Alexis Sanchez was omitted from the Arsenal squad as he prepares to leave the club, and a Gunners team that was also without Mesut Ozil were far from potent in a goalless first half in which Ainsley Maitland-Niles came the closest to an opener when he struck the crossbar.
Relive how the action unfolded on the South Coast with our minute-by-minute updates below.
12.30pmHello and welcome to the first instalment of what should be a thrilling double bill of Premier League football. We have the Liverpool vs. Man City main event covered later, and if last season's fixture is anything to go by, Arsenal's trip to Bournemouth could be a brilliant curtain-raiser. Team news on its way...
12.36pmCan we get some spotters at Manchester train station and airport please because Alexis Sanchez is NOT in the Arsenal squad today. Has the Chilean played his last game for the Gunners?
12.38pmSanchez's fellow contract rebel Mesut Ozil is also missing because of a knee injury, so it is the same front three that faced Chelsea in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg on Wednesday - Alex Iwobi, Danny Welbeck and Alexandre Lacazette. Is this a sign of things to come at Arsenal post-Ozil and Sanchez?
12.40pmArsene Wenger's only change from that London derby comes in goal with Petr Cech replacing David Ospina. Aaron Ramsey and Sead Kolasinac are fit again but will start from the substitutes' bench.
12.42pmLaurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal and Olivier Giroud all remain injured for the Gunners, which leaves them with quite a thin-looking bench. Theo Walcott, who is another player expected to leave the Emirates this transfer window, and youngster Eddie Nketiah are named on the bench.
12.44pmIt is good to see Jack Wilshere named in the Arsenal lineup this lunchtime, after fresh injury worries were raised when he was forced off after an hour against Chelsea. The midfielder spent last season on loan at Bournemouth of course, making 27 appearances in the Premier League.
Even with those attacking injuries, Lewis Grabban cannot make the bench after being recalled from a loan spell at Sunderland.
12.48pmHowe makes seven changes in total from the FA Cup third-round draw with third-tier Wigan Athletic, with only Ryan Fraser, Adam Smith, Nathan Ake and Steve Cook, who rescued the Cherries a replay with his 90th-minute equaliser, the only four players retained.
12.50pmFrom their last Premier League outing - another 2-2 draw, with Brighton way back on New Year's Day - Nathan Ake, Dan Gosling and Fraser come in for Marc Pugh, Harry Arter and Benik Afobe. Rotation is necessary over Christmas, but could all of these changes unsettle Bournemouth?
12.52pmWhile Bournemouth are not at the centre of the transfer window as Arsenal are, there have been rumours of Harry Arter leaving to West Ham. The Republic of Ireland international has started only half of this season's league games and has to settle for a place on the bench again today.
12.54pmThe tactical change to a back three is an interesting move from Howe. It is a formation that Bournemouth have experimented with previously this season and it hasn't always worked. The idea is probably to match up with Arsenal and prevent the visiting wing-backs from bombing on.
12.56pmSpeaking to Sky Sports prior to kickoff, Arsene Wenger confirmed that Sanchez's absence is an indication that a resolution to his future is around the corner. However he refused to confirm which club the Chilean will be moving to. Reports today suggest Liverpool will rival the Manchester clubs.
12.58pmSTAT: Bournemouth have never won in six previous encounters with Arsenal. They should have beaten the Gunners for the first time last season when they opened up a 3-0 lead at the Vitality Stadium, only for the Gunners to score three times in the last 20 minutes to snatch a draw.
1.00pmThis afternoon is a meeting between two sides who like to play attacking, passing football, and it is also an encounter between the Premier League's two longest-serving managers. Wenger took charge of Arsenal way back in October 1996, and Howe returned to Bournemouth in October 2012.
1.02pmWith Ozil and Sanchez missing, the pressure falls on Lacazette to be Arsenal's main attacking threat. However, he hasn't scored in seven Premier League appearances, which is his longest run without a goal in league competition since a 10-match streak for Lyon between February and May 2013.
1.04pmWhen one door closes, another one opens and Welbeck will be one player hoping to capitalise on potential vacancies in Arsenal's forward three. The England star has had his injury problems but has all the tools to be a key player, as he showed with his double against Bournemouth in September.
1.06pmNothing less than victory will be acceptable for Arsenal this afternoon as they try to keep in touch with the top five. Five draws from their last seven matches have left the Gunners five points adrift of Tottenham and Liverpool, and eight behind Chelsea and Manchester United prior to today.
1.08pmIf Arsenal do miss out on the Champions League for a second straight season, it will be their away form which is to blame. Arsene Wenger's side have only won three of their 11 league games on the road this campaign, which is less than Watford and Burnley, and the same as Newcastle.
