By Ed Osmond
Manchester United survived a scare to beat League One Preston North End 3-1 in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday and set up a mouth-watering quarter-final against Arsenal.
Scott Laird’s deflected 47th-minute strike gave third-tier Preston the scent of a huge upset but United regrouped and goals by Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini and Wayne Rooney sent the Premier League side through.
United produced another laboured first-half performance under manager Louis van Gaal and they were stunned when Laird’s speculative shot burst through goalkeeper David de Gea’s grasp after hitting Antonio Valencia.
Van Gaal withdrew ineffective Colombian striker Radamel Falcao and Herrera soon squeezed a shot in off the post after 65 minutes.
Fellaini, moved into the forward line, won a far-post header seven minutes later and reacted quickly to slam home the rebound following an initial save by German goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann.
United controlled possession and Rooney won a penalty when he was fouled by Stuckmann, the England captain dusting himself down to smash the spot-kick high into the net two minutes from time.