REVEALED: The fascinating insight into who the Premier League players rate as Peter Crouch and co pick their fantasy football team at Stoke… but who has splashed the cash on points king Van Persie
16:17 GMT, 8 January 2013
18:02 GMT, 8 January 2013
It's the time of year when the 20 Barclays Premier League managers start to think about tinkering with their teams in the transfer window.
And around the world, millions of fans with fantasy football teams will log on to do the same.
These two parallel worlds have collided this season after 18 members of the Stoke City squad entered their dream teams in the official Premier League fantasy football game.
Dream teams: The Stoke City squad have their own mini-league on the official Barclays Premier League fantasy football game
Now see fantasy football at Stoke…
Click HERE to view the stars' mini league
Peter Crouch, Asmir Begovic, Jermaine Pennant and Kenwyne Jones are among the Potters stars who have put their judgement and reputations on the line in the club mini-league.
And it's Crouch who has stormed clear at the top of the table, albeit only after he made the heartbreaking decision to drop himself from his 'Longpins Longballers' XI.
The switch came at the end of November, after the lanky striker lost two teeth in a mid-air collision with Newcastle's Fabricio Coloccini.
The former England frontman clearly didn't have much faith in his powers of recovery and hauled himself out of his fantasy team.
But the tough decision has paid off, as his introduction of Demba Ba and Jermain Defoe to accompany Robin van Persie in a three-pronged attack has enabled him to surge to the top of the 'SCFC Fantasy League' in recent weeks.
Good move: When Peter Crouch (above) suffered a mouth injury in November, he removed himself from his fantasy football team and installed the more prolific Demba Ba (below left) and Jermain Defoe
He currently enjoys a healthy 54 point advantage over Ryan Shotton and his 'FC Shottinho' side.
Shotton has been rewarded by his faith in teammate Jones, who scored three goals over the Christmas period to help Stoke into the top half of the real-life standings.
The free-scoring Van Persie is a staple in all the Stoke players' teams – as he is in thousands up and down the country after his phenomenal start to life at Manchester United.
There is also extraordinary loyalty towards teammate Asmir Begovic and this is well placed as he's won each of them 93 points so far this season on the game.
Points mean prizes: The Stoke squad's faith in their own keeper Asmir Begovic has earned them plenty of points in the fantasy game
Languishing in the wooden spoon position at the moment is Dean Whitehead, his last place making a mockery of his 'no.1 seed' team name.
And this despite his XI currently featuring Van Persie, Fernando Torres, Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata, some of the Premier League's most in-form players.
His biggest mistake came, perhaps, in removing Liverpool red hot striker Luis Suarez just before a spell in which he has scored five goals in three league games.
Basement battle: Dean Whitehead is currently bottom of the Stoke mini-league
Astonishingly, out-on-loan Pennant, who opted for a rude name for his team, hasn't cashed in on the lottery of points Van Persie offers, refusing to bring the Dutchman in at any point so far this season.