Raul Garcia scored the only goal of the game just before half-time, putting Atleti six points clear of second place Real Madrid, with Barcelona set to play later on Sunday night.
Diego Simeone’s men were forced to play the final few minutes of the game with ten men, as Juanfran was shown a straight red for a horror challenge from behind.
Valencia enjoyed much of the first half possession, but it was Atletico that took a narrow 1-0 lead into the break.
Gabi chipped a hopeful ball into the box, looking for the run of the on-rushing Garcia, with keeper Vicente Guaita and Jeremy Mathieu getting in each other’s way as Garcia nodded the ball over the two and into the empty net.
That goal was enough for Atletico to record a ninth straight league win.