Terry fractures cheekbone as Chelsea woes go on

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LONDON, Sep 30 (Reuters) England skipper John Terry went off with a depressed fracture of his cheekbone, Didier Drogba was sent off and Chelsea were booed off when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Fulham in the west London derby at Stamford Bridge.

Terry went off after being elbowed in the face by Fulham striker Clint Dempsey as both rose for a ball after three minutes of the Premier League match.

He is now doubtful for England's next two Euro 2008 qualifiers against Estonia and Russia next month.

Avram Grant's first match as coach of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge since Jose Mourinho left last week was a subdued affair for the home crowd who also booed off Andriy Shevchenko, substituted after 54 minutes on his 31st birthday.

''Today he was not at his best,'' Grant admitted to reporters afterwards.

Chelsea's billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich, sitting in the crowd rather than isolated as usual in his executive box was not spared the crowd's disdain either and was also booed and jeered by members of the public sitting near him.

Chelsea meanwhile, fell to seventh in the Premier League table after failing to score for the fourth successive league match -- their worst run for nine years.

Although they stretched their unbeaten home record to 67 matches they were spared defeat against their feisty neighbours when goalkeeper Petr Cech made a desperate late save with his foot when Fulham defender Paul Konchesky looked set to score.

''We had seven or eight chances,'' a subdued Grant told reporters afterweards.

''We created enough chances to score but didn't.'' The coach added he was not surprised at the fans' shouting Mourinho's name.

''It's exactly like I expected. I would have been surprised if they didn't sing his name,'' he said.

Chelsea's woes were compounded when African Footballer of the Year and last season's top scorer Didier Drogba got his marching orders for dissent and a reckless high tackle on the day he returned after four matches out injured.

Grant would not comment on the dismissal, saying he preferred to see the replay before making a judgement.

ARSENAL SUPREME Across London Arsenal won their eighth successive match in all competitions with a 1-0 win at West Ham United to maintain their lead at the top of the table.

Robin Van Persie scored the only goal after 13 minutes to end West Ham's run of three successive league wins over the Gunners.

Manchester City moved into second place, albeit for a few hours, with a 3-1 home win over Newcastle United, while Manchester United, who started the day in second place, play at Birmingham City later.

In an astonishing match at Fratton Park, Portsmouth beat Reading 7-4 with Benjani Mwaruwari scoring a hat-trick for Portsmouth.

Liverpool remained unbeaten with a 1-0 win at Wigan Athletic where Yossi Benayoun scored the only goal, while the bottom two clubs, Derby County and Bolton Wanderers drew 1-1 at Pride Park.

In the days other match, Blackburn won 2-1 at Sunderland.

REUTERS BJR RK1025

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