1||Barnett|
|2009/2010||26/09/2009||Crystal Palace (H)||L||0-1|
|2018/2019||22/09/2018||Millwall (H)||W||2-0||Gayle, Gibbs|
|2019/2020||28/09/2019||Queen’s Park Rangers (A)||W||2-0||Ferguson, Pereira|
|2000/2001||30/09/2000||Blackburn Rovers (H)||W||1-0||Hughes|
|2003/2004||30/09/2003||Millwall (H)||W||2-1||Koumas, Dobie|
|2006/2007||30/09/2006||Leeds United (H)||W||4-2||Albrechtsen, Kamara (2), Phillips|
|2007/2008||06/10/2007||Southampton (A)||L||2-3||Koren (2)|
|2018/2019||29/09/2018||Preston North End (A)||W||3-2||Rodriguez, Davies (o.g.), Gayle|
|2019/2020||01/10/2019||Leeds United (A)|