1.10pmFailure to win today would see Arsenal go four games without a win at the start of a calendar year for the first time in Wenger's tenure. The last time that happened was under George Graham in 1995.
1.12pmSince losing Koscielny to injury against West Brom, the Gunners have conceded eight goals in their last four league matches. In his absence, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding have been given runs in the team but that has only exposed the continued weaknesses in Arsenal's spine.
1.14pmSpeaking of Arsenal's spine, Petr Cech hasn't guaranteed them 10 points a season as billed but today he can become the first goalkeeper to keep 200 Premier League clean sheets. He has 162 for Chelsea and 37 for Arsenal.
1.16pmBournemouth enjoyed a pretty productive festive period with a win and two draws, and the only blip a 4-0 defeat to the unstoppable Man City, but the table does not look rosy after yesterday's results. The Cherries sit only one point and one place above the relegation zone.
1.18pmVictory over Arsenal would lift Bournemouth up to 13th in the standings, and would also be the first time they have won back-to-back league games at home since last March. However, their record against top-six clubs is poor with 24 defeats from 31 games, and yet Howe won't compromise his style.
1.20pmHaving said that, the Cherries boss has switched to the back-three system this afternoon, with the aim of tightening Bournemouth up at the back with it having been nine games without a clean sheet.
1.22pmWhile Arsenal's problems have been on the road, Bournemouth will have concerns over their home form. They have already lost five of their 11 leagues matches at the Vitality Stadium this campaign, compared to six during the whole of last season.
1.24pmArsenal will be looking to Lacazette today and so will a fair few Fantasy Football players!
1.26pmSTAT: Bournemouth have lost 10 and won only one of their 13 Premier League matches played on a Sunday. Their only victory came in a seven-goal thriller against Liverpool in December 2016.
1.28pmPREDICTION: Bournemouth will give this a go but that will leave holes at the back for Arsenal to exploit. The Gunners may not have Sanchez or Ozil in their lineup, but they still have enough to edge this one 2-1.
1 minKICKOFF: The action is underway on the South Coast, with Arsenal in their changed blue strip and Wenger watching from the stands as he completes his three-match touchline ban.
3 minThe hosts have had much of the early possession and haven't been afraid to try to hit Wilson early with long balls. Chambers and Mustafi have both climbed high to win big headers so seem up for an aerial battle if that is the untraditional way that Bournemouth decide to go.
4 minCLOSE! Bournemouth reap the rewards of the wing-back system as Daniels gets forward down the left and delivers a cross which eventually reaches Smith, who cuts inside and fires away a low left-footed shot which beat the diving Cech, and the post too.
5 minLovely play from Wilshere who exchanges a one-two with Iwobi and then slides Bellerin inside Daniels. Two good pieces of Bournemouth defending, though, firstly to block the initial cross from the Spaniard and then from Francis to clear with his head as Welbeck prepared to nod home.
7 minWe have seen already the benefits of Bournemouth's change of system, but one area it may leave them light is in the middle of the park. The Gosling and Cook versus Wilshere and Xhaka battle will be difficult for them to win and 'Super Jack' is already starting to control the match.
9 minWOODWORK! Wilshere again finds a dangerous pass for Lacazette, who is forced wide but still manages to stand up a cross which is picked up by Maitland-Niles at the back post. The youngster twists and turns before eventually cannoning a right-footed shot against the bar.
10 minSAVE! Iwobi unleashes a 25-yard drive which Begovic pushes around the post.
12 minSome quick feet from Ibe wins Bournemouth a free-kick and all three centre-backs trot forward. The delivery from Fraser is a bit heavy and Cech comes off his line to claim confidently, and start a counter-attack which ends up with Arsenal winning a corner.
13 minMaitland-Niles gives the ball away to Ibe and Bournemouth burst forward, but the former Liverpool winger wastes a great opening with a misjudged pass aimed for the run of Cook, which was not forthcoming.
15 minGood link-up play between Ibe and Wilson, who chests the ball down to his teammate and then spins away to run onto a return pass. Wilson sends a cross towards Fraser but Chambers makes the interception.
17 minIwobi is afforded way too much space on the edge of the box after a tidy give-and-go with Xhaka, but is reluctant to take the shot on and Ake eventually comes out from the back and gets in a block.
19 minReckless defending from Holding, who can't see a pass forward so dribbles across his own box under intense pressure from Ibe. The persistence of the Bournemouth winger wins him a throw-in and it could have been more due to Holding's stubbornness not to clear his lines.
20 minXhaka gives Welbeck something to chase onto but Begovic is quickly off his line to sweep up.
