The two teams go into the game level on points in Group D but the visiting side will have to make do without its influential skipper who has not made the trip to Russia.
City bounced back from a home defeat against Bayern Munich in its second Group D game with consecutive 3-1 Premier League wins over Everton and West Ham.
The response from Manuel Pellegrini's squad after the loss to the reigning European champion has been impressive, and the club will be aware of the importance of gaining a positive result in the Russian capital.
City - which has failed to make it out of the group stages of the Champions League in the past two seasons - sits ahead of third-placed CSKA only on goal difference, and striker Sergio Aguero says Wednesday's match is must-win fixture for his side.
"We have to win, don't we? It's an important three points because then we play them at home," Aguero told CityTV.
"We won against West Ham away in the Premier League and now we have to win away in Moscow as well. We have to continue."
Pellegrini rotated his squad in Saturday's win at Upton Park, which came thanks to an Aguero brace and a late David Silva effort.
He selected an entirely different back four to the team that won against Everton, although that was slightly enforced by the absence of captain Vincent Kompany (thigh).
Kompany is still sidelined, as is fellow center back Martin Demichelis (knee), while Jack Rodwell (hamstring) has also been left out of the squad for Wednesday's clash.
Alvaro Negredo has netted four goals in his last five matches for club and country, leaving Pellegrini with a selection headache over who is to partner Aguero, with Edin Dzeko an unused substitute at West Ham.
Concerns over the state of the pitch at Arena Khimki - which is being used by CSKA as the Luzhniki Stadium is rebuilt for the 2018 World Cup - saw UEFA inspect the venue after weeks of heavy rain.
CSKA was forced to play its last Champions League home fixture against Viktoria Plzen - which it won 3-2 - in St Petersburg, but a repeat will not be on the cards after UEFA was satisfied with the condition of the pitch.
"We don't know what the condition of the pitch will be. We hope that UEFA allowed them to play the game there because it is a good pitch," Pellegrini said.
CSKA has won none of its last five league fixtures, form that has seen the club drop to sixth in the Russian Premier League.
It lost 2-0 to title holder Zenit on Friday, in a match that saw Ivorian striker Seydou Doumbia return from a hamstring injury.
Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev (knee) is a doubt for City's visit, as is Alan Dzagoev (hamstring), while Latvian midfielder Aleksandrs Cauna (toe) will definitely miss the clash.
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