Should Drogba or Torres face Man Utd?
Carlo Ancelotti's hopes of silverware - and arguably even his long-term future as Chelsea manager - now hinge on success in the Champions League.
Chelsea's failure to get three points at Stoke City, coupled with Manchester United's comeback from two goals down to win at West Ham United, pushed the destiny of the Premier League a little further in Old Trafford's direction.
So, as Chelsea and United prepare to meet in the Champions League quarter-final first leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, will Ancelotti risk leaving the man who broke the British transfer record when he arrived for £50m in January on the bench?
Ancelotti is likely to make a choice between Fernando Torres, that bank-breaking arrival from Liverpool and a scourge of United in the past, and Didier Drogba.
The decision, and its subsequent success, may go a long way towards shaping the rest of Chelsea's season and Ancelotti's destiny under the ownership of Roman Abramovich.
Torres has been praised for his work-rate and intelligent running since his move from Anfield but this should have come guaranteed at £50m and the more telling statistic is his failure to score. He is currently mired in a sequence of 10 games without a goal for his new club and country.
Drogba, in contrast, was on target at the Britannia Stadium and was in the sort of feisty and combative mood that even saw him involved in an angry exchange with a heckling fan at the final whistle.
It was a contribution that drew praise from Ancelotti as he considers his striking options ahead of Wednesday's game. He said: "It was important to see him in this condition and it was important to see him score. He used his power, ability and personality."
If Ancelotti decides against combining Drogba and Torres, he faces a choice between the raw physical power and volatility of the Ivory Coast striker or the quicksilver Spaniard whose pace, movement and ability to alter the course of big games in an instant persuaded Abramovich sign off that cheque to Liverpool.
An angry Drogba can be a deadly Drogba but Ancelotti's powers of recollection will ensure Torres will be factored into the equation he must solve before making his selection.
Torres has a history of troubling Manchester United in general, and Nemanja Vidic in particular. Even without the old fire and pace, he continued to bother them in Liverpool's 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford this season, forcing fouls from Jonny Evans and John O'Shea that allowed Steven Gerrard to score from a penalty and a free-kick.
In March 2009, in one of Rafael Benitez's finest post-Istanbul moments, Torres terrorised Vidic, who was so unsettled by his harrowing experience in Liverpool's 4-1 win at Old Trafford that he was eventually sent off for fouling Gerrard. He was also a scorer when Liverpool won 2-0 at Anfield later that year, another game Vidic failed to complete because of a red card.
Torres cuts a contrasting figure these days, shorn of confidence because of injuries and seemingly struggling to adapt to life away from Anfield - but there has been just enough hints of the old verve on show to suggest claims that he is a spent force are ridiculously premature.
So unless Ancelotti goes for broke and fields both Torres and Droga, who is the man for the job? Opinions among fans and pundits differ.
BBC experts Mark Lawrenson and Alan Hansen - keen Torres watchers in recent years - believe he should not start the game ahead of Drogba.
Lawrenson told me: "Torres has form against Manchester United, but to be honest I wouldn't have him in the team on current form. He still looks very, very short to me and I would go with a 4-5-1, playing Drogba through the middle and Nicolas Anelka out wider."
And Hansen agreed as he said: "I would not pick him ahead of Didier Drogba if it came to an either or selection.
"I hear all the talk of how Torres is making runs off the ball and showing great enthusiasm but against Manchester City he barely touched the ball for 40 minutes, a great flick apart, and that can't be right.
"I greatly appreciate movement off the ball and all-round awareness in strikers but if you are not touching the ball or getting chances then there is a problem and I would go for Drogba against United if Ancelotti feels it is a choice between the two."
One man who happily admits he is in the minority when I posed him the question is former Chelsea and Scotland winger Pat Nevin - who prefaces his choice of Torres by insisting it is based on his admiration for the Spaniard rather than any disrespect or disdain for Drogba.
He said: "This is a difficult one. I would watch how things are going in training, analyse how they both are - and then choose Fernando Torres.
"I stress this is not anti-Drogba or being in anyway disdainful for a player I adore. I also know I am very much in the minority on this but I am just going on what I have seen this season.
"I don't think they work together, so it comes down to an either/or and I would go with Torres. I know what people have said about him since he came from Liverpool but I actually think he has been fabulous. His movement has been unbelievable and his attitude top class. The subtlety of his running is fantastic.
"And I should add that I would not have a problem or be on a downer, nor would it be anything like a hardship for Chelsea, if Drogba started ahead of Torres.
"Drogba has proved in the past he can raise himself for these big games and an important additional factor is that his attitude and approach after coming on as substitute this season has been great. They are both outstanding strikers but my preference would be for Torres.
"I think there is a tendency to judge Torres in an outrageously simplictic way and focus on his lack of goals since he came to Chelsea. I just look at what I see and as someone who spent his career trying to create things for these guys, I think I could find Torres time and time again."
I threw the debate open on Facebook and Twitter to gauge the reactions among fans of both Chelsea and United. Drogba just edged out Torres (although he had plenty of backers) among Chelsea supporters while United fans were split, with their fears about the latter based more on the past than present.
@CiaranMcMonagle on Twitter said: "I have to believe that the occasion will 'finally' bring the best out of Fernando since his move."
And @dannypolicarpo said: "As a Man Utd fan i would say Torres to play, his form has been shocking all season regardless of what club he has played for."
@Fredrik0 on Twitter echoed the views of many when he added: "Torres to start and Drogba off the bench in 60th minute. Drogba is better as impact sub due to physicality."
@jazz15c voiced an opinion shared by many Chelsea fans when he said on Twitter: "Play them both...both have had joy against Vidic."
Angie Stewart on Facebook said: "Drogba ... not been his best for a while but still to be feared by United ... Torres on the other hand ... no hidden depths and nothing spectacular to speak of as yet."
Former Stamford Bridge idol Nevin accepts the stakes are high for all involved, but admires the calm manner in which the experienced Ancelotti has dealt with the pressure and speculation surrounding his tenure at Stamford Bridge.
He said: "It's very hard to tell how the outcome of this tie will effect Ancelotti's future. In the normal world if you win the Premier League and FA Cup double one season then it should hardly be a fatal blow if you don't win the Champions League the next.
"To make a judgement on how defeat in the Champions League would impact on Ancelotti's future you would have to know the inner workings of Chelsea Football Club and I don't.
"What I do know is that Ancelotti is an experienced manager who appears very calm and sanguine about his future. I think people expect more of a reaction than they get when he simply says he has a contract and is doing his job.
"I think globe-trotting, wise managers accept that there can be a short time period in a job. Ancelotti falls into that category and this enables him to adopt such a calm approach.
"He worked in a volatile atmosphere at AC Milan under Silvio Berlusconi and experiencing that sort of environment, and knowing how the game works at the highest level, means he knows the rules and also knows the rules can change quite quickly."
Ancelotti will need every ounce of his experience and calmness under pressure at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday - and that is just making his team selection.