21 minYELLOW! Gosling is penalised for simulation by referee Kevin Friend after going to ground under the challenge of Mustafi. The decision is a little harsh on the Bournemouth midfielder, whose foot appeared to have been caught slightly by the German.
23 minArsenal move the ball nicely from right to centre until Wilshere ups the tempo of the attack with a driving run into the area. He gets the aid of a deflection and eventually breaks through to get a shot away which is deflected behind off Francis for a corner.
25 minThe visitors are enjoying a decent spell of pressure, with Iwobi seeing a lot of the ball in the final third but unable to penetrate the Bournemouth defence. One does wonder what Ozil might be capable of if he had the same space and time.
27 minAfter a good opening 10 minutes, Bournemouth are not finding it easy to get at the Arsenal defence and that might be because they are no longer hitting Wilson with early balls, as they began the game.
29 minWilshere has been the star of the show so far and a perfectly-weighted first-time pass into the path of Iwobi sends the Nigerian free in behind Daniels on the Arsenal right. The cross is into a great area but just a couple of yards ahead of Welbeck.
31 minYELLOW! Francis becomes the second Bournemouth defender to enter the book, and, as with Gosling, could count himself unlucky. He does bring Welbeck down as Arsenal threatened to break, but it was an accidental tangle of legs rather than a cynical foul.
33 minXhaka is capable of the spectacular from range and lines up a 25-yard shot which is made easy for Begovic after a deflection off Cook.
35 minCHANCE! Lacazette chips a hopeful pass forward and Cook and Francis make a mess of defending it, giving Welbeck the chance to get a shot away but Begovic reacts quickly to make the block.
37 minIt has been a painful first half for Lacazette, who has been in the wars much more than he has in the Bournemouth box. Earlier he took a nasty hit from Ake and he's just caught an arm in the face from Cook.
39 minCHANCE! Mustafi stoops to meet a corner and his header flies a few yards over the crossbar. That is the second time in the last few minutes that the Arsenal defender has made a near-post run that Bournemouth have failed to follow.
40 minBLOCK! Superb defending from Chambers who throws himself in front of Fraser's shot to make a crucial block. Ibe had embarked on a good run down the right, left Maitland-Niles on the floor, and the Scotsman was unmarked on the penalty spot.
42 minThe Cherries work the ball to Fraser whose half volley from 25 yards rises over Cech's goal. This has been a good period for Bournemouth, who felt that they should have had a penalty moments ago for handball against Iwobi. The Nigerian's elbow did move towards the ball in a set-piece scramble.
44 minThe hosts are finishing the half strongly with Fraser and Ibe having a greater influence on proceedings. All of a sudden Bournemouth are really pressing Arsenal and this increase in intensity is forcing mistakes which are giving them the opportunity to push onto the Gunners' defence.
2.20pmIf this is what life without Sanchez or Ozil looks like for Arsenal, then they have reasons to be fearful. They are goalless with Bournemouth at the interval and ended the first half on the back foot. Wilshere has been the standout player but hasn't been able to help the Gunners find a breakthrough.
2.22pmThe closest that either side came to an opening goal was when Maitland-Niles rattled the crossbar on nine minutes, but Bournemouth were perhaps robbed of the best chance to break the deadlock when Kevin Friend turned down penalty appeals for handball against Iwobi.
2.24pmBournemouth have only had a couple of sights of the Arsenal goal, with Adam Smith going close early on and Fraser being denied by a last-ditch Chambers block. They have not been as expressive as usual but it is refreshing to see Howe take a different approach to playing a top-six side.
2.26pmThe switch to a back three has worked to an extent for the Cherries but they have still had clumsy moments in defence. There is also plenty of space for Arsenal to exploit in behind Charlie Daniels and Wilshere has been feeding that space constantly to Iwobi and Bellerin.
2.30pmBENCH WATCH: With both sides suffering from attacking injuries, the benches are not blessed with options. Could Theo Walcott, who has only had 49 minutes of league action this season, enjoy a final hurrah for the Gunners before he likely departs before the end of January?
46 minKICKOFF: The action resumes, and it is as we were with the two lineups for now. The sun has emerged on the South Coast and hopefully the second-half action will be a bit brighter too.
48 minArsenal work the ball nicely out to Bellerin but a loose pass from the Spaniard ends a promising attack.
50 minThere are signs that this game is about to open up, with a back-and-forth passage ending with Gosling firing a volley over the crossbar from a Bournemouth corner, won by Daniels after a 60-yard cross-field run from opposite wing-back Adam Smith.
