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By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Nintendo Co Ltd on Thursday reported a 428% jump in first-quarter profit, driven by ongoing demand for the Switch console and hit title Animal Crossing: New Horizons as the coronavirus outbreak boosts the games industry.

Operating profit for April-June was 144.

7 billion yen ($1.37 billion). That compared with an average estimate of 71 billion yen from 12 analysts polled by Refinitiv SmartEstimate.

The firm sold 5.7 million Switch consoles in the first quarter.

Nintendo has proved a winner of the pandemic as stuck-at-home gamers flock to titles like Animal Crossing, with its stock price touching a 12 year high in July.

The Kyoto-based gaming firm maintained its sales forecast of 19 million Switch consoles in the current financial unit. Chief Executive Shuntaro Furukawa has said the boost from the coronavirus is transitory.

The games pipeline for the Switch is unusually bare. Nintendo said on Thursday it would release an enhanced version of Pikmin 3, originally released for predecessor console Wii U.

The pandemic has impacted Nintendo's real-world plans, with Comcast Corp's Osaka-based theme park Universal Studios Japan pushing back the opening of a Nintendo-themed land.

Rival Sony Corp on Tuesday posted a sharp rise in software sales for its aging PlayStation 4 console aided by titles like system exclusive The Last Of Us Part II, released in June.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Edmund Blair)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Arsenal verdict: Mesut Ozil tries stay relevant by embarrassing Gunners on social media before Leicester defeat

MESUT OZIL was at it again tonight, tweeting footage of his goal in the 3-1 win against Leicester two years ago ahead of tonight’s game against the same opponents.

What he failed to mention was that it was just about his last decent performance in an Arsenal shirt before being dumped from the squad by Mikel Arteta.

5Mesut Ozil has been frozen out of the Arsenal squad by Mikel ArtetaCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Ok, Gooners. A little warmup for tonight to get in the mood for the big clash against @LCFC ???????? #YaGunnersYa #M1Ö #goodmemories @Arsenal @premierleague https://t.co/Xk5yS43nQd

— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) October 25, 2020

Now the only way he can keep himself at the centre of attention is by trying to embarrass the club on social media at every opportunity.

But Arteta is not going to rise to Ozil’s trolling and now the team has to find another source of inspiration if they are going to be serious top four challengers this season.

Jamie Vardy’s 11th goal in his last 11 games against Arsenal highlighted the Gunners’ lack of a cutting edge and condemned them to their third defeat in their last four League games.

ARSENAL NEWS LIVE: Click here for the latest Gunners news

 

And Arteta will be tearing his hair out in frustration at his team’s failure to break down an obdurate Leicester defence despite dominating right from the start.

The Spaniard will take some comfort from the fact that now everyone in a red shirt puts in a proper shift and no longer shrinks at the first sign of physical adversity.

But that will be little consolation for Gunners fans who are already beginning to fear they could be witnessing yet another false dawn at the Emirates.

The arrival of midfield anchorman Thomas Partey has given wing-backs Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney licence to bomb forward and they relished the opportunity to pin Leicester into their own area.

Yet for all their corners and crosses into the box, Arsenal couldn’t turn their possession into goals.

5Arsenal had a goal disallowed after just three minutesCredit: Getty Images - Getty 5VAR ruled it out because Granit Xhaka was adjudged to have been offsideCredit: Guardian News & Media / Free to use by all titles in perpetuity under NMC agreement Most read in FootballRONBELIEVABLERonaldinho battling Covid-19 and in isolation after being released from jailLive BlogARSENAL 0 LEICESTER 1Vardy scores AGAIN against Arsenal to give Foxes late leadPicturedGUARD OF HONOURVardy has fans in stitches with 'chat s***, get banged' shin padsPicturedSUN-DAY OFFCristiano shows off ripped body as he soaks up sun away from GeorginaARE YOU SHAW?Moment Man Utd star Luke Shaw ignores Fernandes' instructions in Chelsea drawNEXT STEPOx stays fit during coronavirus lockdown in amazing dance routine with WAG Perrie 5Hector Bellerin was booked for tripping Harvey BarnesCredit: Getty Images - Getty

That wasn’t due to the absence of a creative player like Ozil but simply because Alex Lacazette was in such ponderous form at the sharp end of the Gunners’ attack.

The Frenchman did have the ball in the net early on when he glanced in from a Dani Ceballos corner but Granit Xhaka was judged to be impeding keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

But every time the ball flashed across the face of the Leicester goal after that, Lacazette was simply unable to apply the finishing touch which the game was crying out for.

Ozil’s supporters - and there are still plenty of those - will claim that their man could provide the missing spark to open up defences.

But that ship has sailed and now Arteta's team are already in danger of losing touch with the leading pack.

5The Spaniard should certainly have seen red for a second half challenge on James JustinCredit: AFP or licensors

 

Watch Arsenal new-boy Thomas Partey blast out initiation song ahead of Leicester as he prepares to make full Prem debut

 

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