The automatic answer for most of us to this question would be yes.

The recent ‘back to earth’ run which ended with the win at Bolton has been a reality check but I would still say that the general mood is better.

The relevant statistics after 18 games;

Last season United were 9th in the league with 22 points, goals for 28 and 29 conceded.

This season United are 7th with 30 points and 25 goals scored with 22 conceded.

As well as obviously having 8 more points and 2 places higher in the league, where goals are concerned we’ve conceded less AND scored fewer.

I don’t think there’s any doubts as to why Newcastle have leaked less goals, Tim Krul and Steven Taylor have upped the bar at the back whilst overall Alan Pardew has made the defensive unit a much harder nut to crack.

Going forward though you can’t ignore the fact that as a team we’ve scored less, when you take into account one player has scored 14 of those 25 goals then it does leave the team looking vulnerable if for any reason Demba Ba becomes unavailable….

At this stage last season Carroll had scored 3 less goals than Ba has now but tellingly, Nolan was second top scorer with 8 at this stage compared to Best’s current total of 3.

I was no great fan of Nolan as I thought he struggled with other parts of his game, especially mobility, but clearly we need somebody to share the load with Senegalese hitman.

With Alan Pardew announcing he doesn’t expect a new striker to be signed in January, more realistically than expecting any one player to transform into a prolific goalscorer (nobody’s career record suggests anything close to that) we need the team as a whole to step up and chip in with goals around the team.

Any bets on who our second top scorer will be come May?