52 minGOAL! BOURNEMOUTH 0-1 ARSENAL (HECTOR BELLERIN)
52 minGoals in back-to-back league games for Hector Bellerin, who is released by Iwobi's through-ball inside Daniels and squeezes the ball through Begovic. The Spaniard had Lacazette and Welbeck up with him, but went alone and although the Bournemouth keeper got his body in the way of the shot, the ball trickeled over the line. That left channel has been a problem for the hosts and now Arsenal have exploited it.
55 minYELLOW! Ibe nutmegs Maitland-Niles but is stopped in his tracks by a trip from Xhaka, who picks up a deserved yellow card.
57 minWe have a stoppage in play with Welbeck requiring treatment having been caught on the ankle. Like Wilshere, he is another one who needs a run in the team to prove his worth to Arsenal so will hope that he can run this one off.
59 minBournemouth have yet to engineer any chances in response to falling behind. Marc Pugh is a creative option on the bench and Howe may want to think about sacrificing one of his three centre-backs.
61 minArsenal have been very comfortable since taking the lead but will know from the recent past - the 1-1 draw with West Brom in particular - that they need a second goal to avoid an unwanted late twist.
63 minSUBSTITUTION: Howe does revert to a back four, with Lys Mousset, who scored his first Bournemouth goal againsy Wigan last weekend, replacing Daniels who struggled in his wing-back role.
65 minIt might not be fashionable for their manager, but Bournemouth need to keep knocking the ball into channels for Wilson to compete for. Arsenal's defenders are terrified of getting involved in a 50-50 with the powerful striker, with a rushed Mustafi clearance for a throw-in a testament to this.
67 minSHOT! Bournemouth work Cech a couple of times in quick succession, but the veteran stopper comfortably deals with Fraser's 25-yard drive and a weak left-footed shot from Ibe after a good run.
69 minWelbeck's pace is stretching the Bournemouth defence now. Cook makes a great last-ditch tackle to thwart the forward, who should have been sent through moments later only for Lacazette to overcook a simple pass.
70 minGOAL! BOURNEMOUTH 1-1 ARSENAL (CALLUM WILSON)
70 minCech won't get his 200th Premier League clean sheet today, and he only has himself to blame. The Arsenal goalkeeper rushes off his line to collect a low cross from Fraser, but Wilson beats him to the ball, stretching out a left-foot to direct the ball into a vacant net and draw Bournemouth level.
71 minYELLOW! Wilshere's frustration at Arsenal conceding the equaliser boils over as he picks up a booking for a foul on Ibe.
73 minSUBSTITUTION: Ramsey is on for Chambers as Wenger abandons three defenders in search of three points.
75 minBournemouth have turned this game on its head, and now lead through Jordon Ibe's first league goal for the club! Wilson holds the ball up well and tees up, perhaps inadvertendly with a loose touch, Ibe for a low 18-yard rocket which goes through Cech, much like Bellerin's strike went through Begovic earlier.
77 minSUBSTITUTION: Wenger needs a hero and he turns to Theo Walcott, who comes on for Alex Iwobi. Can Arsenal's longest-serving player salvage them something on what could be his last appearance?
79 minHolding tries to knock one in behind for Welbeck but badly overhits his pass and the ball flies behind for a goal kick. Arsenal are going to have to do better than that if they want to find an equaliser.
81 minIf Cech was at fault for Arsenal's first goal, the finger of blame may be pointed at Xhaka for the second. The midfielder completely ignored his defensive responsibilities to leave Ibe free on the edge of the box, much like he did for Tom Cleverley's late leveller at Watford earlier this season.
82 minSHOT! Wilshere runs onto the ball 25 yards out but drags a left-footed shot wide.
85 minSHOT! Ibe does much the same at the other end, before Walcott runs through one-on-one with Begovic, who makes a good save before seeing the offside flag had already saved Bournemouth.
86 minSUBSTITUTION: Bournemouth's potential match-winner departs as Pugh replaces Ibe for the final four minutes plus stoppage time.
88 minWelbeck nearly has the chance to get a shot away but Cook defends well and eventually swipes the ball clear with a well-timed slide tackle.
90 minSUBSTITUTION: Wilson gets a standing ovation as he leaves the pitch to be replaced by ex-Arsenal forward Benik Afobe.
90+1 minThere will be FOUR minutes of stoppage time but Arsenal aren't exactly knocking at the door.
90+3 minArsenal commit nine men forward but Walcott is flagged offside and vital seconds tick away for Bournemouth.
3.28pmWhat a brilliant comeback from Bournemouth, who beat Arsenal for the first time to claim three crucial points in their relegation battle. There will be more questions asked of the Gunners, who are now winless in four matches and have some serious catching up to do in the top-four race.