By Wayne Veysey

22nd Oct, 2021 | 8:32am

Sources: Smith under 'huge' pressure at Aston Villa as chiefs 'startled'

Dean Smith will come under “huge” pressure at Aston Villa if they lose to Arsenal tonight, Football Insider has been told.

The Midlands giants have been defeated in their last two Premier League matches and are struggling to gel following the summer transfer of Jack Grealish.

A Villa source has told Football Insider that Smith will be fighting for his job if the club do not climb up the table from their current 13th position.

One major stumbling block for Smith is that he does not have a strong relationship with all-powerful chief executive Christian Purslow.

Owners Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris, as well as Purslow, are fiercely ambitious and are expecting a big improvement on last season’s 11th-place finish.

They regard a top-six spot as an achievable one after mitigating the sale of Grealish with another flurry of expensive signings led by the £25million-plus captures of Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings.

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The manner of last weekend’s 3-2 defeat to Wolves startled the Villa hierarchy, the source added, and all eyes are on tonight’s clash at Emirates Stadium.

Smith’s position was weakened shortly before the new season by the exits of John Terry and Richard O’Kelly from his coaching staff.

That has left him more vulnerable to a sustained poor run, and the poor form away from home increases the pressure ahead of tonight’s 8pm kick-off.

Villa chiefs will trigger the search for a new manager if there are not significant improvements to the results and performances.

In other news, Aston Villa plan to accept £18m offer for regular starter.